New crop seminars help international customers get the best out of Canadian wheat


Esey Assefaw, Head of Asian Products and Pasta Technology, evaluates noodle dough quality as part of this year's harvest assessment at Cigi.

Esey Assefaw, Head of Asian Products and Pasta Technology, evaluates noodle dough quality as part of this year’s harvest assessment at Cigi.

As Cigi’s annual harvest assessment of western Canadian grain nears completion, Cigi staff are preparing to participate in new crop seminars in customer countries this November and December.

For the third year Cigi will team up with Cereals Canada, the Canadian Grain Commission, exporters and producers to meet with Canadian wheat customers in 17 countries in Asia, Latin America, Europe, North Africa and West Africa. The countries include Japan, South Korea, China, Singapore, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Peru, Algeria, Morocco, England, Italy, Philippines, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates and Nigeria. The group will start off November 10, meeting with millers in Canada before embarking internationally. Later in the month they will also present webinars for customers in Venezuela and Tunisia.

“It’s important that we get the information out as quickly as possible on what’s coming through the system so customers can see what they’ll be getting and if there is any guidance we can offer on processing,” says JoAnne Buth, Cigi CEO.

Nine grain companies participated in Cigi’s harvest assessment this year, submitting wheat samples for analysis and end-use quality evaluation, says Lisa Nemeth, Cigi Director of International Markets. “Grain companies have sent in more samples this year which may be due to an increase in downgrading and the need to assess the lower grades available. We have had a very good response.”

Samples from the different companies are blended according to wheat class into composite samples for extensive analysis of milling and flour properties including protein content, gluten strength, starch damage, colour and rheological properties as well as end-use suitability. After analysis is complete, the wheat is used to process products such as bread, Asian noodles and pasta and evaluated for quality. Composite samples of CWRS are representative of each of five western regions, while other wheat classes such as CWAD and CPSR are made into prairie composites covering the whole region.

“For CWRS we have five regions – two western, two eastern, and one south-central,” Lisa says. “The regional information is so we get a better sense of what the (CWRS) quality is on the Prairies but we present it as east and west.”

This year, due to significant downgrading, No. 4 and 5 CWAD are being analyzed in addition to the higher CWAD grades, she says. Cigi also requested samples of the new wheat class Canada Northern Hard Red (CNHR) for analysis.

New crop seminars are important because customers need to especially understand the quality of the lower grades, she says. “Customers want to see the data and how the wheat works in processing. It’s important to pass that information on and to have technical staff answer questions about the impact of downgrading. This is what new crop missions are about, how customers transition quality-wise from one crop year to another. And it is even more important for us to be there when there is a large shift in that quality from the previous year.”

Juan Carlos Arriola, Head of Milling Technology, agrees with the importance of meeting face-to-face with customers and that technical information from the harvest assessment is crucial for the seminars. He points out that the customers are usually millers or buyers closely connected to milling companies.

“Millers know what quality they need,” he says. “They are going to ask about the milling process, how to adjust it to get what they want, so it’s important for us to be there to offer our expertise. Depending on the downgrading factor, we can still provide very good quality flour using Canadian wheat.”

JoAnne notes that this year the CGC loosened the guidelines for mildew as a downgrading factor after two years of investigation. Cigi milling staff provided advice to the CGC for this change.

“Two years ago we were able to show customers that mildew wasn’t going to affect their end product and there were certain techniques in milling that would alleviate any issues,” JoAnne says. “Cigi was working on how to help customers get the best out of the crop but also working with the CGC on how to make sure the grades that farmers are receiving are fair as far as how they relate to customer use. The revisions are good news for farmers.”

Watch the video below to see Cigi’s harvest assessment for the western Canadian new crop in action.


At the time of this posting the harvest assessment and end-product evaluation was not yet complete. Information on 2016 western Canadian crop quality will be available at in early November.