For the third time in as many years, commodity groups in Saskatchewan are offering a pair of one-day seminars that teach farmers about grading grain.
Grade School 2019 will offer grain farmers an opportunity to learn more about common degrading factors and proper grading procedures, as detailed in Canada’s Official Grain Grading Guide.
Experienced grain graders from the Canadian Grain Commission will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice on things to consider when determining grade.
The program is offered jointly by SaskWheat, SaskBarley and SaskCanola, and will include sessions Nov. 18 in Yorkton and Nov. 19 in Moose Jaw.
Growers are asked to register online at saskwheat.ca/events.
Registration is free, and attendance is limited to 30 people per session.
Dallas Carpenter, communications manager at SaskWheat, said interest in Grade School has been steady since the program was introduced in 2017.
Grain and oilseed growers want to know more about how their grain is graded, as well as steps they can take to ensure they’re getting a fair price for the grain they sell.
“It’s an important extension activity for all three of (the commissions) to inform farmers about the degrading factors in grain and to tell them what they need to know before they head to the elevator,” Carpenter said.
“It will hopefully give producers the information they need so they can negotiate a fair price for their grain.”
Carpenter said the program is designed to cover the basics, such as collecting a representative sample, identifying degrading factors, measuring dockage, and taking advantage of grain commission programs including the Harvest Sample Program and the Subject to Grain Inspector’s Grade and Dockage program.
Carpenter said difficult harvest conditions this year will likely result in more downgraded grain and a greater potential for grade disputes at the elevator.
SaskWheat has identified major areas of concern in this year’s wheat crop as sprout damage and lower falling numbers, mildew, kernel vitreousity, fusarium damaged kernels, DON levels, heat stress and frost damage.
“Falling number is definitely a concern this year,” he said.
“We’re hearing that a lot of elevators will be testing for that (more frequently) … so we want to make sure that producers know what to look for in their bins before they go to an elevator.”
A new element of this year’s Grade School is a presentation on grain contracts and steps growers can take to protect against contract penalties.
The Alberta Wheat Commission will offer a similar program for Alberta farmers in early 2020, but dates and locations have yet to be finalized.