Last year’s COVID-related restrictions challenged plant breeders across the West.
Nonetheless, pedigreed seed growers and commercial grain growers will have access to new and improved plant varieties.
In a Seed Talk Series presentation hosted by the Saskatchewan Seed Growers Association (SSGA) on Feb. 11, seed growers and grain farmers learned that numerous new crop lines will be brought forward for potential variety registration at year’s Prairie Grain Development Committee meetings slated for Feb. 22-25.
From the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre, plant breeders are expected to seek registration support for more than a dozen new crop lines, including one new feed barley line, two new milling oat lines, three new high-yielding Canadian Western red spring wheat lines, two new high-yielding durums, two yellow field pea lines, one green pea line and four new chickpea lines, among others.
Bunyamin Tar’an, who leads the CDC’s chickpea- and flax-breeding programs, summarized the new crop lines likely to be submitted.
In non-durum wheat, the CDC will propose three new CWRS candidates, each offering significant yield improvements over the check variety Carberry.
All three lines were developed by CDC wheat breeder Pierre Hucl.
The new CWRS lines — PT5003, BW1085 and BW5062 — “all (offer) very strong yields compared to Carberry,” Tar’an said.
In pre-registration trials, PT5003 yielded 14 percent higher than Carberry, BW1085 yielded nine percent higher and BW5062 was eight percent higher.
All three lines also offer beneficial characteristics ranging from better fusarium head blight (FHB) and DON ratings, to genes that allow for improved in-crop weed control.
In durum, breeder Curtis Pozniak has two promising new lines — DT1012 and DT1014.
DT1012 was described as a semi-dwarf durum line with higher yield potential than Strongfield and Navigator and improved disease resistance.
DT1014 offered a five percent yield bump over Strongfield in pre-registration trials and showed improved FHB and DON reactions.
In pulses, the field pea program headed by Tom Warkentin is expected to bring forward two yellow pea lines and one green pea line, Tar’an said.
The yet-to-be-named yellow pea lines — experimental numbers 4947-2 and 4900-13 — demonstrated good yield potential compared to the yellow check variety CDC Amarillo.
“These two (lines) have very high yielding potential in the north and south growing regions … with the average (yield) about seven to nine percent higher…” than Amarillo, Tar’an said.
In pre-registration trials, both lines demonstrated similar days to maturity as Amarillo, similar lodging scores and improved seed breakage scores, he said.
From Tar’an’s chickpea program, four new chickpea lines are expected to seek PGDC support, including a large kabuli line that will set a new standard for seed size.
“This is one of the largest kabulis available, so about 10 to 11 millimetres seed size,” with a similar ascochyta rating, he said.
Richard Cuthbert, an Agriculture Canada wheat breeder base at Swift Current, Sask., offered a sneak peek at the new Agriculture Canada lines seeking registration support.
They include an early maturing, midge tolerant CWRS line — PT495 — that offers a five percent yield boost over Carberry.
This line “matures five days earlier than Carberry so the yield might not shock you but the maturity likely should,” Cuthbert said.
“That’s not an easy thing to achieve — to have a positive yield increase and an earlier maturity.”
In the Canadian Prairie spring red (CPSR) class, three new Ag Canada lines are expected to be put forward.
HY2090 is a non-Sm1 CPSR line from breeder Harpinder Randhawa’s program at Lethbridge. In pre-registration trials, it yielded six percent higher than Penhold, 18 percent higher than Carberry and had an MR rating for FHB;
HY2095 is a midge-tolerant Sm1 CPSR line from Cuthbert’s program at Swift Current. It offers a nine
percent yield bump over Penhold and a remarkable 29 percent yield bump over Carberry.
HY 2096, another a midge-tolerant Sm1 line from Cuthbert’s program yielded six percent over Penhold and 23 percent over Carberry in pre-registration testing. Plant height was 12 centimetres higher than Penhold but straw strength was described as very strong.
Other Agriculture Canada lines that are expected to seek registration support include:
• W601, a CW red winter wheat line from breeder Rob Graf that has good winter survival and outyielded the mean of CWRW checks by 11 percent;
• DT2005, a CWAD amber durum line from Swift Current breeder Yuefeng Ruan that offers improved FHB reactions and a 2.8 percent yield advantage over Brigade, and;
• DT2009, another CWAD line from Ruan’s program that demonstrated low FHB symptoms and has the potential to become the first CWAD variety with an IR (intermediate) rating to FHB.
Recently registered Ag Canada varieties that are currently being multiplied include:
• AAC Whitehead (FP Genetics) an Sm1 CWHW hard white line by breeder Harpinder Randhawa with a 21 percent yield bump over Snowstar;
• AAC Weyburn (Alliance Seeds), from Ruan’s program, which is the first high-yielding CWAD amber durum variety to offer both midge tolerance and solid stem resistance to the wheat stem sawfly;
• AAC Hodge (FP Genetics) an Sm1 midge tolerant, semi-dwarf CWRS variety by breeder Santosh Kumar
with a strong disease package and a 17 percent yield advantage over Carberry;
• AAC Hockley (FP Genetics) a non-Sm1 CWRS with nine percent yield advantage over Carberry an MR (moderately resistant) rating to FHB.
Cuthbert said AAFC Hockley will be a suitable replacement for AAC Brandon and will used as a check variety in FHB nurseries.
“It won’t have the yield of some of the new Sm1 lines because it doesn’t have that extra protection but if you’re not looking for an Sm1, this could be of interest.”
SSGA’s Seed Talk series is a collection of five on-line informational events related to the province’s pedigreed seed industry.
The third event in the series, scheduled for Feb. 25, will look at pedigreed seed quality, based on lab analysis results from the fall and winter of 2020.