WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — Canada's grain industry is closer to having an objective test for measuring chlorophyll content as part of grading canola, the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) said on May 27.

Research scientists and inspection experts at the CGC have been evaluating near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIR) instruments for measuring chlorophyll. At its April 7 meeting, the Western Standards Committee recommended one more year of study into this promising technology before making a decision about adopting it.

"Before the industry goes with a new grading technology, it's important that the decision to use it is based on solid research," said Elwin Hermanson, chair of the Western Standards Committee and chief commissioner of the CGC. "Once the research is completed on NIR, the standards committee will consider the full impact of changing canola grading procedures for measuring chlorophyll."

CurrentlyCGC and industry grain inspectors crush samples of canola seeds and count the number of distinctly green seeds to predict how much chlorophyll is in the sample. If successful, NIR technology would replace this subjective assessment with an objective measurement.

At its recent meeting, the Western Standards Committee received updates on other grading studies and projects. As well, the committee recommended grading changes for the 2011-12 crop year.

Grading changes effective August 1, 2011 include:

• Revise minimum protein percentages for No. 1 and No. 2 Canada Western Red Winter wheat.

• Establish a new grade, No. 3 Canada Western Red Winter wheat, for deliveries with less than 11% protein.