Proposed Changes to Wheat Classes Include Creation of a New Milling Wheat Category


The Canadian Grain Commission is considering making changes to Canada’s wheat classification system, including the creation of a new class of milling wheat with lower gluten strength.

The CGC says it is seeking input on a proposal that would tighten the parameters for the Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) and Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) classes to “strengthen its quality and consistency and ensure new varieties meet requirements for milling performance, dough strength, protein quantity, and end product quality.”

Wheat varieties that have good milling qualities, but weaker gluten strength would fall into a new class. The proposal states Faller (a U.S. variety), Unity (current CWRS variety), and AC Foremost (current CPSR variety) would serve as the initial check varieties.

Diagrams comparing the current and proposed classification systems for Canada and the U.S.
Diagrams comparing protein content and gluten strength in the current and proposed classification systems for Canada and the U.S. (Click to enlarge; credit: Canadian Grain Commission)

Concerns about gluten strength in CWRS wheat arose in 2012 when customers found lower gluten strength than expected. The CGC subsequently determined that three varieties of CWRS which accounted for 33 percent of the Western Canadian wheat crop had low gluten strength.

The proposal notes there are new wheat varieties with milling qualities that don’t fit in existing milling classes, so they’re falling into the Canada Western General Purpose Class, which was created in 2008 to address growing demand for feed wheat and ethanol. There’s also been an increasing number of acres seeded with unregistered wheat varieties from the U.S. that don’t meet the current quality criteria for Canadian wheat classes.

Click here to read the entire wheat class proposal from the Canadian Grain Commission

The proposal also includes the creation of a Canada Eastern General Purpose wheat class, as the CGC says general purpose varieties from Western Canada are being registered for use in eastern Canada, but do not meet the requirements for existing eastern Canadian wheat classes.

The deadline for sharing input with the CGC is April 20th.

Related: Beyond the Bushel — Ep.2: Why Farmers Choose Wheat

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