With harvest underway in Alberta, a reminder that a step to marketing is knowing the product that you have to offer.
‘Producers should be taking samples of each load as the crop is placed into storage to create a representative sample for each bin,’ explains Neil Blue, provincial crop market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
‘The goal is to have a sample that has the same characteristics as the large volume of product that it represents. Producers will then have a sample that can be used to shop around with various potential buyers.’
The samples should be stored in a sealed container to identify the source bin.
‘This container should keep out rodents and insects and preserve representative moisture content to maintain sample integrity. Some grain companies provide zip lock bags just for this purpose, which in turn, could be kept in a larger sealed container,’ he adds.
One of the services of the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) is the Harvest Sample Program.
‘It gives producers a free, unofficial grade on samples from the current year’s crop. Producers can submit samples of newly harvested crop prior to November 30 and obtain base grade information for their marketing at no charge. This program also helps the Canadian Grain Commission, the Canadian International Grains Institute, and grain buyers to better know, in a general way, the quality of the crop.’
Producers can learn more and sign up for the Harvest Sample Program online, over the phone, or email. The Commission sends participating producers a personalized kit, including postage-paid envelopes for the samples. Producers fill the envelopes with representative crop samples and mail them to the CGC.
The Harvest Sample Program can be used for cereal grains, pulses, canola, flaxseed, mustard seed and soybeans. The grading report includes the following valuable information that a producer can use in crop marketing:
- unofficial grade for each sample submitted
- dockage assessment on canola
- protein content on barley, beans, chickpeas, lentils, oats, peas and wheat
- oil, protein and chlorophyll content for canola
- oil and protein content and iodine value for flaxseed
- oil and protein levels for mustard seed and soybeans
- falling number for wheat and rye
- vomitoxin (deoxynivalenol or DON) levels for wheat, corn and barley
‘Individual reports remain confidential, but in collecting the grade information, the Commission can assemble and publish aggregated data on crop quality, useful to buyers and sellers,’ says Blue.
Sign up for the Harvest Sample Program.
To connect with Neil Blue:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
For media inquiries about this article, call Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s media line: