Approvals expected soon | Lines resist wheat stem sawfly and orange blossom wheat midge
Durum producers could soon have access to new varieties that offer resistance to the wheat stem sawfly and orange blossom wheat midge.
The two tiny pests can have a huge impact on farm profits.
Growers attending Crop Production Week in Saskatoon last week learned that two new solid-stemmed durum lines are nearing commercial registration.
DT818 was supported for registration last year and is expected to receive approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s variety registration office in the next few weeks.
If approved, it would be the first solid stemmed durum variety registered for commercial production in Canada.
Certified supplies will be distributed through SeCan’s network of pedigreed seed growers and should be available for widespread commercial planting in spring 2015.
Danny Singh, a wheat breeder who developed the line at Agriculture Canada’s Semiarid Prairie Agriculture Research Centre in Swift Current, Sask., said the commercialization of solid stemmed varieties could significantly affect durum yields and profitability.
“For traditional durum growing regions, (DT818) would probably be a very good fit, given its production (potential) and its protection of grade and yield through disease and insect resistance,” Singh said.
Data collected during pre-registration testing and co-op trials suggested a good expression of stem solidness, grain yields similar to Strongfield, protein levels as high or slightly higher than Strongfield and intermediate straw height, similar to Strongfield.
Agronomic performance similar to Strongfield suggests DT818 could have a bright future in Western Canada.
According to the most recent data collected through CWB’s annual variety survey, Strongfield was easily the most popular durum variety grown in Western Canada, accounting for nearly two-thirds of total prairie acreage in 2011.
DT818 also has an impressive disease resistance package, with good resistance to leaf and stem rust, resistance to common bunt and resistance to leaf spot comparable to Strongfield. It also has an improved resistance to common root rot and stripe rust relative to Strongfield.
Stripe rust is a cereal disease that has become more prevalent across the Prairies in recent years.
“Overall, it has a good disease package to go along with insect resistance,” said Singh.
The University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre (CDC) is also expected to seek registration support for a promising new solid stemmed durum line at this year’s Prairie Grain Development Committee meetings in Saskatoon.
The other line is DT570,which has maturity ratings similar to Strongfield and a slightly improved fusarium rating relative to Strongfield.
“It looks like it has a pretty good quality profile,” said CDC wheat breeder Pierre Hucl, who spoke about the line during a presentation to Saskatchewan Seed Growers last week.
In pre-registration tests, DT570 yielded five percent higher than Strongfield, he added.
Commercial supplies of DT570 could be available within two or three years if it is supported for registration next month.
The development of solid-stemmed durum varieties could have huge economic implications for prairie durum producers.
The crop is planted on three to four million acres in Saskatchewan every year. Most of that production takes place in southern Saskatchewan, but it extends to central and northwest regions as well.
Losses from sawfly damage are hard to gauge, but previous studies have reported an estimated yield loss of up to 10 percent in spring wheat varieties.
Additional losses associated with management practices, grade losses and other factors pushed total losses to $10 an acre.
Singh said it would be reasonable to assume similar losses in durum.
“The prevalence and the damage caused by the sawfly varies from year to year, but it’s an insect that’s been around for a long time so having an opportunity for producers … (to grow a solid stemmed variety) … is a good option for them.”
Todd Hyra, SeCan’s western Canadian business manager, said the solidness of DT818 stems appears to be greater than that of solid stemmed spring wheat varieties already on the market.
“The solidness of the (DT818) stem was excellent,” he said.
“The plants that we were pulling and looking at over the course of the summer were solid from top to bottom, so that should provide excellent sawfly tolerance.”
Singh’s program at Swift Current has also developed a midge-tolerant durum line, DT833.
If it is supported by the PGDC next month, DT833 would be the first midge tolerant durum registered in Western Canada.
Dave Gehl, head of Agriculture Canada’s seed increase unit at Indian Head, Sask., said DT833 has yield potential, maturity and height similar to Strongfield.
The line also has high grain protein and very good yellow pigment, better than Strongfield.
Other notable crop lines that are likely to be brought forward as candidates for commercial registration this year include:
- HY1615, a midge-tolerant Canada Prairie Red Spring line with improved resistance to fusarium head blight developed at Agriculture Canada’s Cereal Research Centre in Winnipeg.
- MP1891, MP1892 and MP1900, three yellow field pea lines from Agriculture Canada’s research centre in Lacombe, Alta., with yield potential nine to 18 percent higher than yellow check varieties CDC Cutlass and Golden.
- 3592-12 and 3674-20, a pair of small green lentil lines developed at the CDC with yield potential 10 percent and 17 percent higher than CDC Maxim, respectively.
For a complete list of new lines identified as registration candidates this year, visit www.producer.com and search for new varieties.