Backgrounder: Wheat class modernization process


From February to April 2015, the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) conducted public consultations on the modernization of Canada’s wheat class system. The main purpose of the consultation and review was to address customer concerns about inconsistent gluten strength in Canada’s premium Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) and Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) wheat classes, and to add a new wheat class to address emerging requests from markets.

During the consultations, stakeholders voiced strong support for protecting CWRS and CPSR class quality, consistency and end-use performance. Stakeholders also indicated the need for caution in terms of potential market implications when implementing a new wheat class. Based on further analysis and discussion with stakeholders, the CGC announced the first group of varieties to be reassigned under the wheat class modernization initiative in July, 2015.

Changes included the implementation of two new wheat classes, Canada Northern Hard Red (CNHR) and Canada Western Special Purpose (CWSP). Quality parameters for the CWRS and CPSR classes were tightened, and varieties that no longer met the requirements were reassigned to the new CNHR class.

The transition of varieties from one class to another has been carefully managed, and an evaluation protocol was developed through the Rye, Wheat and Triticale Committee of the Prairie Grain Development Committee, with support from stakeholder groups across the sector, including Cereals Canada. The CGC reviewed current varieties in each class to ensure appropriate placement on CGC Variety Designation Lists. If it was determined that a variety no longer met class quality parameters, letters were sent to variety owners indicating that their variety would be moved into another class.  As part of the initial evaluation, 25 CWRS varieties and 4 CPSR varieties were reassigned to the CNHR class, effective August 1, 2018. One CPSR variety was also reassigned to the CNHR class, effective August 1, 2019.

In some cases, there was insufficient data to determine whether a variety should be moved. Variety owners in this situation had the option to grow their variety for two years at six sites across western Canada against the new class check varieties. The CGC then conducted an analysis of composites from these sites and provided the data to the variety owner after each year. Following the completion of two years of analysis against the check varieties, the CGC determined if movement was warranted. Based on these assessments, it was recently determined that an additional 5 CWRS varieties will be reassigned to the CNHR class, effective August 1, 2021.

Throughout the wheat class modernization process, the CGC has communicated extensively with the sector about the reassignment of varieties to the CHNR class and the creation of new classes. For each reassignment, the CGC provided over 2 years public notice before changes came into effect, giving producers time to clear their existing stocks and the opportunity to market these varieties while they were still assigned to the CWRS and CPSR classes. Producers with existing contracts for classes impacted by the reassigned varieties, and with delivery dates after August 1, should contact their buyer in advance to discuss the implications for their contract.

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