Naming grain varieties can be a challenge.
There are regional names, political names, farmers’ names and names that describe the look or use of the crop. On rare occasions, plant breeders who have produced a significant body of work or game changing varieties will have their names applied. Even more rare is a variety named after a seed industry participant.
Ron Weik is one such individual.
After nearly 50 years in the seed and grain industry, much of it spent ensuring that Canadian farmers get the best quality seed possible, the Regina seed portfolio manager is having an oat variety named in his honour.
For phonetic reasons, the new oat couldn’t be named after him because no farmer wants to be planting weak seed. As a result, the new milling oat will be called CDC Arborg, the rural Manitoba community where he grew up.
Weik’s career started with Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, where he remained until 2003. Since then he has worked for Quality Assured Seeds and FP Genetics in Regina.
“Ron is an individual who has demonstrated a high level of commitment to the seed industry, served on various industry committees and is a strong advocate for the use of certified seed. Ron works effectively with breeding organizations to bring new varieties to the market,” said Kofi Agblor, who runs the Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan where CDC Arborg was created.
Agblor said plant breeders rely on seed industry representatives such as Weik for commercialization.
“The seed industry is the closest stakeholder to plant breeders because it is responsible for seed multiplication, promotion, marketing and distribution.
“The seed industry plays a vital and perhaps irreplaceable role in bringing seed to commercial farmers. Consider that a few hundred kilograms of breeder seed leaves the breeders’ hands and in three years, a few thousand tonnes of certified seed is released for commercial production. All done under protocols that maintain genetic purity and seed quality.”
Weik has served on the Canadian Seed Trade Association’s intellectual property, western cereals and oilseeds, and external relations committees, has attended the past 25 Prairie Grain Development Commission Variety Recommending Committee meetings and served 14 years on the Quality Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale.
He has shepherded popular wheat FP Genetics products AC Harvest and CDC Utmost, oat varieties such as AC Summit and CDC Minstrel and the new rye hybrids that were licensed from KWS.
CDC Arborg is a solid yielder and has good lodging resistance. It is expected to reach farmers and oat processors in 2020.