The Canadian Grain Commission has launched a formal consultation to determine whether falling number and deoxynivalenol (DON) should be adopted as official grain grading factors in Canada.
The CGC says it is seeking feedback from farmers and other grain industry stakeholders on whether the two quality factors should be taken into consideration when grain samples are graded.
The 60-day consultation period began March 11 and will continue until May 10.
Stakeholders can register their comments online, via email or through written submission to the CGC.
In a March 10 interview, CGC spokesperson Remi Gosselin said a decision is unlikely until 2020.
Implementation would not occur until the 2020-21 crop year at the earliest.
Gosselin stressed that there are “absolutely no pre-determined outcomes and no decisions have been made at this point.”
“We’re really not sure where this is going at this point,” he said.
“The idea is to have a discussion and to gather feedback from our stakeholders and to facilitate a discussion on if and how these measurements could be reflected in the grain grading system.”
Falling number and DON are currently not used as official grading factors in Canada’s statutory grading system.
However, they are commonly used in commercial grain contracts and can influence the price that producers receive for their grain.
This is not the first time the CGC has looked at incorporating the factors into the grain grading system.
In the early 2000s, the CGC tested a technology known as rapid visco analysis, which could determine a sample’s falling number value using a standardized piece of equipment.
Results of the test were conclusive but the use of RVA testing was not adopted due to industry concerns about cost and the sensitivity of RVA equipment in the elevator setting.
If adopted as a grading factor, falling number would be determined using the Hagberg testing method, an internationally recognized method.
The Hagberg test would be performed at elevator locations across Canada, but only if a visual inspection of the grain showed sprout damage or suggested that falling number values had been compromised.
If adopted, CGC would determine falling number and DON values during “subject to inspectors’ grade and dockage” assessments and as part of the CGC’s harvest sample program.
“What I can tell you concretely is that some stakeholders including producers have argued that the Canadian grain grading system is not reflective of the new operational realities of the grain sector,” Gosselin said.
“Many stakeholders have asked the grain commission to include more analytical testing in the assessment of grain quality and in particular, to arbitrate disputes on price, due to the presence of high DON or low falling number values.”