As buyers look for high-quality cereals, protecting crops and being aware of market demands are key
Quality control starts in the field, and having a high-quality cereal crop with a No. 1 or No. 2 grade provides growers with a higher return on investment and is what end-users need to produce cereal-based products—everything from bread to beer.
With crop rotations tight in many areas of Western Canada, intensive crop production, unpredictable weather and fluctuating market prices, disease management is key to producing a successful crop while maintaining a crop rotation schedule.
Cameron Ewen is the Brew Master at Prairie Sun Brewery in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He is a brewer at a small-batch craft brewery, and realizes benefits of having higher quality grain. “The quality definitely affects how the grain performs in the brew house—having a lower quality grain means that we have to work harder and put in longer hours to make a good beer. There can be an 8- or 10-hour difference between working with high-quality grain versus a lower quality grain,” he said. “Specifically for grain that will be malted to make beer, we don’t want lots of protein, as we end up filtering a lot of it out. Instead, we want lots of sugar and a high level of free amino nitrogen, as it helps the yeast to perform well, which aids in the fermentation process.”
Grain quality and grade are key to providing end-users with the desirable characteristics for processing. Ewen said using high-quality grain is ideal, as it helps brewers make a better beer more easily. “A lower quality grain may not necessarily be something that the consumer notices in their beer,” he said. “However, brewers will notice the difference in quality—a higher quality grain is nicer to work with and makes our lives easier.”
High-quality grain also provides growers with more options to market their grain and a better return on their crop investment.
To ensure high grain quality, growers should protect their cereal crops throughout the growing season. Fungicides protect cereals against diseases that have a significant impact on grain quality and yield.
Producing quality grain and preserving yield potential throughout the growing season starts at the seed. Applying a seed treatment helps protect cereals from seed- and soil-borne diseases. However, seed treatment alone is not enough to protect a crop from disease throughout the entire season. Up to 65 percent of cereal yield potential is determined at the flag leaf stage, making it a critical time for disease control. Twinline cereal fungicide uses Group 3 and Group 11 active ingredients to control major leaf diseases, and has plant health benefits including greener, larger flag leaves for more yield potential, increased grain fill and strong stems for less lodging and increased harvestability.
Another key time to control disease is at cereal heading timing. Fusarium head blight can severely affect grain quality, so applying a fungicide preventatively at 20-50 percent flowering is crucial to ensuring high-quality grain. Caramba is a systemic fungicide that protects cereals from Fusarium head blight and other late-season leaf diseases that can hurt quality.
Glen Forster, Technical Marketing Specialist for fungicides, BASF Canada, highlights the importance of defending cereals against diseases and protecting crop quality. “Applying fungicides like Twinline or Caramba can protect cereals from a broad range of foliar diseases, helping growers achieve a clean, high-quality crop,” he said. “Cereals are key crops that are economic drivers for Canadian growers. With end-users looking for quality, disease-free crops for their products, proper crop protection can help growers meet a growing demand to capitalize on a worthwhile market.”
Being aware of the quality characteristics that matter and protecting cereal crops throughout the growing season can help growers succeed in producing and marketing top quality cereal grains, ensuring that end-users have quality grain for their products.
© 2017 BASF Canada Inc.