New varieties aim to push CDC Falcon from its perch

As of Aug. 1, 2014, CDC Falcon moves to the Canada Western General 
Purpose class from Canada Western Red Winter

Winter wheat growers in Manitoba have some new options to consider after their overwhelming favourite, CDC Falcon, moves to the Canada Western General Purpose (CWGP) class Aug. 1, 2014.

That class is usually composed of feed and ethanol feedstock wheats, which don’t fetch the premiums paid for milling and baking wheats in the Canada Western Red Winter (CWRW) class.

The knock on CDC Falcon is that it tends to produce lower protein than what the CWRW class requires, but producers love it because of its short straw and high yield — which is why it accounted for 67 per cent of the 550,222 insured acres of winter wheat seeded last fall. And while it’s possible millers will still use CDC Falcon, they may lower the price they are willing to pay.

So enter Flourish, a new winter wheat eligible for the CWRW class developed by Rob Graf with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lethbridge and distributed by SeCan.

Flourish yielded 98 per cent of CDC Falcon in the western winter wheat co-op trials (2007-09), but in last year’s Manitoba Crop Evaluation Trial it yielded 103 per cent, provincial cereal specialist Pam de Rocquigny said at the recent Winter Cereals Manitoba annual meeting. (In the eastern Prairie co-op trials Flourish yielded 105 per cent of CDC Falcon, according to SeCan.)

A cross between CDC Kestral and CDC Falcon, Flourish is rated “intermediate” for stem and leaf rust resistance, which is lower than some newer varieties, de Rocquigny said.

It’s susceptible to fusarium head blight, which is not uncommon for a winter wheat, she added.

However, Flourish is “moderately resistant” to common bunt, making it one of the few varieties with improved resistance to that disease. Flourish is similar agronomically to CDC Falcon, with the same maturity and “fair” winter survival rating.

Just two inches taller than CDC Falcon, Flourish is strong strawed.

Flourish seed supplies are expected to be “decent” this fall, but demand is expected to be “strong,” said Todd Hyra, SeCan’s Western Canada business manager.

Moats, another new SeCan variety eligible for the CWRW class, will be available this fall, but it’s a replacement for CDC Buteo, Hyra said.

Moats, developed by Brian Fowler at the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre, has the potential for high yield and high protein, according to SeCan and has “an excellent disease package.”

In co-op trials, it yielded 106 per cent of CDC Buteo and 101 per cent of CDC Falcon. Moats is similar to CDC Buteo in height and lodging resistance.

There’s lots of buzz around Emerson, another potential replacement for CDC Falcon. When Emerson, formerly known as W454, was recommended for registration in 2011, it was hailed as the first western Canadian wheat of any type with resistance to fusarium head blight.

Emerson’s fusarium tolerance continues to look good, although last year it didn’t perform quite as well against the disease as in previous tests, said Graf, who developed the variety.

While a variety rated ‘R’ for stem rust won’t display any symptoms of the fungal disease, that’s not the case with fusarium and “does not equal immunity,” he said.

“The great thing is progress is being made (in improving fusarium tolerance),” said Graf, adding the challenge is that fusarium resistance is conveyed by multiple genes, not just one.

Emerson is being distributed by Canterra Seeds, and a limited amount will be available this fall, with full commercialization expected next year, said Brent Derkatch, the company’s director of operations and business development.

MCVET data on Emerson won’t be available until this fall, de Rocquigny said. (Results will be published in the Manitoba Co-operator.)

In the western co-op trials, Emerson yielded 95 per cent of CDC Falcon, had one per cent more protein, matured two to four days later, and was four inches taller with strong straw, she said. A cross between CDC Osprey and McClintock, it is rated as “resistant” to stem rust and has an “intermediate” rating against leaf rust.

“The resistance to fusarium is extremely good,” said Dale Hicks, Winter Cereals Canada chair and a farmer from Outlook, Sask.

Emerson has strong gluten, which could earn it a premium in some markets, he said.

“Emerson has stronger mixing properties than other registered CWRW varieties,” Graf confirmed in an email.

“(British baker) Warburtons has looked at Flourish, Emerson, AAC Gateway and Moats and is cautiously optimistic about them, but I would suggest it is still too early to say for sure. But it is good news!”

AAC Gateway, another winter wheat developed by Graf, won’t be commercially available until 2014, said John Smith, president of Seed Depot, which will distribute the variety.

AAC Gateway yields slightly more than CDC Falcon and produces one per cent more protein, Smith said. It’s similar in height to CDC Falcon and is rated “very good” for lodging resistance.

AAC Gateway stands up well against diseases and will likely be rated as “intermediate” or “moderately resistant” to fusarium, he added.

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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