Western Canadian farmers should deliver certain wheat varieties before July 31 or risk getting a lower price.
Starting Aug. 1, 25 wheats in the Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) class and four in Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR), move to the Canada Northern Hard Red (CNHR) class (see variety list further down).
The change, aimed at improving end-use quality of the classes, was announced in 2015 by the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) following industry consultations.
Wheats in the CWRS class usually earn a higher price per tonne than wheats in other classes.
“The message is farmers should do everything they can to deliver these (CWRS) varieties before Aug. 1 because as of Aug. 1 officially they are going to change classes,” Western Grain Elevator Association executive director Wade Sobkowich said in a phone interview June 8.
“Farmers sign declarations that the varieties are eligible for the class for which they are intended. As of Aug. 1 the rule will be that these varieties will be in the CNHR class.”
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Farmers who declare a wheat delivered after July 31 as in the CWRS class, even though it moved to CNHR, face financial penalties.
Farmers with these undelivered varieties should contact their grain buyer right away, Sobkowich said.
“Farmers who have a contracted delivery date after Aug. 1 for a transitioning variety should contact their elevator or grain buyer as soon as possible to ensure their grain will be accepted as CWRS or CPSR,” the Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta wheat checkoff farm groups said in a news release June 4.
“The CGC is not allowing any grace period for producers after the July 31 deadline,” Alberta Wheat Commission chair Kevin Bender said. “We therefore think it’s important that farmers negotiate the best possible terms for the varieties being reclassified and be aware that grain companies will have until Dec. 31, 2018 to ship any remaining stocks from the system as CWRS and CPSR.”
That Dec. 31 deadline allows companies to pay farmers CWRS prices until July 31, Sobkowich said.
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“You can’t turn around on Aug. 1 and tell the grain company ‘wheat you bought yesterday is now CNHR,’” Daryl Beswitherick, the CGC’s program manager for quality assurance standards and reinspection, said in an interview. “You’ve got to give them time to move it out.”
Five months isn’t much time though, Sobkowich said.
“I don’t want people to believe that we (grain companies) would be able to negotiate something different,” Sobkowich said. “You can’t come in Aug. 15 or Sept. 1 and expect to get CWRS prices for it because it needs to move through and it needs to get on a vessel before that Dec. 31 deadline.”
Harvest, Lillian and Unity are among the 25 CWRS varieties moving to CNHR. A few years ago those wheats accounted for 43 per cent of Western Canada’s CWRS wheat plantings, Beswitherick said. However, last year they made up just three per cent.
The percentage is even lower in Manitoba. Too few acres of Lillian, Unity and the other wheats on the list were grown here last year to show up in public crop insurance records.
Just over 100 Manitoba crop insured farms grew Harvest on 36,891 acres in 2017, making up 1.6 per cent of total insured CWRS acres.
“We’ve been talking about this (class change) for three years,” Beswitherick said. “This is not a surprise deadline to anybody.”
According to the CGC’s Grain Varieties by Acreage Insured Report, 491,108 acres of wheats designated for the CNHR, including Harvest, Lillian and Unity, were grown in Western Canada in 2017, wheat checkoff groups say.
“While the reclassified varieties are still registered and can be grown, we strongly recommend that farmers arrange their marketing options for these varieties prior to future plantings,” Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association chair Fred Greig said.
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“Maintaining the quality of the CWRS class is important to Canada’s reputation and will benefit farmers.”
The following CWRS wheats move to the CNHR class Aug. 1, 2018: AC Abbey, AC Cora, AC Eatonia, AC Majestic, AC Michael, AC Minto, Alvena, Alikat, CDC Makwa, CDC Osler, Columbus, Conway, Harvest, Kane, Katepwa, Leader, Lillian, McKenzie, Neepawa, Park, Pasqua, Pembina, Thatcher, Unity, 5603HR.
The following CPSR wheats move to the CNHR class Aug. 1, 2018: AC Foremost, AC Taber, Conquer, Oslo.