Since 2011 there has been an increase in the frequency of registration of new oat varieties, says Dr. Aaron Beattie, professor and oat breeder at the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre (CDC). Breeding programs continue to focus on increasing yields and improving disease resistance. They’re also trying to address the needs of millers who are demanding plumper, better quality oat grains and higher beta-glucan content.
New in the pipeline
FP Genetics will release milling varieties CDC Ruffian and AAC Justice in 2017. Both are high yielding. AAC Justice has better crown rust resistance, whereas CDC Ruffian is less suited for areas such as Manitoba where crown rust is more prevalent. They join CDC Minstrel, another good yielding variety compared to older varieties, which also offers a good disease package and milling yield. CDC Minstrel has been tested by millers and looks set to be added to their acceptable list of oat milling varieties. “It’s a nice variety,” says Beattie. “It’s got some good straw strength to it and higher milling yields, and offers a bump in yield compared to some of the older varieties out there, depending where it’s being grown.”
Summit (also available through FP Genetics) is another recent oat variety which is also going through initial testing with millers. “Based on the initial testing from the registration, Summit looks like it’s also a higher yielding variety with an improvement in milling yields as well,” says Beattie.
Canterra Seeds offers CDC Morrison, a high quality milling variety which is grown on a closed-loop, identity preserved contract basis for Quaker Oats. “It’s a milling variety with very high beta-glucan, which is the compound in oats that’s associated with the heart health benefit,” says Beattie. There is a, however, a yield penalty. “With the closed loop system, growers are paid a premium to compensate for that yield deficit. There was a big increase this past summer in terms of acreage that was contracted and I think the plan is to try to bump that up even further next summer.”
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Canterra Seeds introduced Triactor, a high yielding milling variety with improved lodging resistance some time ago, but it recently got some interest from an end user who believes it has great quality potential, says Cosmin Badea, cereals product development co-ordinator with Canterra. The company also has a third variety, CS Camden, which was developed through its internal R&D program. CS Camden has a shorter stature to provide even better lodging resistance and improved quality characteristics, such as more plumpness and higher levels of beta-glucan.
Independent oat breeder, Jim Dyck of Oat Advantage east of Saskatoon, has developed two new varieties — OT6008 and OT6009 — which have been supported for registration and will be marketed by SeCan. They should be commercially available to growers in 2019. “Now more than ever, milling companies want an oat with plump, heavy grain, so it’s not just about yield, it’s also about yield and milling quality, and I’ve focused a lot in my breeding program on how to achieve that,” says Dyck.
SeCan has a number of different milling and forage oat varieties including AC Morgan, which is the most widely grown milling variety in Saskatchewan and Alberta. It also has a tan hull variety, CDC Big Brown, which is resistant to smut and crown rust and is on the accepted list at Richardson Milling. Its forage variety, CDC Haymaker, launched in 2015, is intended to be cut as a green feed. CDC Norseman, available for 2018, offers excellent grain quality and a white hull with a solid agronomic package.
“I expect the oat portfolio available from SeCan to change quickly with the launch of new products,” says Todd Hyra, business manager, Western Canada for SeCan. “AC Morgan has been a cornerstone in our oat lineup for a long time, strong straw and consistent yields have made it a tough product to beat. For a new variety to be successfully it has to offer the customer an improvement over what they have been growing. CDC Norseman will have improved milling quality that should speed uptake by end users. The new lines from Jim Dyck offer a plump kernel, with AC Morgan yield potential with an earlier maturity and stronger straw. This is something we and oat growers have been waiting for.”
Consult your provincial seed guide for details about oat variety performance in your area.