Canada exports over 20,000,000 metric tonnes of wheat, oats and barley annually, including:

  • 85% of Canadian wheat
  • Approximately 50% of Canadian oats, with nearly 90% going to the United States
  • Between 25% and 30% of Canadian barley (both in bulk and as value added products)

As a farmer, you know that producing quality cereals starts with planting the best seed and managing it carefully.

Domestic processors and importers are increasingly inspecting their shipments, as they have every right to. They test arriving shipments to ensure that contract specifications are being met. Lots of grain that contain things like wheats of other classes, undeclared barley varieties, excessive pesticide residues or mycotoxins such as Ochratoxin (OTA) and Deoxynivalenol (DON), can derail domestic and export sales and damage Canada’s reputation. Blocked shipments cause millions of dollars in losses and place future business at risk.

So what can you do to help protect Canada’s cereals business? Follow these guidelines closely to help us deliver on our commitments as an industry.

Five Simple Tips to Keep Your Cereals Ready for Market

1. Use Acceptable Pesticides Only

Only apply pesticides that are both registered for use on your cereal crop in Canada and won’t create trade concerns. Talk to your grain buyer to ensure the products you are using are acceptable to both domestic and export customers.

Special Considerations: Glyphosate.

  • All Cereals: Glyphosate (e.g. Roundup) has come under increased scrutiny, when compared to other pesticides. Farmers’ rigorous adherence to guidelines, including the science-based label, will keep this important product in our toolbox for years to come.
  • Wheat: Glyphosate – only use pre-harvest if greenest part of the crop is <30% moisture.
  • Oats: Glyphosate – only use pre-harvest if greenest part of the crop is <30% moisture and talk to your buyer, oats may not be accepted by grain buyers if treated pre-harvest.
  • Malt Barley: Glyphosate, Saflufenacil (e.g. Kixor) – will not be accepted by grain buyers if treated pre-harvest.

2. Always Read and Follow the Label

Always follow the label for rate, timing and pre-harvest interval (PHI). The PHI is the number of days that must pass between the last application of a pesticide and swathing or straight combining. Applying pesticides or desiccants without following label directions may result in unacceptable residues.

Unlike many products, applying pre-harvest glyphosate on cereals too early (e.g. when seed moisture content is 30% or above) can result in higher than acceptable residue levels.

See the provincial Guides to Crop Protection for more information.

3. Grow Disease-Resistant Varieties and Use Practices that Reduce Infection

Crop diseases like fusarium head blight (FHB) in cereals can cause yield and quality losses, impact profitability and may create a market risk. Follow these FHB disease management tips:

  • Grow fusarium-resistant varieties.
  • Apply a fungicide when there is an elevated risk of FHB.
  • Plan crop rotations to manage fusarium.
  • Plant clean seed and assess the benefits of a seed treatment in high risk areas to improve the crop stand.
  • Use a combination of best management practices to control fusarium.

4. Store Your Crop Properly

Proper storage helps to maintain crop quality and keeps the bulk free of harmful cross contaminants.

  • Make sure your storage bins are free of treated seed and animal protein like blood meal and bone meal.
  • Clean bins thoroughly prior to storing your crop.
  • Only use approved bin treatments (e.g. diatomaceous earth on cereals).
  • Never use malathion to prepare canola for storage or to treat bins used to store canola. Its residue can linger for up to six months, so choose your canola storage bin carefully.
  • Condition crops to moisture and temperature levels safe for long-term storage.
  • Keep bins cool, dry, well-ventilated and check their condition regularly.

5. Deliver What You Declare

When you sign the mandatory Declaration of Eligibility affidavit (french) at the elevator, you are making a legal assertion that your crop is the variety and/or class you have designated. It also states whether your grain may contain residues of any crop input product specified in the declaration.

This declaration is a legally binding document and incorrect information, intentional or unintentional, can be traced back to the farm and individuals can be held liable for the costs associated with contamination of a bin or shipment.

For more information, visit CFIA’s database of registered varieties and list of variety registration cancellations.