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Fewer Wheats At This Year’s Recommending Meeting

The committee that determines whether new wheats should be supported for registration had fewer candidates to consider this year than last.

Members of the Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale (PRCWRT) reviewed the data and cast their secret ballots here Feb. 25 before their morning coffee break. A year ago it took until lunchtime.

This year there were 16 cultivars before the committee compared to 26 in 2009 when they met in Banff.

A year ago the committee had an unprecedented 11 wheats slotted in the Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) class to review, nine of which were supported for registration.

Of the 16 cultivars considered last week, five were for the CWRS class, two were for the Canada Western Red Winter (CWRW) class, two for Canada Western Amber durum (CWAD) class, one for the Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPS) class and three for the Canada Western General Purpose (CWGP) class.

TWO NEW BREAD WHEATS

In the CWRS class BW410 and BW415, both from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, were supported for registration. Agronomically the latter not only exceeded all the checks in the class, but also is midge tolerant, Julian Thomas, a Winnipeg-based Agriculture Canada scientist told the committee.

“My contention is this variety would have been a casualty of KVD (kernel visual distinguishability),” Thomas said.

Under the KVD policy, which ended Aug. 1, 2008 before a new wheat could be registered for use in Western Canada its kernel shape had to be consistent with its class. It was a cheap, effective way of assuring quality control, which is valued by customers.

However, some plant breeders and farmers complained KVD slowed the pace of developing higher-yielding wheats.

While many KVD critics said its ending would boost wheat yields in other classes such as CWRW and the CWGP, Thomas said he predicted the change would benefit the CWRS class the most. The fact that BW415 yielded five per cent higher than the highest-yielding check makes the point, he said.

The Crop Development Centre’s BW423 was also supported, even though the quality subcommittee didn’t like it. BW423 is agronomically similar to the checks, but is rated moderately resistant to fusarium head blight, which is better than many varieties.

There were only two winter wheats considered. Both were supported and both are aimed at the “select” part of the CWRW class. Select varieties have higher milling and baking quality.

DISEASE RESISTANCE

Agriculture Canada’s Rob Graf developed W434. It appears well suited for Manitoba because of its resistance to leaf and stem rust and bunt.

“It’s the first (winter wheat) line that I can recall in 10 years meeting all three guidelines for disease,” said Agriculture Canada stem rust pathologist Tom Fetch.

While W434 yields were within the range of the checks in the rust region of Manitoba it outyielded CDC Falcon, which accounts for 80 per cent of Manitoba’s winter wheat acres because of its disease tolerance and good yield. However, CDC Falcon is ineligible for “select” premiums through the Canadian Wheat Board because of its inferior milling and baking quality.

The other select winter wheat, S01-285-7*R, was developed by Brian Fowler of the Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. Agronomically it’s similar to Buteo, but yields six per cent better.

It also has good disease tolerance and generally good milling and baking qualities.

Three spring wheats aimed at the Canada Western General Purpose class were reviewed, but none were supported for registration. [email protected]

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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