What customers ask on a crop mission

Have you ever wondered how countries that buy Canadian wheat learn about each crop-year’s characteristics? The story of each crop begins with the harvest sample program, involves a careful analysis of the crop, and continues with crop missions to countries such as Singapore, Ecuador, China, and Mexico.

Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada, and Gary Stanford, current chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission, and a board member of CIGI, joined Shaun Haney at Grow Canada to talk about what happens on a crop mission, where they’ve been so far, and what questions are top of mind for buyers of Canadian wheat.

The crop mission season runs from late fall and into the new year, Dahl explains. The 2019/20 season is about half-way through and already Canadian representatives have been to Japan, Singapore and China, and also Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia.

Dahl says that once there, the team will share the quality and characteristics of the current season’s crop, and explain how the wheat will function for flour milling, bread making, and noodle making.

As a farmer, Stanford says he presents an overview of his farm. Customers want to know how the crop is seeded, what harvest is like, and want a sense of the environment the crop grows in, such as the length of the growing season and how Canadians manage quality in storage. Stanford says that the issue of storage, pests, and losses are top of mind in the warmer environments of some of these countries, so they always want to know how Canada deal with them.

Top of mind this year, certainly is quality, and, to a lesser extent glyphostate use, an issue that Dahl says has definitely come up. Falling number (a sign of sprouting) has been a challenge for the 2019 crop, and customers are looking for assurances that Canada will have enough of the quality of wheat they are looking for.

Related: Mildew and sprouting damage drag on 2019 crop

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