AIM crop plots offer show and tell

Growers had the opportunity to grill breeders and dealers on new canola, soybean and wheat varieties

LANGHAM, Sask. — Seed was a hot item for farmers attending last week’s Ag in Motion farm show near Langham.

With more than 100 acres of breeder, input and dealer plots, the show gave producers a lot of choices to consider, and their interests pointed to some industry trends.

Al VanCaeseele of Brett Young said plots at the show site allowed growers to get a good look at the varieties and hybrids that they will be seeing next year and a few years from now.

“Farmers are asking a lot about where Elite’s breeding program is headed with shorter season soybeans and what our canolas are going to look like in the near future,” he said.

For that company, the new tolerance for blackleg races is now “table stakes” and has to be genetically packaged with improved standability and clubroot resistance, said VanCaeseele.

Soybeans garnered a lot of attention at the event: plots with that crop were as common as wheat and canola.

“We are getting a lot of attention with the 000 (rated) varieties,” he said about three experimental plots the company had along side two of its current ones: Arkas, a 2,375 heat unit variety, and Notus, a 2,300 variety.

“Arkas has very good pod height,” he said. “Growers have been asking for that as they start trying soybeans on their farms for the first times.”

While growers asked a lot questions about canola and beans, it might have been wheat that stole the show.

That’s because wheat is back, again. The once king of prairie crops had seen its title eroded in recent years as canola and pulse crops became the profit rotations of choice and fungal infections and herbicide resistance grew.

With prices touching on $10 per bushel, producers attending AIM were looking for more opportunities with the cereal and found them.

Rod Merryweather of FP Genetics said his company had “our seven or eight people busy non-stop all three days.… A lot of it was around wheat and what is coming.”

Fusarium head blight is on every producer’s mind in Western Canada, and spring varieties with improved resistance to that disease and orange wheat blossom midge received a lot of attention.

He said FP’s CDC Landmark VB is the first semi-dwarf Canadian Western Red Spring variety with midge tolerance, good standability, high test weight and protein content. It also has an intermediate rating for fusarium and a semi-solid stem for improved sawfly tolerance.

“And it out-yields Carberry (the check) by more than 10 percent (in Saskatchewan trials),” he said.

“Landmark is getting the most notice from producers at the show, for us.… Shorter is a trend, especially hearing that from the Alberta farmers.”

FP’s AAC Viewfield, like Landmark, is a semi-dwarf and appears on the market for next spring. It has yielded more than 115 percent of Carberry in Alberta.

Todd Hyra of seed company Secan confirmed that wheat is the new black.

“Improved prices and need for some rotations that pay are putting it back out-front.”

He said producers showed a lot interest in Secan’s BW1025, still not registered, a CWRS with 111 percent of Carberry’s yield that is midge tolerant and moderate-to-resistant of fusarium head blight.

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