AC Harvest top choice for wheat growers

Canada Western Red Spring wheat | More than 1.5 million acres of AC Harvest were seeded in 2013

A new wheat king has been crowned in Western Canada.

According to provincial crop insurance data, AC Harvest was the most popular Canada Western Red Spring wheat variety last year.

It was planted on more than 1.5 million acres, or 12 percent of total CWRS plantings.

The Agriculture Canada variety was especially popular among Alberta growers, who planted more than 800,000 acres last spring.

Saskatchewan production was 340,000 acres, while Manitoba farmers grew 360,000 acres.

AC Harvest was followed closely by Carberry (1.2 million acres), Lillian (1.1 million acres) and Stettler (900,000 acres).

Carberry was the most popular variety in Manitoba with 830,000 acres, while Unity was tops in Sask-atchewan with 705,000 acres and Stettler was No. 1 in Alberta with 840,000 acres.

AC Harvest was developed by wheat breeders at Agriculture Canada’s Cereal Research Centre in Winnipeg.

It produced slightly lower protein levels than the CWRS check, AC Barrie, but yields were two to four percent higher, based on information contained in last year’s provincial seed guides.

The variety matures about a day earlier than Barrie and has very good resistance to sprouting.

Carberry was developed by Agriculture Canada wheat breeders in Swift Current, Sask., and was registered for commercial production in September 2009.

Certified seed was not available to commercial grain growers until 2012, but it has emerged as the most popular CWRS variety in Manitoba over the past two growing seasons.

Ag Canada wheat breeder Richard Cuthbert said Carberry’s popularity in Manitoba is largely because of its high yield potential and strong agronomic package.

“I think producers are really attracted to the strong straw and the shorter plant type, and it’s also had very good threshability, so farmers have been able to cover a lot of acres quickly with it,” Cuthbert said.

“It also lends well to intensive management systems, so you’re able to push the nutrients on Carberry and really push the yields quite a bit.”

He said there were numerous re-ports last year about Carberry yields exceeding 80 bushels per acre.

The variety also has a moderately resistant rating against fusarium head blight and protein levels only slightly below AC Barrie.

Yields have been three to 12 percent higher than AC Barrie in Saskatchewan trials conducted over the past three years, depending on regional conditions.

Protein was .1 percent lower than Barrie.

Western Canadian farmers insured nearly 20 million acres of wheat in 2013. Of that, 12.9 million acres, or 65 percent, was CWRS.

Amber durum was planted on 3.7 million acres, or 19 percent of insured wheat acres.

Canada Prairie Spring and Canada Western Red Winter each accounted for one million acres, or five percent each.

CPS acreage appears to be increasing in Western Canada.

Based on data from CWB’s 2011 variety survey, 2.1 percent of Western Canada’s total wheat acreage was planted to Canada Prairie Spring Red varieties.

Based on crop insurance data, CPS acreage accounted for five percent of Western Canada’s total wheat acreage last year, or 1.07 million acres.

CWB estimated CWRS acreage at 73.5 percent of total western Canadian wheat acreage in 2011.

In 2013, crop insurance data pegged CWRS plantings at 65 percent of total acreage, or 12.9 million acres.

A complete list of insured varieties can be viewed on the Canadian Grain Commission’s website.