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AAC Brandon No. 1 wheat in Manitoba four years running

MASC’s 2019 Variety Market Share Information lists crop acreages and the percentage of plantings by variety

AAC Brandon remains Manitoba’s ‘Wheat King.’

For the fourth year running AAC Brandon was the most planted red spring wheat insured in Manitoba.

The variety, developed at Swift Current by former Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada wheat breeder Ron DePauw, and distributed by SeCan, was planted on 1.8 million insured red spring wheat acres, accounting for 66 per cent of the total 2.7 million acres of insured red spring wheat sown this spring, the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation’s (MASC) 2019 Variety Market Share Information shows.

MASC’s red spring wheat category covers wheats in Canada’s top milling wheat class — Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS).

Why it matters: Watching variety adoption trends can give growers insight into what other farmers are finding success with, which can help inform their decisions.

As has been the case for a number of years, canola, red spring wheat and soybeans were the three most planted annual field crops in 2019 at 3.2 million, 2.7 million (all wheat 2.93 million) and 1.3 million acres.

Given that AAC Brandon was the most seeded red spring wheat in Manitoba, it’s not surprising it was No. 1 with seed growers in 2019.

AAC Viewfield distributed by FP Genetics, AAC Elie, distributed by Alliance Seed Corporation and Cardale, distributed by Seed Depot, were the next most popular seeded on eight, seven and four per cent of the insured red spring wheat acres.

AAC Brandon was very popular with organic growers accounting for 72 per cent of the 6,700 acres of organic red spring wheat seeded this spring, the report shows.

AAC Brandon is following in the footsteps of one of Western Canada’s most popular CWRS wheats, AC Barrie, says Todd Hyra, SeCan’s business manager for Western Canada.

AC Barrie, also developed by DePauw and commercialized in 1996, jumped to top spot in wheat plantings in the second year of its release. AAC Brandon did too.

AAC Brandon in its first year of release in 2015 accounted for 10 per cent of Manitoba’s insured red spring wheat acres. It went to 38, 56 and 66 per cent in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

In each of those years AAC Brandon had the highest average yield provincially at 55, 70 and 65 bushels an acre, averaging 64 bushels an acre over the three years.

AAC Brandon is also the most planted wheat in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Hyra says it’s because of three factors: consistently high yield and protein potential no matter the environment or geography, its moderate resistance (MR) to fusarium head blight and its short, strong straw, which means less lodging, even with big yields.

“Those three things combined made it successful,” he said.

“It’s going to be a huge hurdle for breeders to beat in terms of its overall performance and agronomic fit from stature and fusarium tolerance.”

Hyra credits DePauw’s penchant for culling new lines of wheat hard.

“If there was any lodging, maturity issues or disease issues, he was throwing material out left and right. It was a very aggressive program to find the one product that Brandon became.”

AAC Brandon did well when it first came out, despite wetter growing conditions, and it performed well in 2018 and 2019 despite dry weather, Hyra added.

To keep developing better wheats western Canadian farmers have to come up with a way to get more money invested into public and private wheat breeding, Hyra said. AAFC plant breeders now don’t have the same resources DePauw had, Hyra said.

Because of its name and its high yield, SeCan thought it only made sense to tie in AAC Brandon’s advertising with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League. The team agreed.

“It has been a fantastic relationship and cool campaign,” Hyra said.

Every so often one wheat variety will dominate the market for several years. While AAC Brandon has led the pack four years in a row, AC Barrie dominated Western Canada for more than a decade.

At its peak AC Barrie made up half the wheat in the CWRS class, Hyra said.

Farmers liked AC Barrie because it consistently yielded well and had good protein levels, which often earned a premium price.

Typically when wheat yields rise, protein falls.

AC Barrie was the most planted insured wheat in Manitoba from 1998 to 2008. By 2012 it was no longer in the top five, MASC data shows.

“I think it’s just that when the right genetics click those things happen,” Hyra said.

Although in its first few years AC Barrie was the yield leader, from 2001 on it wasn’t, yet it remained the most popular variety.

During those years several other varieties had the top yield in Manitoba, but it was always changing until the variety Kane took top spot in 2009 and was among the best yielders.

While AC Barrie might not have been the top-yielding wheat provincially for many years, its consistent performance on yield and protein kept it popular with growers, Hyra said.

While AAC Brandon is tough to beat, Hyra expects AAC Alida VB, a new CWRS wheat SeCan is releasing next spring, will be popular too.

The AAFC variety yields like AAC Brandon and has the same MR rating for fusarium, but when infected with the fungal disease produces less of the toxin DON (deoxynivalenol).

It’s also midge resistant.

“It’s really a nice package,” Hyra said.

For more details

  • The full 2019 Variety Market Share Information report is available online
  • MASC, in co-operation with the Manitoba Co-operator, follows the report up with Yield Manitoba in February providing yield information by variety name, broken down by each risk area, municipality and provincially. The data is searchable at the MASC website.

About the author

Reporter

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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