by SUSAN MANN
A new grade schedule for a new wheat variety will go into effect on July 1.
The Eastern Canada standards committee of the Canadian Grain Commission recommended the new grade schedule for Canada Eastern hard white winter wheat. A new variety in this class, Whitebear, was registered for production in Ontario this year, it says on the commission’s website.
Crosby Devitt, manager of market development and research for Grain Farmers of Ontario, says hard white winter is a different class from the soft white winter, soft red winter and hard red winter wheat classes. The hard white winter is a winter wheat that’s white coloured and it’s a hard wheat. Each class can have a number of different varieties but so far Whitebear is the only variety in the hard white winter class.
Devitt says the commission has a set of grading standards for each class of wheat. Before the Whitebear variety was registered there wasn’t any production for that class in Ontario.
He described Eastern hard white winter wheat as a specialty crop. Devitt says when there’s a new class, farmers have an opportunity to grow something “that has potentially more value” compared to the current winter wheat classes farmers normally grow.
The new variety would be used to make whole wheat products and Asian noodles. “One of the things they can make with hard white wheat is white bread that’s whole wheat because it doesn’t take on the red brand colour,” he says, noting it will be great for parents who are trying to get their kids to eat whole wheat bread but the kids only like white bread.
As for this year’s winter wheat crop, Devitt says the crop is close to heading out with some areas where it has already started and others likely beginning during the next week to 10 days. “That’s the window where putting fungicides for fusarium control is critical.”
A lot of farmers will want to apply fungicides because the wheat price is good and the crop shows promise. That provides an incentive for growers to try and protect their crop, he explains.
With the cool, wet spring, the wheat crop didn’t start growing as early this year as it had in the past two years. But Devitt says that won’t necessarily translate into lost yield.
Almost one million acres of winter wheat were planted in Ontario this growing season. BF