Concerned about sprouting? Here’s how to maximize your profit

This article is courtesy of the Alberta Wheat Commission.

For many years, falling number (FN) has been an important global requirement in wheat exports. In the last few years prairie farmers have seen it being increasingly used to determine the milling quality of their grain. This has created confusion for farmers as FN is not a grading factor, but is most often a contract requirement. 

Falling number is a test conducted to indicate enzyme activity in the wheat which can be detrimental to the baking process. A higher falling number is better, and lower falling numbers are often linked to grain which has begun to sprout.


If you expect that your harvest is going to be impacted by rain, here are four steps you can take to be proactive in checking your grain.

  1. Segregate: If your harvest is stopped for several days due to a rain event, try to store wheat harvested after separately from wheat harvested earlier.

  2. Get your falling number: Remember to take extra samples as a falling number test destroys the grain in the sample. Options for obtaining a falling number include:

  3. The art of the deal: If you know you have some wheat that is impacted by sprouting, try to market your high-quality wheat with the requirement of the buyer taking some lower quality too. Bring samples of both to the elevator and attempt to get a price based on the purchase of both high and low quality together.

  4. Have a plan B: If you know your farm is going to have some wheat impacted by sprouting then look into contracting early with the feed market, the earlier the better. Forward contracting some wheat for feed can help move your lowest quality grain at a price that makes sense to your farm.