WINNIPEG, Sept. 23, 2011 /CNW/ - Early results from the Canadian Grain
Commission's Harvest Sample Program show that ergot could be a grading
issue in this year's wheat harvest. If a producer delivers wheat which
exceeds the tolerances for ergot, the delivery will be downgraded even
if it meets all other grading specifications.
"Despite this issue, we believe the overall quality of this year's wheat
harvest is promising," explains Elwin Hermanson, Chief Commissioner of
the Canadian Grain Commission, "Through our Harvest Sample Program,
we've received samples of high quality wheat, as well as samples
downgraded because of ergot. When we notice a potential problem, it's
our duty to let Canadian producers know."
To date, the Canadian Grain Commission has received about 500 samples of
Canada Western Red Spring wheat from producers taking part in the
Harvest Sample Program. Ergot was a grading factor in a number of these
Ergot is caused by the fungus Claviceps purpurea. Wet, cool and cloudy weather during the flowering stages creates ideal
conditions for spores to enter wheat florets. In an infected wheat
plant, purple or black ergot bodies develop in place of wheat kernels.
These bodies can lodge in the soil at harvest. If they survive the
winter, and the following spring is cool and wet, the bodies release
spores and the cycle can begin again.
Ergot is toxic to both humans and animals and its toxicity is not
reduced by processing. It also affects the appearance of products
because it leads to dark specks in flour.
Tolerances for ergot, found in the Canadian Grain Commission's Official
Grain Grading Guide, are based on scientific assessments in order to
maintain the quality and safety of Canada's wheat. A sample that
otherwise meets all tolerances for a grade could be downgraded if it
exceeds the tolerances for ergot for that grade.
Visit our web site, www.grainscanada.gc.ca for more information about ergot, including tips for management.
The Canadian Grain Commission is the federal agency for establishing and
maintaining Canada's grain quality standards. Its programs result in
shipments of grain that consistently meet contract specifications for
quality, safety and quantity. The Canadian Grain Commission regulates
the grain industry to protect producers' rights and ensure the
integrity of grain transactions.
SOURCE Canadian Grain Commission
For further information:
Chief Grain Inspector for Canada
Canadian Grain Commission