Canadian cereal crops have just been planted. It is too early to give an estimate of the final harvest but farmers’ planting intentions have been estimated by Statistics Canada.
The Agency estimates that Canadian farmers will plant about 9.6 million hectares of wheat in 2016. This is down about 1.1% from 2015. The wheat crop consists of 6.5 million hectares of spring wheat, 2.5 million hectares of durum wheat and about 688,000 hectares of winter wheat. Canadian farmers are expected to plant about 2.8 million hectares of barley and 1.2 million hectares of oats.
Other principle Canadian crops include:
- 7.8 million hectares of canola;
- 2.1 million hectares of lentils
- 2.1 million hectares of soybeans; and
- 1.7 million hectares of field peas.
Providing technical information and support to our customers around the world is critically important for the Cereals value chain in Canada. This is one of the key objectives of Cereals Canada which was formed after marketing system for Canadian wheat and barley was changed in 2012.
Cereals Canada has also been established to coordinate market development and innovation efforts. One of the first steps is to develop a clearer understanding of the quality characteristics that will attract customers from the international marketplace.
The Canadian wheat brand is known for superior protein content and quality, consistency, and cleanliness (small dockage and a small amount of “other” grain). This is especially true for Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS) and durum wheat.
Customers of Canadian cereals can be assured that Canada’s quality assurance systems are still in place and that the Canadian value chain is listening and will respond to their needs, throughout the period of recent transition of our marketing system.
The quality of the 2016 crop will not be known until early November when harvest is completed and technical analysis conducted. Cereals Canada, the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) and the Canadian Grain Commission work together to provide customers around the world with this technical analysis. Analysis includes:
- Weather factors that contribute to quality and yield;
- Grading factors, such as frost, that may have an impact on end-use quality;
- Milling yield;
- Proton levels for wheat and flour;
- Wet gluten;
- Ash percentage;
- Bread baking quality;
- Noodle making quality; and
- More detailed quality analysis.
This data is available for Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS), Canadian Amber Durum (CWAD), Canadian Western Red Winter (CWRW) and Canadian Prairie Spring Red (CPSR). Any customer interested in the detailed results of this analysis can visit the “2015 Wheat Quality” section of Cereals Canada’s website, located at WWW.CEREALSCANADA.CA.
Trading relationships are a conversation. A conversation that requires listening as well as talking. The Canadian value chain is listening to our customers’ needs.
In recent years, customers of Canadian wheat have requested additional gluten strength, especially in the Canadian Western Red Spring class of wheat. The Canadian value chain has responded to these requests with changes to our wheat classification system. These changes are designed to improve the gluten quality of Canadian wheat while preserving choice for all of our customers as well as Canadian farmers.
Canada’s grain industry has worked with the Canadian Grain Commission (the Government of Canada agency charged with maintaining the Canadian wheat classification system) to update the quality parameters to meet customer demands.
The quality parameters for the Canadian Western Red Spring class has been tightened to remove varieties that may not meet the future demands of customers. A similar tightening of the quality parameters has been made to the Canadian Prairie Spring Red class to increase the quality of the gluten in this class as well.
All new varieties registered in Canada must comply with these new quality requirements in order to fit into the CWRS and CPSR classes. Existing varieties that will be moved out of the CWRS and CPSR classes, to ensure their ongoing performance, will be re-classified into a new class of Canadian Northern Hard Red wheat. In this way, the full spectrum of quality will be available from which customers can choose. Canadian farmers will also be able to choose which classes of wheat best fit the operations of their individual farm.