The Canadian Wheat Board plans to save somewhere between $10,000 and $50, 000 over the next 18 months alone by handling some of its own wheat and barley testing in-house.
The CWB on Oct. 15 opened its first-ever lab for testing and grading Prairie grain, at the University of Saskatchewan’s Innovation Place in Saskatoon.
The CWB currently spends over $500,000 a year on third-party grain testing for marketing purposes, the board said in a release.
Furthermore, “as customer demand for quality and food safety assurances increases, the number of tests required for the CWB to market Prairie farmers’ grain is also growing,” said Michael Lackmanec, the CWB’s director of marketing strategy.
Thus, while expecting to save about 10 per cent of that cost in the next 18 months, the board also expects the savings to grow as the volume of testing required by grain customers increases.
No change in Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) services is expected, the CWB said, as the CGC will continue to conduct official inspections and guarantees of grain grade and quality.
The lab, sited for its relatively central location in the grain-growing region, was built at an initial capital cost of about $150,000.
The CWB said its lab staff, including three full-time employees, are now preparing hundreds of composite samples from this year’s harvest, to be sent to existing and prospective customers worldwide.
The lab staff will grade wheat and barley and test it for protein, baking attributes and other factors that affect grain quality, the CWB said.