Besides a good-quality crop of Canada Western Red Spring wheat in 2020, the quality of other western Canadian crops harvested in 2020 is good too, says Daryl Beswitherick, the Canadian Grain Commission’s program manager for national inspection standards.
“Grade-wise it was fantastic,” Beswitherick said in an interview Nov. 9.
This year 92.5 per cent of the West’s canola is grading No. 1 compared to 85 per cent a year ago.
The results are even better in Manitoba with 96 per cent grading No. 1, just slightly below last year’s 97 per cent.
“In Manitoba we harvest earlier compared to the rest of the Prairies so it typically comes off No. 1. Where we see the downgrading occurring is in the northern half of Alberta. They do run into some green (seed) issues.”
On average chlorophyll content, which is related to green seed, is low at eight grams per kilogram. The five- and 10-year averages are 11 and 13 milligrams.
“We were a little concerned with the hot, dry weather oil content would be a little bit low… but now with almost 2,000 samples analyzed we’re at an average of 44.3 per cent and the five-year average is 44.4 per cent,” Beswitherick said. “We’re just 0.1 per cent lower than the average.”
Early frost caused some green seed in western Canadian soybeans, mostly grown in Manitoba, but overall it’s not a major downgrading factor.
The crush market, which accounts for almost all western soybean sales, demands a No. 2.
Just six per cent of soybeans are grading No. 1, while 79 per cent are No. 2.
Nine per cent grade No. 3 with three per cent at No. 4 and 5.
“Field peas were pretty average from a quality perspective,” Beswitherick said.
Across the West 35 are grading No. 1 and 43 per cent No. 2.
This year’s grades are typical. Degrading factors include immature seed and adhered soil.
The samples submitted so far are good quality.
“This is the first year that AAC Synergy surpassed AC Metcalfe in acres grown,” Beswitherick said. “I think that’s a positive in the fact that Metcalfe has been around forever. The maltsters don’t want to change their barley variety but the growers want to grow new varieties which have better agronomics.”
AAC Synergy, with 565,000 acres based on crop insurance data, accounts for 23 per cent of total malting barley acres.
Metcalfe with 443,000 acres, makes up 18 of the malting barley acres.
CDC Copeland with 1.06 million acres accounted for 43 per cent of the acres.
While the CGC assesses malting quality it plays no role in selecting it, Beswitherick stressed. That’s up to the malting companies.
Malting barley germination is a bit higher this year than last and equal to 2018 at 99 per cent.
Maltsters look for high germination because it’s part of the malting process.
Malting barley protein is a little higher this year at 11.8 per cent.
In 2019 and 2018 it was 11.5 and 11.9 per cent, respectively.
“It’s a little bit higher than the 10-year average of 11.5 per cent, but not crazy,” Beswitherick said. “There could be some producers who could get rejected due to their protein being too high, but on average it’s not too bad.”
Ninety-eight per cent of the flax is grading No. 1.
“It takes a lot to downgrade a sample of flax,” he said.
Some oats have been downgraded due to low bushel weight, but Beswitherick said he has heard of some very high yields.
The quality information about this year’s crop comes through the CGC’s annual Harvest Sample program, Beswitherick said.
Farmers are encouraged to mail the CGC representative samples of their crops so it can assess the quality.
“We use it to provide quality data for ourselves and it’s online for our international customers to look at,” he said. “We received well over 10,000 samples this year. It’s been good.
“We’re still getting a few coming in but it seems to be winding down. The deadline is Nov. 20.”
In return for submitting samples farmers get information about their crops, including a grade, which they can use in marketing.
In addition, with wheat, farmers find out the falling number, protein content and DON (deoxynivalenol, a toxin sometime produced by fusarium head blight) levels.
Canola growers get the oil and chlorophyll content.
In addition to a grade, pulse growers also get protein content.