Cereals Canada has wrapped up its annual New Crop Trade and Technical Missions updating customers in 17 countries on the quality of the 2023 wheat crop.
Elaine Sopiwnyk, vice president of technical services for Cereals Canada says despite challenging growing conditions last year that led to variable yields and below-average production, Canadian farmers grew almost 30 million tonnes of high-quality wheat.
"Over 95 per cent of CWRS graded #1 and #2 with average protein content. In terms of Durum wheat or CWAD, we saw that over 80 per cent graded #1 and #2 with protein content that was higher than average. For CPSR we saw that over 90 per cent graded #1 and #2 with average protein content."
The 2023 New Crop Trade and Technical Missions saw four delegations of Cereal Canada trade and technical experts, exporters, Canadian Grain Commissioners, and grower representatives take that message of the Canadian crop out to customers.
Dean Hubbard a farmer from Claresholm and director with Alberta Grains met with customers in Algeria, Italy, Morocco, and the U.K.
A key message he took away was how much our international customers value and rely on the quality of the grain they receive.
"Canada is a very significant supplier into these markets and they anticipate continued steady demand from our grain. As I heard several times 'There's no other grain like Canadian grain. We're in a class by ourselves.' You know, to hear that made me feel very proud. "
Overall, he says, it really emphasized to him the value of our breeding system in Canada and how good a job our breeders do to supply top-quality grain.
Corey Peters farms at Randolph and represented the Manitoba Crop Alliance on the tour.
He was part of the Asian Mission to Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and China where customers commented on the quality of Canadian grain, saying it was 'Second to none'.
"One thing that benefits Canada is our climate which allows us to grow these cereals. The other thing I think that doesn't get talked about is the climate that also benefits us to store the grain and keep it that high quality so that we can help supply different parts of the world throughout the entire year. It's not just when we're done growing, we have the ability to store grain and keep that quality throughout the season."
Sopiwnyk says they hear from customers that CWRS is the ‘gold standard’ for wheat and an ‘anchor’ in their wheat blends, improving the quality of their flours. One customer even called CWAD ‘the Ferrari’ of durum wheat.
The Chair of Alberta Grains Tara Sawyer (farms near Acme) just got back from meeting with Canadian grain customers in Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Malaysia where customers like in other areas commented on the consistent high-quality of our wheat.
"My favorite was one customer we met with referred to Canadian wheat as the 'gold standard'. I don't think I'll ever forget that because that meant a lot. I was pretty proud in that moment for what we produce to be recognized in that manner."
Leif Carlson, the director of market intelligence and trade policy for Cereals Canada says our customers also wanted to know what our export forecast is looking like and how much wheat will be available.
"For common wheat, Canada's export target remains at 20 million metric tons, down slightly from what we saw in 2022. For durum wheat, given the tight supplies and low carry-in stocks from Canadian farmers, this year's lower production has also resulted in a lower export target currently forecast at 3.2 million metric tons for durum.
Carlson notes that we've seen strong and consistent demand with 52 per cent of the Canadian wheat crop being shipped by the end of January, while durum shipments to the end of January are on pace with 49 per cent of Canada's exports being shipped to North Africa - Morroco and Algeria, the U.S and Italy.