Two new high-protein milling wheats from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), AAC Wheatland VB and AAC Starbuck VB, outyield Western Canada’s most popular wheat by six to eight per cent, according to variety-registration trials.
Both are in the premium Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) class. Certified seed will be available to western Canadian farmers through SeCan members for planting next spring, says Todd Hyra, SeCan’s business manager for Western Canada.
“Both look very good from an agronomic perspective and should offer all of Western Canada a good fit, but they have been performing very well in Manitoba in particular,” Hyra said in an interview Sept. 29.
“We’ve had seed growers say they are seeing pretty regularly five to 10 per cent (higher yield) over Brandon, which is kind of crazy when you know how consistent Brandon has been.
“Because Brandon has been around for a while and everybody has been kind of saying ‘what’s the next one?’ I think they’ll move well, there is a good supply available, but I wouldn’t necessarily wait (to buy).”
AAC Brandon, a CWRS wheat commercialized seven years ago, has been the most-planted wheat across Western Canada the last five years, Hyra said.
Brandon dominates the Manitoba market, accounting for an average of 1.13 million acres — 47.5 per cent of the province’s wheat acres — for the last five years (2019-2015), according to crop insurance records.
During that period Brandon averaged 62.5 bushels an acre in yield — seven per cent more than the provincial red spring wheat average of 58.4.
“They (Wheatland and Starbuck) are high yielding, they’re short, strong straw, they both have very good disease packages — Starbuck being the better of the two from the fusarium perspective (with a moderately resistant rating), and then on top of all this the added bonus, they are midge resistant.” Hyra said.
AAC Wheatland VB has an ‘intermediate’ rating for Fusarium head blight.
To protect the Sm1 gene providing the resistance to Orange Blossom Wheat Midge, AAC Wheatland VB and AAC Starbuck VB contain a blend of 10 per cent AAC Brandon, which is susceptible to midge larva which can damage wheat kernels reducing yield and quality.
In addition, farmers growing these two new wheats will have to agree to only plant saved seed once and then buy new certified seed to ensure there’s sufficient refuge in the mix so as to delay the onset of midge resistance to the protective gene.
“We have been stewarding this (midge-resistant) trait now for 10 years and this allows us to keep moving forward,” Hyra said.