The Canadian Grain Commission’s popular Harvest Sample Program is still on track despite an unexpected delay caused by COVID-19.
The Harvest Sample Program allows farmers across Canada to submit samples of harvested grain to the CGC to have them graded and analyzed for quality characteristics.
The program is offered free to farmers. Data collected allows the grain commission to assess the overall quality of the grain crop and provides important marketing information to exporters and producers.
Sample kits are typically sent to western Canadian farmers in early August.
This year, however, COVID-19 threw a wrench into the program.
CGC spokesperson Remi Gosselin said a delay in getting sample envelopes printed meant the CGC was unable to deliver envelopes until early September.
Despite the delay, Gosselin said sample kits have now been forwarded to participating growers. Grain samples are starting to trickle in to CGC labs.
It’s unclear whether the delay will result in fewer samples being submitted this year but according to Gosselin, the CGC is ready and encourages growers to submit samples as soon as they can.
Processing capacity at the commission has not been affected by the pandemic, he added.
“We are going to be able to assess the samples that we receive within normal service standards.
“We have a full contingent of staff in place to do that work and it’s considered to be one of our highest priority programs at present.”
The Harvest Sample Program provides producers with a report that includes an unofficial grade, protein determination and dockage analysis.
Canadian western red spring wheat samples are also tested for falling number and DON (deoxynivalenol) levels.
The commission expects to receive 3,000 to 4,000 CWRS wheat samples.
Producers typically receive their reports within 20 days of their samples being received at the commission.
“We’re hoping that … producers are still committed to participating in the program,” said Gosselin.
“The program is vital, not only to end-use functionality research but it also helps to market the Canadian crop because it provides a thorough profile of each year’s crop.”
“And, on a more individual basis, producers get quality information on their own crops, which helps them make decisions on how they want to market their crop to grain companies.”