Farmers learn firsthand about grading and customer quality requirements

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Farmers participating in ‘Grade School’ seminars in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta during last summer and fall learned firsthand how the grain they grow is graded for export and about customer end-use requirements worldwide. The sessions featured hands-on demonstrations and presentations that included participation from Cigi, Canadian Grain Commission, provincial wheat commissions and grower organizations representing barley, canola and pulses.

The seminars took place in Brandon, Manitoba; Rosetown, Saskatchewan; North Battleford, Saskatchewan; and Olds, Alberta. First held in Alberta in 2015 and Saskatchewan in 2016, this year was the first time for Manitoba.

Pam de Rocquigny, general manager of Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association, says the MWBGA was proud to collaborate with the Manitoba Canola Growers Association, CGC and Cigi to host Grade School in Brandon. “We wanted to provide farmers with the opportunity to learn about what our customers of spring wheat and barley are looking for and how wheat degrading factors affect end-use production quality through hands-on grading demonstrations. We hope the attendees found value in the sessions and we’ll be looking for feedback in planning future Grade Schools.”

Robyn Makowski, Cigi Analytical Services technician, presented on how grading factors such as mildew, frost/heat stress, fusarium and sprout damage affect the quality of end products as well as describing Cigi lab tests on quality including falling number, DON/vomitoxin testing, and the extensograph.  Cigi baking technologist Rosa Boyd discussed the basic principles of bread making, how grading factors can impact bread quality, export markets for Canadian wheat and the different breads produced around the world using Canadian wheat.

Overall, both Robyn and Rosa feel the seminars were beneficial for the participants. “It is a lot of information to take in in one day but the producers seemed quite interested in what we had to say,” says Robyn. “Hopefully they got a sense of why quality is so important to the end users of Canadian wheat.”