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Co-Op Lines Get The Thumbs Down

Savvy Grainews readers will recall a story I did not long ago about high yielding wheat varieties. Who am I kidding! With the amount of paper you receive in the mail, I don’t for a minute think that you read every story in every issue. That said, because I had done a little write up on the Western Feed Grain Development Co-op and their high hopes for two new high yielding wheat lines, I waited expectantly to write up news of their approval.

The sad news, for some, is that neither line received approval at the Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale recommendation meetings recently held at Saskatoon, Sask.

Up for review in the General Purpose class, WFT409 and WFT411 have been specifically bred for use in the livestock and ethanol markets. WFT409 yielded less than the checks in the GP class but did out-yield Unity, a Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) wheat by six per cent, according to David Rourke, a director of the co-op. The line also matures earlier than AC Andrew with good shattering resistance but yielded only 95 per cent of that variety. WFT411 has a stronger disease package than WFT409 but was still rejected for registration.

Rourke and the co-op are disappointed, however these two varieties are just the beginning. The co-op will benefit from the recently hired plant breeder Sajjad Rao. “We’ve got crosses with more exotic and novel things that have been made four and five years ago that we think will give us that much higher yield and that better disease package and hopefully (will mature) early,” he says. Members of the co-op can still grow WFT409 and WFT411 in a closed-loop system if they choose. “We have growers in Saskatchewan who are like me that own their feed mills, they own hogs and they’re close to an ethanol plant if they grow more than they need. I know they’ll go ahead with it,” Rourke says.

Lyndsey Smith is editor of Grainews. With files

from Allan Dawson, [email protected]

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