New canola grading technology recommended for further study

WINNIPEG, May 27, 2011 /CNW/ - Canada's grain industry is closer to having an objective test for measuring chlorophyll content as part of grading canola.

Research scientists and inspection experts at the Canadian Grain Commission have been evaluating near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIR) instruments for measuring chlorophyll. At its April 7, 2011 meeting, the Western Standards Committee recommended one more year of study into this promising technology before making a decision about adopting it.

"Before the industry goes with a new grading technology, it's important that the decision to use it is based on solid research," says Elwin Hermanson, Chair of the Western Standards Committee and Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission. "Once the research is completed on NIR, the standards committee will consider the full impact of changing canola grading procedures for measuring chlorophyll."

Currently, Canadian Grain Commission and industry grain inspectors crush samples of canola seeds and count the number of distinctly green seeds to predict how much chlorophyll is in the sample. If successful, NIR technology would replace this subjective assessment with an objective measurement.

At its recent meeting, the Western Standards Committee received updates on other grading studies and projects. As well, the committee recommended grading changes for the 2011-12 crop year.

Grading changes effective August 1, 2011

  • Revise minimum protein percentages for No. 1 and No. 2 Canada Western Red Winter wheat
  • Establish a new grade, No. 3 Canada Western Red Winter wheat, for deliveries with less than 11% protein

Variety deregistration notice period

The Western Standards Committee recommended that the Canadian Grain Commission discuss standardizing the variety deregistration notice period for all Western grain crops with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Currently, wheat producers have a 3-year notification period before a wheat variety is deregistered. The notice period varies for other crops. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for registering and deregistering crop varieties.

Canola/Rapeseed Colour Guide

The Western Standards Committee recommended that the Canadian Grain Commission make its Canola/Rapeseed Colour Guide available to the industry on May 1, 2011.  The guide helps grain inspectors determine distinctly green seeds in canola. The Canadian Grain Commission's image analysis researchers and inspection experts worked together to develop this tool. It is a printed guide showing the shades of green that, if found in crushed canola or rapeseed, could be determined as distinctly green.

Grading studies and projects

In addition to research into NIR technology, the Western Standards Committee recommended that the Canadian Grain Commission continue or begin work on the following projects:

  • Explore a proposal to replace the hulless barley class with a food barley class
  • Study how the moisture level of beans affects the quality of stored beans
  • Begin a review of the existing grading standards for red lentils
  • Review dockage assessment procedures for lentils
  • Study the impact of copper-coloured and bleached seeds on the end-use functionality of red lentils
  • Examine the impact of green, immature discolouration on the end-use functionality of yellow peas
  • Review grading specifications for Canada Western Amber Durum wheat
  • Explore new technology to rapidly assess falling number in order to measure sprout damage in wheat

Details about grading studies and projects are included in the Committee's April 7, 2011 recommendations available on the Canadian Grain Commission's web site at

The Western Standards Committee meets twice per year to recommend specifications for grades of grain, and to select and recommend standard and guide samples to the Canadian Grain Commission.

The Canadian Grain Commission is the federal agency responsible 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:

Randy Dennis
Chief Grain Inspector for Canada
Canadian Grain Commission
Telephone: (204) 983-2780


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