Two New Winter Wheats Could Be Falcon Replacement

Two new “select” winter wheats recently supported for registration – W434 and S01-285-7*R – look like good replacements for CDC Falcon, Manitoba’s most popular winter wheat.

And with the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) proposing to move Falcon from the Canada Western Red Winter (CWRW) wheat class to the Canada Western General Purpose (CWGP) wheat class Aug. 1, 2013, the timing couldn’t be better.

If the plan goes ahead as expected, all “non-select” CWRW varieties – including CDC Clair, CDC Harrier, CDC Kestrel and CDC Raptor, as well as CDC Falcon – will be transferred to the general purpose class.

The move is designed to restore CWRW to what it was intended to be – a class for winter wheats that meet high-quality milling and baking standards, competitive with American milling winter wheats, Graham Worden, the Canadian Wheat Board’s (CWB) senior manager of technical services told Winter Cereals Manitoba’s annual meeting here March 10.

“What I anticipate is after this move the winter wheat initial price (in the CRWR class) and the PRO (Pool Return Outlook) will go up because it will be a quality class now that customers will recognize,” he said.

In 2009, almost 80 per cent of the winter wheat seeded in Manitoba was Falcon, which doesn’t qualify as a “select” variety because its milling quality is just short of acceptable. The CGC says it will delay transferring Falcon to the CWGP class if a suitable “select” replacement isn’t available by 2013.

CDC Falcon developer, Brian Fowler of the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre, developed S01-285-7*R. Its agronomic performance is similar to the check varieties.

S01-285-7*R is rated resistant (R) to stem and leaf rust, said Pam de Rocquigny, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiative’s business development manager for feed grains.

S01-285-7*R is rated moderately susceptible (MR) to bunt and meets the quality standards of the CWRW class.

It yields similar to Falcon, but is slightly taller and might be more prone to lodging, de Rocquigny said.

That’s why W434, developed by Rob Graf of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lethbridge, looks, at least on paper, even better suited for Manitoba, she said. Although W434 is slightly taller (four cm) than Falcon, it is stronger strawed. It also matures one day later than Falcon. W434 also meets the quality standard for the CWRW class.

“It certainly seems to be well adapted to the eastern Prairies – Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan,” Graf said in a recent interview. “In that area of the Prairies it has been about four per cent higher yielding than CDC Falcon.”

Agronomically W434 performed as well as check varieties. It’s rated intermediate (I) for leaf and stem rust resistance and MR for bunt.

“It’s certainly the first winter wheat in Canada ever that combines leaf and stem rust resistance with bunt resistance,” Graf said.

Most spring wheats have good resistance to bunt, a fungal dis-

ease that causes a fishy odour making the grain undesirable for milling and baking.

Growing bunt-susceptible wheats could see more outbreaks of the disease, Graf said.

“With 434 we’ve increased protein content and a good-quality package,” Graf said. “I don’t see why farmers wouldn’t switch to it. There are no negatives to switching.”

Before a new western Canadian wheat variety is registered, it’s assessed to see if it meets disease, agronomic and quality standards of its intended class. In the mid-1990s, a number of new winter wheats with improved agronomic and disease tolerance characteristics were registered and placed in the CWRW class even though they didn’t meet the quality standard to encourage farmers to grow winter wheat, Worden said.

With the creation of the CWGP Aug. 1, 2008 it’s appropriate to move the non-select winter wheats to the class they would be placed in now if they were registered, he said.

The CWGP class was created for high-yielding wheats suitable for feeding livestock or ethanol production, but not necessarily for milling and baking. As a result, wheats destined for the class are not required to meet any quality standard.

The next step in the process occurs in April when the Western Grain Standards Committee will meet to consider proposed grading changes to the CWRW class, GCG commissioner Cam Dahl said.

The minimum protein content being proposed for all No. 1 and 2 CWRW wheat is 11 per cent. That’s the protein content required now for winter wheat to make the “select” designation.

A new No. 3 grade would be created for CWRW wheat that’s under 11 per cent protein, or downgraded for a number of different reasons.

“The intent is to have these grade changes and standards changes in place for Aug. 1, 2011,” Dahl said.

“The goal is to have a single milling class of wheat with a particular standard.” [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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