Mildew and sprouting damage drag on 2019 cereal grades

Before companies can sell Canadian wheat and durum to global customers, they first need to get a handle on crop grade and overall quality. The Harvest Sample program is a big part of getting this early data. From that program, CIGI and the Canadian Grain Commission run a test on not just grade and grade breakdown, but also what is downgrading the crop, and how the different grades are expected to perform for end-users.

This year, the CGC, CIGI, and Cereals Canada invited media to sit in on the initial overview of the 2019 quality overview. Perhaps unsurprising, harvest sample numbers were down significantly year-over-year, due in large part to the unharvested acres still out on the Prairies. The 8,000 samples submitted so far still give a good indication of the crop, however, and those interested can check back to www.CanadianWheat.ca early in the new year for updates on the later-harvested crop results.

For 2019, the Canada Western Red Spring crop is hitting about 38.9 per cent No. 1 grade with nearly an identical percentage making a No. 2 grade. The most significant downgrading factor this year is mildew, followed by fusarium, severe sprouting, and sprouting. Protein average is 13.5 per cent for the year, which is higher than the last two years.

The most popular CWRS variety seeded was AAC Brandon.

For Canada Prairie Spring red, of which most is grown in Alberta, there were only 100 samples submitted so far. Of that, 33.9 per cent is making a No. 1, with frost damage as the biggest downgrading factor, followed by mildew, sprouting, and severe sprouting. Overall, though the sample size is small, CPS is checking in at 11.9 per cent protein (vs 12.9 per cent last year) on average.

There have been over 800 samples of Canada Western Amber Durum submitted for 2019. 28.8 percent is grading a No, 1, and 25.9 per cent a No. 2. Mildew is the most significant factor, followed by test weight, hard vitreous kernels, sprouted, and severely sprouted. So far, the crop is averaging 13.9 per cent protein for all grades combined, which is close to 2018 (14.1 per cent).

CIGI also performed some evaluative test on the milling yield and quality for the CWRS and CWAD classes but will wait to do the same for CPS, given the small sample size. In general,  for the western CWRS composite,  test weight/kernel weight, which signifies the physical condition of the crop and has a positive correlation to quality, is good, though a little lower than last year.

There are good protein levels in the crop as well, and that can counteract some sprouting damage, as found in the lower classes (No. 2 and lower).

For milling, the flour extraction was similar this year, with slightly higher ash content.

For the eastern composite, CIGI says the average test weight is slightly lower than last year, with a poorer falling number (an indication of sprouting). The ash content is also slightly higher.

In the durum crop, quality is very good this year, though the falling number is much lower, though that is less of an issue for durum wheat. Semolina yields are not as good as last year, but discolouring specks are very low, which is good news for those looking to market the crop.

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