New wheat on horizon

Western Canada’s newest cereal breeding program could bring its first new wheat variety to market within the next two to four years.

Jim Peterson, vice-president of research with Limagrain Cereals Research Canada (LCRC), said the new Saskatoon-based breeding program already has germplasm in the pipeline that is close to being commercialized.

Experimental lines are being assessed to determine where they might fit into the Canadian wheat classification system

“We have some materials that are coming in and we’re looking at where they might fit into the new wheat classification system,” Peterson said. “We think we have some opportunities to move some (products) within the next two, three, four years into the market.”

LCRC was formally announced in July 2015. It is a joint venture breeding program that involves Canterra Seeds and Limagrain, a France-based farmer-owned co-operative.

The company recently hired a senior cereal breeder from Australia and is looking for candidates to fill two additional research positions, said LCRC chief executive officer Erin Armstrong.

Peterson said the program is well on its way to making new cereal grain varieties available to Canadian farmers.

Through a previous agreement with Canterra, Limagrain has been testing experimental wheat lines in Canada for the past four years and has an established field program.

In addition to its operations in Europe, Limagrain has an established cereal breeding program in the United States and recently formed programs in Argentina and Brazil as well as Canada.

“The Canadian program is an extension of global growth in cereals research at Limagrain,” Peterson said. “They’ve moved well be-yond their European home and are trying to truly build a global cereals operation that can be flexible and can complement each other and bring resources to the table for local conditions.”

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