Oats: Grading factors

Full list of grading factors

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A

Adhered hulls (ADHULLS)

Adhered hulls are kernels of hulless varieties with hulls that have not been removed during harvesting.


B

Barley (BLY)

There is a separate tolerance for barley in oats.


C

Cereal grains other than barley and wheat

Cereal grains other than barley and wheat refers to rye and triticale. For grading purposes, spelt and Kamut® are considered as Other cereal grains in samples of oats.


Colour (CLR)

Colour is a component of the degree of soundness, and evaluated using the standard prints for oats.


Contaminated grain

Important: Wear gloves and a mask to handle any sample that is suspected of containing contaminated grain.

Grain is contaminated for the purposes of the Canada Grain Act if the grain contains any substance in sufficient quantity that the grain is either

  1. adulterated for the purposes of the Food and Drugs Act; or 
  2. contaminated within the meaning of the regulations made under section 51 of the Safe Foods for Canadians Act.

Procedures

If a sample is suspected of being contaminated, the sample should be submitted to the Canadian Grain Commission. Determination as to whether grain is contaminated will be made by the Grain Research Laboratory in consultation with the Chief Grain Inspector for Canada. Samples deemed to be contaminated are graded: Oats, Sample Condemned.


Covered smut and false loose smut (SMUT)

There are no specific numeric tolerances for smut. In evaluating covered smut as a grading factor, consider

  • The degree of smut tag on the kernels
  • The number of pieces of covered smut left in the cleaned sample
If the sample: Then the grade is:
Contains about 5 kernels of covered smut and no tagged kernels Oats, Number 1 or Number 2 Canada Western (CW)/Canada Eastern (CE)
Contains many pieces of covered smut and smut-tagged kernels Oats, Number 3 CW/CE or Oats, Number 4 CW/CE
Is severely contaminated Oats, Sample CW/CE Account Smut

D

Damage (DMG)

Kernels are damaged if the groats are fireburnt, heated, frost-damaged, insect damaged, sprouted, mildewed, green, badly weather stained, affected by fusarium or are otherwise damaged.

Weather stained and/or mildewed groats are considered damaged if there is significant brown or black discolouration on 50% or more of the groat or the discolouration penetrates into the groat.

Frost damage is not included in the Oats, Number 4 CW/CE total damage, and total damage and foreign material tolerances.

Determination of damage by mechanical hulling

  1. Hull a divided representative portion of the clean sample to yield at least 25 grams of groats.
  2. Determine the weight of damaged groats as a percentage of hulled groats.

Determination of damage by manual hulling

Use this method only if a mechanical huller is not available. To determine the percentage by weight of damaged kernels,

  1. Divide a representative portion of not less than 5 grams from the cleaned sample.
  2. Hull all kernels to establish whether the groats are damaged.
  3. To accurately determine the percentage by weight of damaged kernels, weigh the affected groat and the oat hull together.

E

Earth pellets

  • Hard earth pellets are pellets that do not crumble under light pressure. See Stones.
  • Soft earth pellets are pellets that crumble under light pressure. See Soft earth pellets.

Ergot (ERG)

Ergot is a plant disease producing elongated fungal bodies that have a purplish-black exterior, a purplish-white to off-white interior, and a relatively smooth surface texture.


Excreta (EXCR)

Excrement from any animal including mammals, birds and insects.

Important : Wear gloves and a mask to handle any samples that you suspect may contain excreta.


Extraneous material

Can be defined as glass, metal, wood, plastic or any other material not already defined in the Official Grain Grading Guide.


F

Fertilizer pellets (FERT PLTS)

Fertilizer pellets are a manufactured plant nutrient product used by producers in the production of grain. They are typically small, round or irregular shaped and usually white, grey, brown, pink or reddish in colour.

Procedures

  • Handpick any fertilizer pellets and determine the concentration basis the net working sample.
  • Fertilizer pellets are assessed as stones when the concentration does not exceed 1.0% of the net sample weight.
  • Samples containing fertilizer pellets in excess of 1.0% of the net sample weight are graded Oats, Held IP Suspect Contaminated Grain.

Fireburnt (FBNT)

Fireburnt kernels are kernels charred or scorched by fire. A cross-section of a fireburnt kernel resembles charcoal with numerous air holes. The air holes result in a low weight kernel which crumbles easily under pressure.


Foreign material (FM)

Foreign material is anything other than oats that remains in the sample after the removal of dockage. Some types of foreign material have separate tolerances.


Frost damage (FR)

Frost-damaged kernels of oats have a black or sunken ventral side and gray or black groats. Frost-damaged oat groats show discolouration in the ventral crease as a dark line. The discolouration may extend throughout the groats depending on the severity of frost damage. There is no limit for frost damage in Oats, Number 4 CW/CE.

Procedures

Cut the kernels lengthwise through the ventral side and examine the groats to confirm frost damage symptoms.


Fusarium damage (FUS DMG)

Fusarium damage is rare on oats. It resembles fusarium damage in barley. Kernels are discoloured by pink, orange or black encrustations of fusarium mould. Under magnification, the black encrustations appear raised above the surface of the kernel and are surrounded by a white mould. The black encrustations can be scraped off.

Some degree of judgment is required when identifying kernels with the fusarium mould. Only those kernels which meet this description are to be designated as fusarium damaged.

Procedures

Confirm the presence of fusarium damage using a 10-power magnifying lens.


G

Green (GR)

Green kernels in oats are an indication of immaturity.

  • Green hulls are assessed in the general colour of the sample.
  • Green groats are considered damaged.

Procedures

Manually or mechanically hull the appropriate portion and examine the groats for green discolouration. Green groats are assessed as damaged. See Damage.


H

Heated (HTD)

Heated kernels have the colour or odour typical of grain that has deteriorated in storage or has been damaged by artificial drying. When the hull of a heated oat is removed, the groat appears brown or orange-red.

Rotted kernels are included in the tolerance for Heated.

Heated seeds of other grains are included in the tolerance for Heated.

Procedures

Manually or mechanically hull the appropriate portion and examine the groats.

How discolouration effects the grading factor
If the discolouration affects: The kernel is considered:
The entire groat Heated
Less than the entire groat Damaged

Hulled and hulless (HULL)

Hulled oats have the hulls removed. Hulless oats have loose hulls which are usually removed during harvesting.

Groats are the oat kernels without the hulls.

If oats contain 75.0% or more of hulless oats,

  • Grade the sample according to the primary and export grade specifications except for the tolerances for hulled and hulless kernels.
  • Add hulless to the grade name, for example, Oats, Number 1 CW/CE Hulless.
  • When determining moisture content, use the hulless oats conversion table.

L

Large seeds (LSDS)

Large seeds are domestic and wild seeds that remain on top of the Number 4.5 round-hole sieve. Large seeds are assessed


M

Mildew (MIL)

Mildew is a fungal condition that develops in unthreshed grain usually under conditions of excessive moisture. The affected kernels are grayish in colour and lower in quality. In the evaluation of mildew, consider the number of affected kernels and their severity.

  • Hull discolouration is assessed in the general colour of the sample.
  • Discoloured groats are considered as damaged when there is significant brown or black discolouration on 50% or more of the groat or the discolouration penetrates into the groat.

Procedures

Manually or mechanically hull the appropriate portion and examine the groats for mildew discolouration. Mildewed groats are assessed as damaged. See Damage.

How discolouration effects the grading factor
If the discolouration is: The sample is considered:
On the groats, from mildew Damaged
On the hull, but groats are undamaged Superficially mildewed, but sound

Mineral matter (MIN MAT)

Mineral matter refers to stones, earth pellets, fertilizer and screening pellets that may be found in samples of grain.


O

Odour (ODOR)

There is no numeric tolerance for odour. Consider

  • The basic quality of the sample
  • The type and degree of the odour
  • The presence of visible residue causing the odour
Heated, fireburnt and odour for oats
If odour is the grade determinant and there is: Then the grade is:
A distinct objectionable odour not associated with the quality of the grain, but not heated or fireburnt Oats, Sample CW/CE, Account Odour
A distinct heated odour Oats, Sample CW/CE, Account Heated
A distinct fireburnt odour Oats, Sample CW/CE, Account Fireburnt

R

Rotted (ROT)

Rotted kernels are discoloured, swollen, and soft and spongy as a result of decomposition by fungi or bacteria. Rotted kernels in oats are considered as heated. See Heated.


S

Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (SCL)

Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is a fungus producing hard masses of fungal tissue, called sclerotia. The sclerotia vary in size and shape, have a course surface texture, vary in exterior color from dark black to gray to white and have a pure white interior.


Soft earth pellets (SEP)

Soft earth pellets are

  • Earth pellets that crumble into fine dust under light pressure, using a finger only—if they do not crumble, they are considered Stones.
  • Any non-toxic material of similar consistency.

Procedures

  1. Handpick soft earth pellets from a representative portion of the cleaned sample.
  2. Soft earth pellets constituting 10% or less of the sample are assessed as dockage.
  3. Where soft earth pellets represent more than 10% of the net weight, the sample is graded Oats, Sample CW/CE Account Admixture.

Sprouted (SPTD)

Sprouted kernels show definite signs of germination. Sprouted oats are assessed as damaged. See Damage.

  • Sprouted oats: Kernel on left is sprouted. Kernel on right is not sprouted.
    Sprouted oats: Kernel on left is sprouted. Kernel on right is not sprouted.

Stones (STNS)

Stones are hard shale, coal, hard earth pellets, and any other non toxic materials of similar consistency. Fertilizer pellets are assessed as stones when constituting 1.0% or less of the net sample weight. (See Fertilizer pellets for specific procedures to be followed when samples contain fertilizer pellets.)

Procedures

  1. Handpick stones from a representative portion of the cleaned sample.
  2. Determine stone concentration in the net sample.
  • Samples of grain grown in western Canada containing stones in excess of “basic grade” tolerances, up to 2.5%, are graded Oats, Rejected “basic grade” Account Stones. The “basic grade” refers to a grade established in the Canada Grain Regulations (grades listed in the first column in grade determinant tables) that would have been assigned to the sample if it contained no stones.
  • Samples of grain grown in eastern Canada containing stones in excess of grade tolerances are degraded to lower grades. Samples containing stones in excess of the tolerance of the lowest grade established by regulation. up to 2.5%, are graded Oats, Sample Canada Eastern Account Stones.
  • Samples of western and eastern Canadian grain containing more than 2.5% stones are graded Oats, Sample Salvage.
Examples: Western Canada
Excerpt from grade determinant tables for Oats, Canada Western
Grade name Stone %
number 1 CW 0.02
number 2 CW 0.07
number 3 CW 0.15
number 4 CW 0.15

Basic grade: Oats, number 1 CW

Grade in western Canada if stones found
If the above sample contained Grade in western Canada
0.05% stones Oats, Rejected number 1 CW Account Stones
1.0% stones Oats, Rejected number 1 CW Account Stones
3.0% stones Oats, Sample Salvage
Examples: Eastern Canada
Excerpt from grade determinant tables for Oats, Canada Eastern
Grade name Stone %
number 1 CE 0.02
number 2 CE 0.07
number 3 CE 0.15
number 4 CE 0.15

Basic grade: Oats, number 1 CE

Grade in eastern Canada if stones found
If the above sample contained Grade in eastern Canada
0.05% stones Oats, number 2 CE
1.0% stones Oats, Sample CE Account Stones
3.0% stones Oats, Sample Salvage

T

Test weight (TWT)

Test weight is the weight of a known volume of grain expressed in kilograms per hectolitre. For procedures, see Chapter 1 of this guide, Test weight.

Total damage and foreign material (TDMG&FM)

Total damage and foreign material includes all foreign material and all damage. Frost damage is not included in Number 4 CW/CE Oats. When assigning a grade, choose the most appropriate grade as indicated in the table below.

Determine grade based on damage
If any one of, or the total of Barley or Cereal grains other than wheat and barley or Wheat or Wild oats is: and Total damage is: Then the grade is:
Greater than the 4 CW/CE tolerance Equal to or less than the 4 CW/CE tolerance See procedures for Mixed grain
Equal to or less than the Oats, Number 4 CW/CE tolerance Greater than the 4 CW/CE tolerance Oats, Sample CW/CE, Account Damage
Individually, each is less than the 4 CW/CE tolerance, but together they are greater than the 4 CW/CE tolerance for Total damage and Foreign Material Oats, Sample CW/CE, Account Damage and Foreign Material

Treated seed and other chemical substances

Treated seed

Treated seed is grain that has been adulterated with an agricultural chemical for agronomic purposes. The types of agricultural chemicals used to treat seed include pesticides, fungicides and inoculants. These seed dressings contain a dye to render the treated seed visually conspicuous. The colour of the dye varies depending upon the type of treatment and the type of grain. The current Canadian colour standard for pesticide and fungicide seed treatments for cereal (including corn) is red or pink. The colour standard for pesticide and fungicide seed treatments for canola is blue; however, green has also been used. Pulse crop (including soybeans) pesticide and fungicide seed treatments are typically blue or green. The coatings or stains may appear greasy or powdery and the surface area covered may range from tiny flecks to complete coverage.

Other chemical substances

Other chemical substances refers to any chemical residues either adhering to the kernel or remaining in the sample and to samples having a chemical odour of any kind.

Important: Wear gloves and a mask to handle any samples that you suspect may contain contaminated grain

Procedures

If a sample is suspected of being coated with a pesticide, desiccant, inoculant or if the sample contains evidence of any foreign chemical substance other than fertilizer pellets, the sample shall be graded Oats, Held IP Suspect Contaminated Grain.


V

Variety (VAR)

Oats are graded without reference to variety. However, for samples containing 75% or more of a hulless oats, Hulless forms part of the grade name, and tolerances for Hulled and hulless are disregarded.


W

Wheat (WHT)

There is a separate tolerance for wheat in oats.


Wild oats (WO)

Wild oats is an annual grassy weed. The seeds vary in colour from white to black. They are normally more slender than domestic oats, and have a slanting, circular depressed scar, sometimes called a sucker mouth, at the base, and a bent twisted awn.