New wheats in the Prairie pipeline

The recent Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale (PRCWRT) meeting marked the first time a feed wheat developed by the Western Feed Grain Development Co-op was recommended for registration.

The variety, WFT603, is a Canada Western General Purpose wheat.

“The unique thing about this is any farmer in Western Canada can be a member of the co-op and have equal ownership of the variety,” said co-op chair David Rourke. “I think that could be fairly important as we get into contractual laws that prevent seed from being grown again. We’d like to keep the option available for farmers to own some of their own seed.”

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The 100-member co-op, formed in 2005, was established to develop cereal varieties specifically grown as feed wheats, rather than counting on inclement weather or disease to determine the supply of feed grains for Prairie livestock producers.

“By developing feed wheat cultivars, livestock producers will have a continuous, predictable supply of grain without compromising high-value grain for feed,” the co-op’s website says. “New high-yielding cultivars with low fusarium and low protein will increase feed value, lower feed costs, increase farm gate revenues, as well as reduce the reliance on imported feed grains, both provincially and internationally.”

WFT603, which is higher yielding than the checks, is aimed at the livestock feed and ethanol market. It’s well suited to the eastern Prairies with a good disease package, Rourke said.

Seed should be available to co-op members in two years.

Two other CPS (red) wheats were recommended for registration. HY1319 was developed at AAFC’s Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre at Swift Current. Adapted to the Prairie wheat-growing areas the variety yielded seven per cent higher than 5700PR across Western Canada during three years of co-op trials, said Patti Rothenburger, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives’ agri-genetics specialist.

HY995 is a CPS (red) developed by Francis Kirigwi of Syngenta Canada. It yielded four to 11 per cent higher than 5700PR, he said.

HY995 is moderately susceptible to fusarium. That doesn’t meet the PRCWRT’s disease evaluation team’s guidelines, but the committee as a whole voted to recommend it.

Twenty-two new varieties — 20 wheats and two spring triticales — came before the PRCWRT. Two wheats were withdrawn and two were rejected by the committee through a secret ballot.

Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS)

Several of the CWRS wheats proposed for registration could be of interest to Manitoba farmers, Rothenburger said, including BW947. It was developed by Dean Spaner of the University of Alberta.

BW947 is early maturing, high yielding and good stripe rust resistant.

“It had good lodging resistance and it had good leaf rust resistance in the co-op tests,” Spaner said.

BW947 is four days earlier maturing than Carberry with improved yield.

PT765 was also developed by Spaner. It’s adapted to the Parkland and other wheat-growing regions of Western Canada, Rothenburger wrote.

PT765 is a high-yielding line and matures earlier than CDC Teal. It’s resistant to leaf rust and ranged from resistant to intermediate for stem rust and stripe rust.

PT584, the first CWRS wheat to be moderately resistant to fusarium and midge tolerant, is well adapted for the Parkland region and shorter growing season areas.

“This line has three things from pest resistance going for it and it also has nice yield levels,” said Pierre Hucl, who developed variety at the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre.

Canada Western Hard White Spring

HW027, developed by Gavin Humphries at AAFC’s Winnipeg Cereal Research Centre, is higher yielding. While tall, it’s strong strawed, he said.

General Purpose

Six general-purpose varieties went before the committee — four wheats and two spring triticales. Both triticales were recommended for registration, as were three of the four wheats.

GP087 is adapted to most wheat-growing areas of the Prairies, particularly the eastern Prairies, where there’s high disease pressure.

It yielded similar to Pasteur in the eastern Prairies with straw strength similar to 5702PR, wrote Rothenburger. GP087 is three days earlier maturing than Pasteur.

GP087 has high resistance to leaf and stripe rust and low levels of moderate resistance to stem rust. GP087 carries Sumai genes for resistance to fusarium and is rated as moderately resistant.

GP097 was developed at AAFC’s Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre at Swift Current. While adapted for Western Canada it performs very well in dryland areas, Rothenburger wrote.

“One of the big improvements is the earliness of GP097 compared with the yield,” said AAFC Hexaploid Spring Wheat Breeder Richard Cuthbert.

GP097 has improved resistance to fusarium, leaf rust and stem rust and common bunt.

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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