Grain Grading and Quality

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Will the grading system change?
  • The grading system was not changed with the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act. The Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) will continue to oversee grain grading in Canada and will continue to be available as the final arbiter in grain grading disputes.
Will we still have grading services available through the Canadian Grain Commission?
  • Yes. The CGC will continue to be available to farmers and industry for its grading services.
Who will maintain Canadian grades of wheat and barley?
  • The CGC will continue to determine Canadian grades for wheat and barley. The CGC annually sets standards and specifications for grades of grain and uses the recommendations of the Western Standards Committee when setting these standards.
What is the ‘falling number’ in wheat?
  • The falling number (FN) is a laboratory test that measures the amount of alpha-amylase enzyme in wheat. The presence of this enzyme is related to sprouting damage. Currently in Canada, grain graders visually count sprouted kernels of wheat and use this to predict the FN.
  • FN is important to millers as it relates to flour quality. FN is one of the many quality criteria that are used in the marketing of wheat.
Will ‘falling number’ be a larger factor in marketing wheat in the future?
  • FN is one of many quality criteria used in the marketing of wheat. Currently in Canada, there is no test in the elevator system to determine the FN of a farmer’s wheat. However, final customers will require that wheat meet various quality parameters, and often FN is one of those quality parameters.
  • It is unknown if FN will be used to a larger degree in the future. The CGC maintains grain grading standards for Canada and is responsible for this issue as well as assessing any new technologies that may assist in measuring this quality factor.
How does US-sourced grain imported into Canada get inspected?
  • The Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act does not change the rules for grain imported from the US. Tariff Rate Quotas for wheat, barley and their products were instituted on August 1, 1995. Consequently, an import permit issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is required to import these products. The Canadian Grain Commission and the Canada Border Services Agency have requirements regarding the importation of grains into Canada. The CGC is responsible for the monitoring of non-registered varieties and different classes of grain and their entry into the Canadian Licensed Grain Handling system.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Neil Blue.
This document is maintained by Erminia Guercio.
This information published to the web on June 1, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on June 8, 2015.