Western Grain Elevator Association

Western Grain Elevator Association

October 06, 2005 14:00 ET

Western Grain Elevator Association: Grain industry works to protect quality system from ineligible varieties

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 6, 2005) - The western Canadian grain industry has struck an agreement designed to protect Canada's grain quality assurance system from the delivery of ineligible varieties.

An ineligible variety is one that is not designated for delivery to the class for which payment is requested. For example, Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) wheat varieties cannot be delivered as Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) varieties.

The ineligible variety protocol involves western Canadian grain handlers and the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) and is supported by a number of farm groups and regulatory agencies. It was designed after broad consultations between the CWB and the grain industry.

The protocol will see more widespread use of variety declarations, retention of elevator samples to ensure delivery accuracy, and testing of the grain samples.

Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA), says the voluntary agreement builds on the industry's efforts to ensure delivery accuracy in past years.

"It is extremely important that wheat deliveries be of eligible varieties," says Sobkowich. "Improper delivery of ineligible varieties adds cost to the grain handling system, which no one can afford."

All WGEA members will be requiring farmers to sign delivery declarations, Sobkowich says.

"Most farmers are happy to sign, as the vast majority of them are delivering exactly the varieties they say they are," Sobkowich says.

Sobkowich explains that the contamination of a single grain bin at a large country elevator could cause as much as $400,000 in damage. Those costs are spread throughout the grain handling system and can make Canadian grain less competitive. The CWB and WGEA have agreed to seek recovery of those costs from producers who deliver ineligible varieties.

Ward Weisensel, the CWB's chief operating officer, says international customers view Canada's system of grain quality assurance as the best in the world, and farmers should be on the lookout for anything that damages that reputation.

"Buyers of Canadian wheat and barley know they're getting exactly what they've paid for," Weisensel says. "The delivery of ineligible varieties as milling wheat endangers markets and can be very expensive to correct, especially if it is not detected at the elevator driveway."

Correcting the problem at a port terminal elevator or on a ship that's been loaded becomes increasingly expensive because of the larger volumes of grain involved.

The Canadian Grain Commission maintains a list of varieties eligible for delivery to each class of wheat. Farmers can grow varieties not on the list, but they must be delivered only as feed wheat, rather than for human consumption. For more information on the eligible varieties list, refer to their Web site at www.grainscanada.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Western Grain Elevator Association
    Wade Sobkowich
    Executive Director
    (204) 942-6835
    The Canadian Wheat Board
    Maureen Fitzhenry
    Media Relations Manager
    (204) 984-7747