Farmers hear about new crop lines

Prairie farmers got a sneak preview last week at some of the country’s most promising new agricultural crops.

They included new durum varieties with significantly higher yields, spring wheat lines with improved fusarium tolerance and new high-yielding red lentils expected to outyield check varieties by as much as 10 percent.

The new products, some of which have yet to be registered, were developed by plant breeders at Agriculture Canada and the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre (CDC).

“Everything that’s been (highlighted) is definitely a step forward in that targeted market class,” said Agriculture Canada wheat breeder Richard Cuthbert.

More than 25 new Agriculture Canada varieties were highlighted including 15 that were supported for registration last year and another 11 that will likely be supported this year.

Cuthbert said that in addition to higher yield potential, the new lines offer better plant stature and enhanced disease resistance.

In spring wheat, important strides are being made in terms of fusarium headblight resistance at Agriculture Canada and the CDC.

“I’m optimistic that we’re moving in a direction of better FHB resistance, coupled with better agronomics, so higher yields, better straw strength and an acceptable plant stature that farmers are looking for,” said Cuthbert.

In addition to spring wheat, Agriculture Canada breeders have made important varietal improvements winter wheat, durum, barley and peas.

Two promising new Canadian Western Amber Durum lines are expected to be put forward for registration during next month’s Prairie Grain Development Committee meetings in Saskatoon.

DT862 is a solid stemmed durum variety that yielded 15 percent higher than AC Navigator in pre-registration trials, five percent higher than Strongfield and has stronger straw than all CWAD checks.

The second line, DT863, showed yield improvements of 11 percent and two percent relative to Navigator and Strongfield and had higher grain protein than Strongfield, as well as slightly earlier maturity.

Both lines are from the program of durum breeder Yuefeng Ruan at Swift Current, Sask.

Cuthbert said promising new winter wheat lines, W525 and W526, are also notable in that they offer intermediate resistance to FHB and yield improvements of 15 and 17 percent respectively over CDC Buteo at Saskatchewan test locations.

Products developed by breeders at the CDC were also highlighted.

Those lines included nine wheat varieties that were supported in 2015, three barley varieties, four pea varieties and one oat variety.

Pierre Hucl, a CDC wheat and canaryseed breeder, said at least six new CDC crop lines are likely to be put forward for registration in 2016.

Those lines include a solid stemmed, midge resistant Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) line and a new midge resistant, Clearfield Canada Prairie Spring (CPS) line with yield potential 20 percent higher than 5702PR.

The CDC’s durum program, led by breeder Curtis Pozniak, has also spawned some promising new products, including three that were registered in 2015.

CDC Dynamic has a solid stem, denoting improved resistance to wheat stem sawfly damage, and yielded nine percent higher than Strongfield in pre-registration trials. CPS Canada holds distribution rights.

CDC Precision yielded 16 percent higher than Strongfield in pre-registration tests and had an average protein rating 0.6 percent higher than Brigade. Distribution rights are held by Alliance Seed.

CDC Alloy will be distributed by FP Genetics. It offers a 12 percent yield advantage over Strongfield.

A complete list of new varieties from Ag Canada and the CDC can be downloaded here. (PDF format)

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