29 wheat varieties being reclassified on August 1

As of August 1, 2018, 29 varieties of wheat that are currently classified as Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) or Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) will be reclassified into the new Canada Northern Hard Red (CNHR) class.

Many producers have been preparing for this over the last two years by transitioning to varieties not designated for reclassification.

However, 255,760 acres of wheat varieties including Harvest, Lillian and Unity, which are designated for the CNHR class on August 1, were still grown in Saskatchewan in 2017.

Reclassified Varieties

For producers with these varieties still in their bins, it means that decisions need to be made soon on how they want to market their wheat, as the reclassification deadline from the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC), is firm.

“After August 1, if the delivery is taken, it is treated as Canada Northern Hard Red,” says Rémi Gosselin, Manager of Corporate Information Services for the CGC.

Wheat classified as CNHR is expected to sell at a discount to the CWRS and CPSR varieties. While there will still be a market for CNHR varieties, they are not expected to attract the same quality premiums as varieties in the prime milling classes have in the past.

Three years in the making

After hearing complaints from customers in key markets about inconsistent gluten strength, the CGC undertook the process of reviewing the classes and where wheat varieties fit within them.

“The main purpose of the review was to address customer concerns about inconsistent gluten strength, which affected end-use functionality in the milling process, for Canada’s premium CWRS and CPSR wheat classes,” says Gosselin. “So, we took steps to protect the reputation of Canada’s premium milling classes of wheat.”

The review process included public consultations in early 2015. In August 2015, the CGC identified transitioning varieties. In December 2015, it announced creation of the CNHR class and the Canada Western Special Purpose class.

Transition period for buyers

Grain buyers have been given extra time to sell transitioning varieties under their previous class.

“In order to clear the handling system of these deliveries, and to ensure that producers and grain companies realize the same valuation on that grain, the Canadian Grain Commission is providing grain companies that have those varieties in store a transition period from August 1 to December 31, 2018,” explains Gosselin.

This should benefit producers, as buyers will want to sell the grain during the transition period to capture the quality premiums that the CWRS and CPSR classes command.

Impact on crop insurance

For producers who will be growing a variety in 2018 that is transitioning to a new class, the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) will be insuring it under the class it was planted in.

“For 2018, SCIC did not make any changes to the insurable wheat classes,” said SCIC Research Analyst Janelle Oshowy. “All the varieties that are currently insured as CWRS or CPS will remain unchanged.”

As for any changes to insurance coverage for the next crop year, Oshowy indicates that SCIC will be evaluating that when there is more information available.

“We are continuing to monitor the acreages that are seeded to those varieties, as well as the market conditions, to evaluate if there are changes that will need to be made to our insured classes,” she said. “It’s important for producers to report their yields each year as their coverage is based on this information. Producers should contact their SCIC office if they have further questions.”