New winter wheats offer disease resistance, straw strength

AAC Goldrush won’t come to the market until 2019 but will offer better winter hardiness and improved resistance to stripe and leaf rust

Winter wheat is not winning the cereal race in Western Canada, shifting from seven percent in 2008 to just two last season.

However, genetic choices continue to expand, which could cause growers to reconsider what they grow.

The shift to Canadian Western Red Winter, now 91 percent of the total winter wheat acres along with nine percent specialty, means farmers have spoken about what they want to grow for the time being.

Plant breeder Rob Graf of Agriculture Canada in Lethbridge told farmers attending the winter cereals meeting during Crop Week in Saskatoon that new tools are on the way.

CHC Chase from Canterra came out last year, aimed at replacing Moats with improved straw strength.

Many farmers like Buteo, with its high test weights and 10 percent more yield in Saskatchewan. The variety is resistant to leaf and stem rusts and has moderate resistance to stripe rust. It is susceptible to bunt and moderately to fusarium head blight.

AAC Elevate from Secan will find its way to fields this year and is aimed at replacing Radiant, one of its parents.

Elevate inherits Radiant’s straw strength, and although its test weights are less than Buteo, it has Radiant’s large seed trait.

It is also moderately resistant to stem rust and bunt, intermediate to leaf rust and fusarium, moderately susceptible to stripe rust and resistant to leaf curl mite. It yields 106 percent of Buteo.

Next season, Secan’s AAC Wildfire will join the market. At 116 percent of Buteo’s yield, it is just as winter hardy with better straw strength, although less than Radiant. It has a slightly longer season than most of the prairie stalwarts.

As well, it is resistant to stripe rust, moderately so for fusarium and bunt and has intermediate resistance to leaf rust.

It is susceptible to stem rust, likely keeping it out of the eastern Prairies. Test weights are between Buteo and Radiant. It also tolerates Russian wheat aphids.

AAC Goldrush from FP Genetics will come to the Prairies in 2019 as a potential Buteo replacement with 116 percent of yield, tough winter hardiness, stronger straw, Radiant test weight and equal seed size.

Its resistance to stripe and leaf rust, moderate resistance to stem rust and intermediate resistance to stripe rust and fusarium make this an attractive variety. Susceptibility to bunt is its Achilles heel.

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