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Wednesday, 28 November 2012 16:53

Responding to “Possible grain act changes: do they go far enough?”

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In this recent article, a number of statements were made about the Canadian Grain Commission and Canada’s grain grading system. The Canadian Grain Commission would like to provide some clarification.

Firstly, Canada’s grain quality assurance system focuses on ensuring Canada’s grain is of a consistent quality. This focus is not limited to high quality grain. It encompasses grain of all qualities. In 2010-11, Canada not only exported 2,324,886 tonnes of No. 1 Canada Western Red Spring wheat, it also exported 2,640,304 tonnes of No. 3 Canada Western Red Spring wheat.
Customers value Canadian grain because they know how it will perform year after year.
Yes, there are markets that demand high quality grain, but consistency is a key selling point. Grain grades are a tool used to define the quality of grain. Grades relate to a grain’s end-use quality, meaning grades relate to how grain characteristics affect performance during processing or the quality of the end product.
It is also stated that the United States has a simpler grading system. In fact, the United States has a similar system to Canada’s where GIPSA sets grading standards and tolerances based on many of the same grading factors used here such as frost, fusarium damage, etc. The American system is applied differently than in Canada, but the end result is similar.
The Canadian grading system’s focus on consistency does not mean the system is static and unresponsive. Far from it. The system balances the needs and interests of Canadian producers, grain companies and customers of Canada’s grain. To achieve this balance, changes to the grading system are made only after careful consideration, taking into account feedback from all parts of the industry, including the grain standards committees.
The article also indicates that some may feel our sampling requirements add production costs. Our researchers and inspection experts have studied sampling methods to ensure that the methods we use result in accurate quality assessments. A sample of grain must represent an entire load for an assessment of that sample to have any value.
I would also like to clarify that producers and grain companies can choose to sell grain based on grade or on contract specifications. While we establish and regulate the grain grading system in Canada, we do not require producers or grain dealers to use grades during transactions. Contract specifications may be used to specify quality beyond that offered by the grading system.
Finally, KVD or kernel visual distinguishability was removed as a requirement of the variety registration process nearly five years ago. As such, wheat breeders are free to develop cultivars for any class of wheat without focusing on appearance.
In the end, what matters is that buyers come back each year to buy Canadian grain because they know what they are going to get, and because Canada’s grain grading system produces consistent and reliable results.Rémi Gosselin
Manager, Corporate Information Services
Canadian Grain Commission

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