Spring harvest creates blending opportunity

Selling durum with high mycotoxin levels is neither the most pleasurable marketing exercise for Saskatchewan grain growers, nor the most profitable.

However, with spring seeding underway, it’s a good feeling nonetheless to get bins cleaned out and to find a home for high-vomitoxin grain that’s using up valuable storage space.

Jason Skinner, manager of North West Terminal in Unity, Sask., says there are marketing opportunities for spring harvested cereals and high-vomi grain.

NWT has been taking deliveries of high-vomi durum and blending it with spring harvested cereals.

The blended feed is being sold domestically and to export buyers.

“When it comes to mycotoxin levels, we’re reasonably flexible,” said Skinner.

“We’ve got quite a bit of red spring wheat that’s being harvested up here (around Unity) this spring and it tends to be quite low in myco-toxins … so there’s a bit of an opportunity for us where we can take deliveries of high-mycotoxin durum, blend it with lower-mycotoxin spring wheat and move it into various domestic and export markets for feed.”

Growers in the Unity area entered 2017 with a significant number of unharvested acres left over from last year.

Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp. recently published a map that estimates the number of unharvested acres in each Saskatchewan township.

One of the heaviest concentrations of unharvested material in Saskatchewan is an area that stretches about from Kindersley and Biggar in the south, through the Kerrobert and Luseland areas and up to Unity in the north.

Skinner said there will be a lot of spring-harvested wheat around Unity this year.

“In our region, generally the vomitoxin has been very low on that,” he said.

“Vomitoxin was not an issue, but anything that’s harvested this spring will be feed grade … so we have a lot of what I’d call good quality feed wheat in this area.”

Vomitoxin levels in durum were generally high last year.

Through blending, spring-harvested wheat that has low mycotoxin readings will provide an outlet for some high-vomi cereals that otherwise might have proven difficult to move.

Skinner said some export buyers will accept up to five percent vomitoxin in feed grain.

The maximum allowable level depends largely on the type of livestock being fed.

Hogs are generally the most sensitive to vomitoxin, while beef and slaughter poultry are more tolerant.

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