McMillan Article Print

Grain auction goes on-line

By D'Arce McMillan Saskatoon newsroom

A Saskatoon based grain broker has launched an internet auction service to help farmers get the best price for their commodities and improve price discovery.

Merv Berscheid, CGF Brokerage and Consulting owner, said the e-auc­tion that began Aug. 1 fits new grain industry trends such as identity pres­ervation (IP).

He had hoped that the launch would accompany an open barley market.

"I had a buyer here last week repre­senting countries like China, Vietnam, Germany. Maltsters are chomping at the bit. They need this stuff," he said.

"What is really going to be critical is variety purity," he said.

"They want quality IP stuff so they can produce the same flavour of beer consistently."

For each grain lot listed for sale, CGF charges a flat fee, $2.50 per tonne for most grains and $2 per tonne for feed grain. Registered sellers and buyers will have access to a screen that offers two ways to sell, an ask option and an offer option.

Under the ask option, the seller iden­tifies a price he'd like, but all offers are considered. The auction begins at 11 a.m. and runs to 3 p.m.

If the bidding equals or exceeds the ask level, the highest bid will be ac­cepted and allocated a broker note confirmation. If bids do not reach the ask level, the highest bid will be pre­sented to the seller for acceptance or rejection.

Under the offer option, the seller identifies a price he will sell at. The first bid that matches that offer is ac­cepted and confirmed.

See product

In addition to the security of know­ing that the buyers using the site have a history with CGF Brokerage and are considered reliable, Berscheid thinks a key attraction is that buyers can see the product they are bidding on.

Since 2001, the company has taken digital photos of the grain samples that client farmers provide.

The photo shows the grain as it looks from the bin, cleaned, hand picked and the dockage. In malting barley samples it also shows the dehulled grain.

"This imaging has been proven. We've been doing this since 2001 and buyers have come to rely on it. It is a good tool," Berscheid said.

The information that accompanies the lot for sale also includes the grain type, grade, sample details, quantity, location and terms such as when the grain must be picked up.

CGF will post prices generated by the trade to give sellers a sense of the market.

Gilles Fransoo, owner of Parkland Pulse Grain Ltd. of North Battleford, has seen the e-auction system.

"I hope we are going to see some grower support of this system because for a buyer, it is the opportunity to source product from a wide area," Fransoo said.

That means growers should be able to attract wide buyer interest and not just local bidders, he said. For more information, visit

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