Cereals Canada update: 2023 New Crop Trade & Technical Mission

Josh Vetter, Mount Royal University Public Relations Student

Cereals Canada’s annual New Crop Trade and Technical Missions serve to provide Canada’s key global wheat export markets with information on annual harvest assessments. The delegations include farmers, Cereals Canada trade and technical experts, exporters and staff from the Canada Grain Commissions (CGC). They provide local buyers, millers, bakers and processors with technical information about the 2023 Canadian wheat crop.

In December 2023, Dean Hubbard represented Canadian durum wheat producers in Cereals Canada’s new crop mission by traveling to Algeria, Morocco, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Hubbard is a Region 1 director with Alberta Grains and a farmer near Claresholm, Alberta.

“Cereals Canada places quality parameters on the new wheat crop, which is presented to millers and buyers. Farmers then explain their specific growing practices,” Hubbard said, adding, “Eastern Canada can be very different from Western Canada.”

Throughout his travels, he noticed domestic and international farming practices were compared and contrasted.

“For instance, crop rotations in Canada are split between different parcels of land, whereas in some countries use their entire land for a single crop.”

Farmers from other countries were often shocked to find out how big Hubbard’s farm was. He noted that his farm is one of the smallest in his area, adding that farm sizes in Canada can affect growing practices, and having farmers present on these missions to discuss differences like crop rotations is imperative.

Canada’s Western Amber Durum (CWAD) is highly regarded by other markets and was even referred to as the “Ferrari of durum” by an Italian farmer on their stop in Italy.

Hubbard heard continual praise throughout his travels for high-quality Canadian wheat. “Canadian milling wheat is in a class by itself, and is often mixed with other countries’ domestic wheat to improve the quality, especially in Italy and Morocco,” Hubbard said.

Canadian durum and other classes of wheat have a higher protein content and other quality factors that give them the edge over other countries’ wheat and builds a strong demand around the world for Canadian wheat.

Throughout his trip, Hubbard and other farmers fielded questions about crop protection products, agronomic practices and research. It’s one of their roles on the trip — to speak directly to international wheat buyers to dispel any misconceptions about Canadian farming practices and discuss topics such as future varieties.

Canadian grain breeders are doing an excellent job of developing improved varieties of wheat, and it is being recognized around the world. According to Hubbard, the opportunity to speak to the farming industry in other countries is invaluable, as it provides Canadian farmers with different perspectives and a better understanding of what global customers are looking for.

“This is a very important program that Cereals Canada puts on,” adding “there is good reception and uptake around the world which allows Canadian farmers to highlight the products that we are very proud to grow.”