Cigi working with industry on potential application for CWRW varieties

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Investigative work conducted at Cigi for the Alberta Winter Wheat Producers Commission (AWWPC) has shown enough potential in the use of winter wheat varieties in steamed bread to warrant further evaluation.

“This project came about when Cigi met with the AWWPC to discuss the work we do and they decided they wanted us to investigate end uses for the CWRW class wheats,” says Esey Assefaw, Head of Asian Products and Extrusion Technology. “I felt we should focus on a product that gives a high margin and better quota and from what we already know about CWRW, steamed bread could be a good application.”

High- and low-protein samples of Radiant and CDC Buteo were provided by AWWPC and evaluated with control samples of No. 1 CWRW Select milled at Cigi and commercial steamed bread flour milled in Malaysia. Esey determined that the high-protein Radiant and CDC Buteo samples showed some fusarium damage but the low-protein sample results were good and acceptable for steamed bread. Overall the results were atypical for this wheat class as indicated by the performance of the CWRW Select control sample.

Gary Sanford, a director with the AWWPC, explains that the Radiant sample came from the Lethbridge area of southern Alberta and the CDC Buteo was from an undetermined location in Saskatchewan. Heavy rain last fall could account for the degraded samples so he looks forward to gathering up a larger number of higher quality CWRW samples for testing after this year’s harvest.

“The Radiant sample was from a usually dry area but we had tons of rain,” he says. “The quality of the grain this year looks really good but there was a lot of rain again in the spring so we’re finding the protein levels are down. We’re going to try and find out if there are better levels in winter wheat from central Alberta and Saskatchewan.”

AWWPC was pleased to find out about the applicability of these varieties for steamed bread because they had not had this evaluation done before, says Esey. “Now that they have an idea of the potential for this wheat, they wanted to know if we could continue.”

He says others at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) and Canadian Grain Commission have shown further interest in testing a wider representation of winter wheat varieties and possibly having Cigi eventually work with a commercial processor in Asia.

In addition to the two varieties tested, Dr. Rob Graf at AAFC in Lethbridge has been working on developing a few new varieties, says Gary. Since winter wheat is a lower tonnage crop, the AWWPC is trying to find a way to increase it. Gary has also been working with the CWB marketing team on getting a higher price point for milling quality winter wheat as well as to find markets for it as a lower protein wheat.

“We want to find ways to get better tonnage of winter wheat,” he says. “Even with lower protein if we get more tonnes, it may mean we’d find better and longer term markets. So we’re going to do more work and stay connected with those who can help us to make sure we’re doing it right so that when we tell farmers in Western Canada what they should grow, we have all our ducks in a row.”

Article originally published in Cigi.ca e-publication, Fall 2011.