In order to capture top dollar for food crops, cereals and pulses in particular, end users need to know the level of certain quality characteristics. Protein, test weight, falling number, vomitoxin and other factors can make a huge difference in the value of a crop, yet none of these are measurable to the naked eye.
Farmers play an important role in maintaining top-end quality assurance in organic value chains. It’s critical to take representative samples periodically with a clean scoop as bins are being filled, or use a probe if sampling after the fact. For a guide to best sampling practices, visit Grains Canada
It’s worth the effort to identify specific grain quality in the process of negotiating a contract, and to have it all spelled out in advance. Everyone in the value chain benefits from avoiding disappointment at unload, as rejection based on poor quality can have severe financial consequences for sellers and buyers alike.
In addition to samples, up-to-date organic certifications must also be part of the paper trail. Top-quality markets all require farmers, processors and packaging companies to provide a thick paper trail in order to sell food products to the modern discerning consumer.
In the not-too-distant future, markets are going to be looking for detailed field records, sufficient buffer zones and test results on pesticide residues, in addition to field records and organic audits. These will come with added costs. The return will be ongoing access to premium-priced markets.