Evaluation of the Harvest Sample Program - Final Report

Summary of recommendations and management action plans

The following is a summary of recommendations contained in the report with management’s action plans to address the topics identified.

Summary of recommendations and management action plans
Number Recommendation Management action plan
While the evaluation found that the Harvest Sample Program has been successful in achieving its objectives and is delivered in an efficient and cost effective manner, some possible opportunities to enhance the program are as follows.
1

Continue promotion and marketing of the program in order to recruit new producers to submit harvest samples. Given the demographics of program registrants, marketing and promotion efforts are needed to ensure new producers are recruited.

While the strategies utilized to date (e.g. tradeshows, leveraging communications through producer and industry associations, social media) should be continued, additional promotional and marketing strategies that strategically target under-represented commodities and growing regions should be explored. Possible strategies include the use of radio and print advertisements, direct contact with producers, local community engagements and enhanced partnerships with producer and industry associations.

A focused communication plan will be developed by the Canadian Grain Commission Communications Unit to recruit new program participants. This plan will be initiated prior to the 2017 program and will concentrate on younger producers and those with large acreage.

Younger producers have been identified as being technologically savvy and wanting to receive information on a variety of platforms. However, the program database does not currently support certain functions, such as texting results, and there are security access concerns. Information Management and Technology Services would require a significant shift in existing identified priorities to fully address communication through technological means.

2

Examine the feasibility of possible enhancements to the type and format of quality information available to producers in order to increase their participation in the program.

Some possible enhancements that should be investigated are as follows.

A. Include additional technical factors in the unofficial grade and quality information provided to producers. The producers surveyed indicate that a more detailed explanation of the grading factors and the inclusion of falling number, dockage, moisture, hard vitreous kernels (HVK), bushel weight, fusarium and vomitoxin would enhance the program.

B. Provide additional sample envelopes to large producers and producers growing multiple varietals of the same commodity. In addition, the feasibility of providing registered producers with the ability to update their preferences for which grains they intend to submit each harvest should be investigated.

C. Redevelop the online interface for producers with a Harvest Sample Program webpage where participating producers can login via email to update their sample preferences or notify the Canadian Grain Commission that they have retired, relocated or ceased operations. This could also include:

  1. the capability for producers to access their own results, compare their results year-over-year and compare their results to those of the regional and national composites
  2. the possibility of producing a more professional, printable format of the unofficial grade and quality assessment should be examined to further enhance its utility for producers
  3. email reminders to submit samples, an email notification informing them that their results are ready, or the results could be emailed directly to producers to encourage participation

D. To better track producer registration and participation in the program, the number of producers culled from and added to the producer database each year could be consistently tracked and included in the annual harvest survey internal reports issued to Canadian Grain Commission management. If possible, the report could also include the number of producers who submit samples (the current reporting includes the number of producers issued sample kits and the total number of envelopes received).

A. Improved harvest quality information for producers has been created. The top technical factors responsible for the grade will be included on both the online and printed version for the 2017 harvest.

Technical factors that will not be included at this point are:

  • falling number and vomitoxin, as they are not grading factors and therefore out of program scope
  • hard vitreous kernels (HVK), as it is only applicable to Canada Western Amber Durum (CWAD) and No. 1 Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS)

B. An electronic update has been developed and implemented so producers can request more envelopes from the Canadian Grain Commission as required.

C. The program is currently not planning to develop an online interface for the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year. The Grain Research Laboratory will reassess the priority of developing an online interface with Information Management and Technology Services for the 2018 to 2019 fiscal year.

  1. The program is unable to allow comparison to previous results. Comparing previous results would require a new application and this is not currently in the Information Management and Technology Services development work plan for the foreseeable future.
  2. A formal and printable form has been developed for both HTML (web) and PDF results to be accessed by the producer.
  3. Information Management and Technology Services has developed the ability to email producers their results as soon as they are available. This has been implemented for the 2017 program and ensures producers timely delivery of their data.

D. Improved tracking of producer participation has been implemented by the Grain Research Laboratory for the 2017 harvest.

3

Assess the feasibility of enhancing communication with stakeholders to inform them of when updates to the wheat harvest information are available. While the Canadian Grain Commission currently updates the wheat harvest information on a weekly basis, this update cycle could be better communicated with end-users of the information. There also is an opportunity to increase the extent to which the Canadian Grain Commission communicates with domestic stakeholders and international buyers to promote the program and to share the annual harvest quality reports.

The current practice of weekly updates of data is recognized as being meaningful by Canadian Grain Commission management.

Additionally, the existing normal news releases and articles on the Canadian Grain Commission website are deemed to be adequate by Canadian Grain Commission management.

4

Examine potential partnerships with organizations in eastern Canada to obtain alternative sources of harvest samples to address the low response rate among eastern producers, and the fact that beginning in 2016, Grain Farmers of Ontario may no longer be partnering with the Canadian Grain Commission to collect samples to support the Harvest Sample Program.

As steps were successfully undertaken to work closely with Soy Canada in 2016, discussion with eastern stakeholders will be pursued during the annual Canadian Grain Commission/stakeholder meetings in spring 2017.

5

Investigate the feasibility of a single comprehensive annual harvest quality report that combines the information produced by the Canadian Grain Commission and Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi). The US Wheat Associates’ Harvest Assessment Report provides one possible model of a comprehensive national report that draws harvest quality data from multiple sources, using different collection methodologies.

The feasibility of working together with Cigi and sharing our larger sample set and resources will be pursued again by the executive of the Canadian Grain Commission prior to the upcoming 2017 harvest.