Reclassification deadline imminent for wheat varieties

Farmers are advised to sell wheat varieties that are slated for reclassification before Aug. 1 to avoid unexpected marketing issues.  |  File photo

Twenty-five Canada Western Red Spring varieties to become lower-valued Canada Northern Hard Red class Aug. 1

Got some old crop CWRS wheat in your grain bins?

If you do, then you might want to think about moving it soon —  especially if it’s one of the low-gluten CWRS varieties that are scheduled for reclassification Aug. 1.

In a little less than three weeks’ time, 25 Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) wheat varieties will be reclassified to the lower-value Canada Northern Hard Red (CNHR) class.

Marketing opportunities for CNHR could be limited in many parts of Western Canada, according to many industry observers.

In addition, spot prices are expected to be lower than spot prices for CWRS.

To avoid any unexpected marketing issues, growers should make sure that all low-gluten CWRS varieties have been sold and delivered before the beginning of the 2018-19 crop year.

“If there are producers out there that are holding on to a bin full of some older wheat varieties that are going to be reclassified, they should make a decision on how they want to market that wheat and move it as soon as possible,” said Canadian Grain Commission quality assurance manager Darryl Beswitherick.

“I’m not sure what the price differential will be between CWRS and CNHR. I guess the grain companies will decide that … but there’s definitely going to be a discount from CWRS, that’s for sure.”

Varieties scheduled for reclassification as of Aug. 1, 2018 include:

  • AC Abbey (CWRS)
  • AC Cora (CWRS)
  • AC Eatonia (CWRS)
  • AC Majestic (CWRS)
  • AC Michael (CWRS)
  • AC Minto (CWRS)
  • Alvena (CWRS)
  • Alikat (CWRS)
  • CDC Makwa (CWRS)
  • CDC Osler (CWRS)
  • Columbus (CWRS)
  • Conway (CWRS)
  • Harvest (CWRS)
  • Kane (CWRS
  • Katepwa (CWRS)
  • Leader (CWRS)
  • Lillian (CWRS)
  • McKenzie (CWRS)
  • Neepawa (CWRS)
  • Park (CWRS)
  • Pasqua (CWRS)
  • Pembina (CWRS)
  • Thatcher (CWRS)
  • Unity (CWRS)
  • 5603HR (CWRS)
  • AC Foremost (CPRS)
  • AC Taber (CPRS)
  • Conquer (CPRS)
  • Oslo (CPRS)

The creation of the CNHR class in 2016 was a central element of Canada’s plan to modernize its wheat classification system.

The decision to move some CWRS varieties to the new CNHR class was aimed at narrowing the quality parameters for the CWRS class and ensuring that CWRS represents a higher quality product that is more appealing to bakers, millers and end-users.

Varieties in the CNHR class will have slightly lower gluten strength than CWRS varieties and a wider range of protein levels.

CNHR varieties will still offer good milling characteristics and baking properties, but CWRS will be the gold standard.

The CNHR wheat class came into effect Aug. 1, 2016.

The first varieties placed in the class were three high-yielding American varieties — Elgin, Faller and Prosper.

But as of Aug. 1, 2018, another 29 Canadian varieties — 25 from the CWRS class and four from CPRS— will be added to the CNHR designation.

It is widely assumed that CNHR wheat will sell at a discount to CWRS at delivery points across the West.

Three varieties that are scheduled for reclassification — Lillian, Harvest and Unity — have generated attention.

Together, those three varieties were planted on nearly two million western Canadian acres in 2015.

In Saskatchewan alone, the three varieties accounted for more than 850,000 insured acres in 2015, according to data compiled by the CGC.

But since then, production of the three varieties has been declining steadily, Beswitherick said.

In 2017, Saskatchewan growers insured slightly more than 200,000 acres of Harvest, Lillian and Unity.

“We’re seeing signals that producers are definitely starting to move away from the 25 CWRS varieties that are going to be reclassified,” Beswitherick said.

“For example, in our 2016 varieties survey, which is based on insured acres, Harvest, Lillian and Unity accounted for about 11 percent of the CWRS market.

“But in 2017, they were down to four percent of seeded acres so we’re definitely seeing producers make the decision to move away from those particular varieties.”

Farmers will still have the option to grow and sell the reclassified varieties after Aug. 1, but their value, in all likelihood, will be diminished.

“They are still registered varieties,” Beswitherick said.

“Farmers can still grow them, but they will be required to declare them as CNHR varieties.”

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