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Harvest most popular CWRS wheat in Manitoba

The high-yielding, fusarium-susceptible variety captured the highest percentage of provincial acres this year, but newcomer Carberry is rising with a bullet

Just like the classic Neil Young album of the same name, Harvest is topping the charts.

In this case, it’s the Canada Western Red Spring acreage chart in Manitoba.

“It’s been quietly beavering away out there with not too many people paying attention,” said Stephen Fox, the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientist who bred the variety.

There were 405,027 acres of Harvest planted and insured in the province this year, according to the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation. That was an 18.4 per cent market share for CWRS wheats — narrowly ahead of Glenn (18.2 per cent and 400,625 acres) and well ahead of Kane (14.1 per cent and 310,374 acres).

Its popularity is likely all about yield. Harvest averaged 43.7 bushels an acre province-wide last year — 12 and 19 per cent higher, respectively, than Glenn and Kane.

But as Neil Young (whose 1974 record was a one-hit wonder) well knows, it’s hard to stay at the top.

Relative newcomer Carberry, also developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, is moving up fast (271,000 acres and a 12.3 per cent share) and dominated CWRS pedigreed seed acres this year — a sign seed growers expect it to be a chart topper. It’s also rated as “moderately resistant” to fusarium head blight while Harvest is “susceptible” to the fungal disease. For the past two years, Kane has been No. 1 with Glenn a close second in Manitoba. Harvest was No. 1 across the Prairies in 2011.

Thanks to hot, dry weather at flowering time, fusarium wasn’t an issue this year or last, noted Pam de Rocquigny, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives’ cereal specialist.

But take care, especially in the Red River Valley, warned Fox.

“I wonder if it has gained acres in Manitoba because we’ve had two easy fusarium years in a row,” he said. “Harvest is pretty susceptible to fusarium head blight, so you need to pay attention.”

According to data in the 2012 issue of Seed Manitoba, Harvest yielded eight per cent more than the check, AC Barrie, in 2011 but matured one day sooner. Its protein content is good, it’s short and is rated very good for resistance to lodging, “moderately resistant” to leaf rust and “resistant” to stem rust. It also has good resistance to sprouting, Fox said.

Carberry, which matured two days later than AC Barrie, yielded five per cent better than the check in 2011, with 0.2 per cent more protein. Carberry, which is even shorter than Harvest, also rated “very good” for lodging resistance as well as “moderately resistant” to stem rust and fusarium, and “resistant” to leaf rust.

The top three varieties accounted for 51 per cent of the CWRS acres in Manitoba this year, but some farmers still grow older varieties such as fifth- and sixth-place AC Domain and AC Barrie, registered in 1993 and 1994, respectively.

Farmers like AC Domain for its resistance to sprouting, often an issue in the Red River Valley.

AC Barrie is popular because of its yield and protein potential and “intermediate” tolerance to fusarium.

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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