GFM Network News


Rapid Visco Analyzers are just one small step towards the longed-for ‘black box’ for grain testing.

Falling number, objective grain-grading debate not new

The grain industry explored machine testing more than a decade ago

Calls for “objective” grain grading on the elevator driveway, especially for falling number, have been around for years, ebbing and flowing with the quality of the wheat crop. These days it’s the Alberta Grain Commission and Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association (WCWGA) advocating for the change. They say since grain companies sell wheat to customers

Complaints about Canadian grading of U.S. wheat justified: Gifford

American complaints that Canadian regulations unfairly block American wheat from entering Canadian elevators are justified, says Mike Gifford, Canada’s former chief agricultural trade negotiator. “This is a classic issue of where the optics are awful,” Gifford told the 22nd annual Fields on Wheels conference in Winnipeg Dec. 15. “It seems to me it is an


Randy Dennis (l), the former chief grain inspector for Canada, demonstrates the ins and outs of grain grading at a workshop. The Canadian Grain Commission is reviewing the grading system. While some groups want to switch to instrument-measured specifications, others warn that could create problems.

Grain commission launches major grain grading system review

Views vary within the grain industry about what should stay, what should 
go and who’ll pay any extra costs

The Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) is conducting a major review of grain grading. That’s prompting calls by some for specifications to replace grades, while others say they’ll consider changes if they don’t undermine the current system or cost too much. Read more: Column roils wheat grading controversy Read more: Grading system needed to ensure proper compensation

Grain transportation has reached another fork in the track with the release of the Canadian Transportation Act review report.

Report proposes further deregulation of grain freight rates

The CTA review panel has concluded the railways will provide 
better service if the revenue cap is removed

Initial reaction to the Canadian Transportation Act review report is that it falls far short of fixing what’s broke with the grain transportation system. Farmers are worried about recommendations to phase out the Maximum Revenue Entitlement (MRE) over seven years and shorten interswitching access. But they welcome proposals to improve the MRE in the interim,

The CGC’s Dave Hatcher explaining the wheat class review to the Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale in Banff in February.

New interim wheat class coming for Faller, Prosper, Elgin-ND

Market potential will be studied before its made permanent. In the meantime the CGC will strengthen the quality specifications for the CWRS and CPSR classes

Changes are coming to Western Canada’s milling wheat classes along with some additional study and more industry feedback, the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) announced May 8. After consulting the grain sector earlier this year the CGC has decided to introduce a new interim milling wheat class to take effect Aug. 1 and continue until at


CWB building.

Mixed reaction to sale details: some like it not, some like it sold

Opponents say the lack of farmer control and foreign ownership is offensive while others are glad the deal is done

The Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board (FCWB) and National Farmers Union and federal NDP oppose the sale. “This was just another step in the largest transfer of wealth away from farmers in the history of this country,” said FCWB chair Stewart Wells who farms at Swift Current, Sask., and served as an elected wheat

“I cannot stress enough that amendments to the plant breeders’ rights act allow for farmers to retain the right to save, clean, and store seed for their own operations.” – Gerry Ritz

Strong support as Agricultural Growth Act becomes law

The main dissenter is the National Farmers Union. KAP wants farmers to be consulted on the regulations

There was applause here when plant breeders, seed companies and farmers at the Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale heard the Agricultural Growth Act with its stronger intellectual property rights was about to receive royal assent. Immediately following the bill becoming law last week, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz tabled a treaty in Parliament

Feds extend railway grain-shipping targets

Most of the industry supports the move, but millers fear it will lead to domestic changes

Ottawa’s last-minute decision to continue setting grain-shipping targets for the railways until March 28, 2015 has the support of western elevator companies and most farm groups, but not Canadian millers. “It’s good news that they are keeping the spotlight on grain transportation for this winter period,” Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator


This year’s crop was smaller, but when combined with last year’s carry-over, there is still a mountain of grain to move, as evidenced by this pile outside the Paterson Grain terminal on Winnipeg’s outskirts.

Farmers, grain companies want federal government to continue railway shipping targets

Ritz’s office says he and the transport minister haven’t made a decision yet

Farm groups and grain companies said last week their grain transportation woes are far from over as the federal government considers whether to keep or lift minimum movement orders for the railways. In an emailed statement Oct. 31, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz’s office appeared to backtrack from a news story earlier in the week saying

The federal government hasn’t clarified whether railway fines first announced as $100,000 per day will switch to weekly. The Canada Transportation Act states fines can be levied “per violation.”

Will railways be fined $100,000 a week instead of daily?

Ottawa isn’t saying, but the Canada Transportation Act states fines apply ‘per violation’

CN Rail is facing federal fines for failing to meet legislated weekly targets for moving grain — this much is known. But the big question in the grain industry last week was whether those $100,000 fines will be levied per day — as federal officials indicated in press statements last winter — or whether the penalty