GrainsWest winter 2016 - page 14

to reclassify more than two dozen Hard
Red Spring (HRS) and Canadian Prairie
Spring (CPS) wheat varieties has merit,
the real test is to see what the market does
with this reclassification, said Kent Erick-
son, a central Alberta farmer and chair of
the Alberta Wheat Commission.
Erickson said farmers do want to ensure
Canada maintains its reputation among
end users as a producer of high-quality
wheat, but wonders whether there will be
benefits for producers as some favoured
varieties are moved into a new, lower-val-
ue wheat class over the next three years.
The reclassification process announced
earlier in 2015 is moving 25 established
HRS varieties and four CPS red varie-
ties from their original Canada Western
Red Spring (CWRS) and Canada Prairie
Spring Red (CPSR) classes, respectively,
into a new class with an expected
lower-value classification. This will take
effect Aug. 1, 2018.
The reason the Canadian Grain Com-
mission (CGC) offered for reclassification
is that these established varieties—many
of which were quite popular among farm-
ers and possess good agronomics—were
either weak or fell short of the milling
quality characteristics established by
newer HRS check varieties. The CGC
determined these varieties just didn’t
make the grade to remain in the original
CWRS class—customers weren’t happy
with occasional lower quality—so the
varieties are being removed from CWRS
and CPSR for reclassification.
“We understand the grain commission
is responding to concerns from end-use
customers that some of the wheat varieties
aren’t producing the quality they expect
or are paying for,” Erickson said. “And the
grain commission has moved to tighten
up the CWRS class to ensure only the
highest-quality varieties are in that class.
But, it will take some time to see what the
market does with this reclassification.”
Erickson said a couple of important
questions have been raised by the deci-
sion. The first is whether these former
CWRS varieties will be placed in a new,
lower-value class but then still be used to
produce a wide range of high-value bakery
products. The other question is whether, as
farmers grow varieties that qualify for the
premium CWRS class, they will be paid a
premium for this higher-value wheat.
“It is a bit like when the Canadian
Wheat Board monopoly was replaced with
an open market,” said Erickson. “There
was some doubt and speculation about
what might happen, but it took time for
the marketplace to sort that out. It may
take the next three, five to 10 years to
see what the market does with these
redefined wheat classes. But I think it
makes sense if farmers are growing these
high-quality CWRS wheats, they should
be worth more.”
Meanwhile, Jim Smolik, assistant chief
commissioner of the CGC, said that in
responding to farmer and industry
requests, the CGC will be cautious and
“open to ongoing input” as it moves to
formalize the new class, which at the
moment is being referred to as Canada
Northern Hard Red (CNHR). The new
CNHR class will include the 25 flagged
CWRS varieties, including popular vari-
eties such as Harvest, Lillian and Unity,
as well as the four flagged CPSR varieties,
including AC Foremost. Along with the
new CNHR class, the grain commission
has also created a new Canada Western
Special Purpose (CWSP) class that will
cover varieties previously included in the
Canada Western Feed (CWF) and Canada
Western General Purpose (CWGP) classes.
“We are moving carefully and have
extended the timeline to implement these
new classes by one year,” said Smolik—the
deadline is now Aug. 1, 2018, instead of
the originally planned 2017 implementa-
tion. “We want to give farmers, the seed
industry and the grain industry time to
fully understand and prepare for this
CGC officials are also on the road
explaining the ongoing reclassification
process to end users in key Canadian
wheat markets around the world. Smolik,
who met with European customers in
November, said the end users are pleased
Canada is moving to protect its reputation
of producing consistently high-quality
CWRS wheat.
Reclassification could cause storage andmarketing headaches for Canadian wheat farmers.
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