There was a time when Canadian Western Hard White Spring (CWHWS) wheat was touted as the next big minor class. Today, though, the class is virtually dead. Despite having lost its shine, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) wheat breeder Harpinder Randhawa believes CWHWS is poised to make a comeback thanks to a new, higher yielding variety he developed. While AAC Whitehead yields 21 per cent higher than previously established CWHWS varieties, industry experts believe it will take more than yield to revive the class. If the history of CWHWS has taught any lessons, it is that marketing, competition and quality all play a crucial role in determining the success of a wheat class. However, GrainsWest recently spoke with farmers and scientists who are cautiously optimistic about its return.
It’s no secret that Canada is one of the world’s top producers of consistently high-quality wheat. Millers in countries such as Ecuador, Indonesia and Japan rely on Canadian wheat to produce top-quality flour for their customers. And while American millers contend with wheat consistency issues, new marketing opportunities for Canadian wheat have popped up in that country. In a highly competitive market, quality is what sets Canada apart from its competitors.
New crop missions form the practical foundation of Canada’s strategic wheat marketing efforts. And they have proven invaluable in developing and maintaining markets. Forming the delegations that carry out these postharvest sojourns, Cereals Canada, the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi), the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) as well as grain companies and farmer representatives work together to cultivate and sustain relationships with traditional and emerging customers.