New cereal seed varieties for 2018

This year’s crop of varieties are all about fighting fusarium and increasing crop yields

New cereal seed varieties for 2018

You only need to take a quick look at this list to see that seed companies are responding to farmers’ needs.

Fusarium continues to be a problem across the Prairies (where there isn’t a drought). On July 13, 2017, farmers across most of Manitoba were facing a red zone on the fusarium head blight (FHB) risk map (showing an extreme risk of fusarium, based on weather conditions).

Many farmers who lived in areas where fusarium wasn’t an issue in 2017 have seen what the disease can do, and are interested in resistant seed. Fusarium-tolerant seed won’t do the whole job on its own, as is stated in the notes for FP Genetics’ new CDC Landmark VB. That seed is rated “intermediate” with respect to its resistance to FHB, but farmers who choose this seed as one part of an integrated pest management plan (including maintaining recommended rotations and spraying when necessary), should have fewer FHB problems.

(NOTE: for an explanation of VB, please see ‘Decoding VB’ further down the page. For an explanation of abbreviations used on the disease resistance scale, please see ‘On the scale’ further down the page)

On July 13, farmers across most of Manitoba were facing a red zone on the fusarium risk map (showing an extreme risk of fusarium, based on weather conditions). photo: Manitoba Agriculture

Another feature that’s mentioned in several of these varieties is short straw. But by far the most common claim attached to these new varieties is the promise of increased yield.

Here are the new cereal varieties hitting the market for the first time in 2018.

Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS) varieties

Canterra Seeds: AAC Connery is an awnless, semi-dwarf CWRS wheat variety that combines early maturity with the benefits of short, strong straw. It is suitable for high-input farm management, as well as irrigation. Its superior disease resistance package to rusts and FHB makes it broadly adaptable across the Prairies. AAC Connery has excellent milling and baking quality.

FP Genetics: CDC Landmark VB – This CWRS variety is wheat midge tolerant with top in-class yield (113 per cent of the variety checks). It’s intermediate to FHB, a strong base for a fusarium integrated pest management plan.

AAC Viewfield – This CWRS variety is semi-dwarf, the shortest CWRS variety available. It’s high yielding, up to 117 per cent of variety checks. It’s intermediate to FHB and has good sprouting resistance for high grain quality.

Proven Seed: CDC Hughes VB is high yielding with short straw and low lodging scores. With partially-solid stems, and midge and stripe rust resistance, CDC Hughes offers a solution to a number of pests. Available at Crop Production Services.

Syngenta: SY Slate is a new, early-maturing CWRS variety with high yield potential, high protein and an excellent quality profile. SY Slate also includes a strong disease package with good tolerance to all major rusts and fusarium.

SY Sovite is a new, high-yielding CWRS variety that has an excellent quality profile and provides very good tolerance to fusarium and foliar diseases — including all rusts and leaf spots. SY Sovite is available at Richardson retail locations.

Corn varieties

BrettYoung: E44H12 R is BrettYoung’s earliest dual-purpose hybrid with 2100 CHU for grain. E44H12 R is a VT Double PRO RIB Complete hybrid for pest protection in a medium-height plant that delivers consistent, high yields. E44H12 delivers exceptional spring vigour in a hybrid that has excellent bushel weight for grain and very good quality and stock strength for silage and grain in the lower heat unit production areas.

Croplan: 1756VT2P/RIB has a 77-day maturity rating and 2350 CHU. It is a fixed-ear hybrid requiring medium to high populations and is a medium-stature plant with a medium flowering date for its maturity rating. Strong roots and test weight combine with good standability and staygreen.

184RR has an 80-day maturity rating and 2450 CHU. This is a flint-dent hybrid for cool, early-maturity areas. A tall, aggressive-growing hybrid, 184RR has excellent silage yield potential and a large, flex ear for wide adaptation to all soils and populations.

2587VT2P/RIB has an 85-day maturity rating and 2625 CHU. This seed is fit for multiple soil types with above-average staygreen and average stalk integrity. It has a good disease tolerance and an open husk for quick drydown.

2845VT2P/RIB has an 88-day maturity rating and 2675 CHU. This hybrid has high-yield-potential across all soil types and environments. It exhibits excellent heat stress tolerance along with great tolerance to cool or short growing seasons. It flowers early with fast drydown and has optimum performance with higher management. It also has excellent silage yield potential.

MAISEX: MZ 1340DBR – This grain corn variety has the VT DoublePro trait and 2150 CHU (73RM). It is an ultra-early flowering hybrid with exceptional grain quality and test weight. It has industry-leading early season vigour adapted for short seasons. Open husks at maturity aid rapid grain drydown. Responds to increased population. Adapted in and north of its maturity zone.

MS6902R – This Roundup Ready 2 silage corn variety has 1950 CHU (69RM). It has unmatched combination of maturity and yield, with leading performance for early silage. It has Large, girthy ears with soft kernel texture for increased starch availability. The large robust plant has wide leaves that maximize tonnage. White cobs increase feed palatability.

MS 7420R – This RR2 silage corn has 2300 CHU (74RM). It is aggressive. Strong seedling vigour develops large, robust plants. Its large ears have kernels with soft texture to increase digestbility. White cobs increase feed palatablity.

MS 8088R – This Agrisure GT silage variety has 2400 CHU (80RM). Its strong stalks allow flexible harvest. It has large ears for increased starch quantity. The tall, robust plant increases tonnage. Performance excels in low- and high-yield environments.

LF 9066SMX – This SmartStax silage variety has 2600 CHU (90RM). It is ideal for continuous corn acres. It has a combination of yield and digestibility in the early season. Strong early vigour develops into extremely large, robust plants. Impressive plant health protects yield potential.

(NOTE: For an explanation of RIB, please see ‘Corn traits and the RIB’ further down.)

Durum varieties

Canterra SeedAAC Congress has improved yield over the current varieties on the market. It has superior end-use quality, such as high pigment concentration, as well as low semolina ash. It has excellent resistance to stripe and stem rusts. More notably, while having the same level of FHB resistance as the current durum varieties, it expresses a lower DON accumulation in grain.

FP Genetics: CDC Alloy – This durum variety is top of class in yield, with 114 per cent of variety checks. It has a comprehensive disease package and shorter straw for improved standability.

Proven Seed: CDC Carbide VB is a new high-yielding, early-maturing, midge-resistant Canadian Western Amber Durum wheat from Proven Seed, with R ratings for stem and leaf rust. Available at Crop Production Services.

SeCan: AAC Cabri is a high-yielding durum with solid stem for sawfly protection. Yield averages 108 per cent of AC Strongfield (in the 2010 to 2013 Registration Trials), three cm taller and similar straw strength to AC Strongfield.


Canterra Seed: CS Camden is a white milling oat with very high yield potential. Its shorter stature confers excellent lodging resistance over the current varieties. CS Camden has great quality attributes such as high beta-glucan content and plump kernels and has been approved by the milling industry. Its high biomass makes it a very good option for the farmers looking for a silage oat.

SeCan: CDC Norseman is a white-hulled milling oat that is currently under market development evaluation. Registration data shows excellent milling quality. Yield is 102 per cent of AC Morgan, MR to crown rust, three days earlier than AC Morgan, with similar plant height.


Canterra: AAC Connect is a two-row malt barley with significant yield and agronomic improvement over the current popular varieties. Also, this variety has improved standability due to its shorter, stronger straw. AAC Connect has the best FHB resistance in its class, as well as good stem rust resistance. Having a similar malt quality to AC Metcalfe, this variety is a great option for the maltsters and brewers in need of a product for the adjunct brewing market.

SeCan: CDC Bow has the strongest straw available in a two-row malt barley. Yield is 109 per cent of AC Metcalfe (2011 to 2012 Registration Trials), maturity similar to AC Metcalfe, with lower grain protein than AC Metcalfe. Ask your domestic maltsters about the potential for a identity preserved contract for 2018.

Soft white wheat varieties

SeCan: AAC Indus VB is a soft white wheat with improved yield and milling quality. Yield is 105 per cent of AC Andrew, with three days later maturity and six cm taller. AAC Indus VB is midge tolerant and is paired with AC Andrew as a refuge. The variety fits traditional soft white milling markets, works well for ethanol, and its excellent straw strength makes it a great fit for silage production.

Special purpose wheat varieties

SeCan: KWS Alderon is a high-yielding special purpose wheat originally from the UK. Yield is 129 per cent of AC Carberry CWRS, 103 per cent of Pasteur special purpose wheat. A great fit for feed, ethanol or silage. KWS Alderon has very short, exceptionally strong straw that allows it to handle high inputs for maximum yield potential.

KWS Charing VB is a high-yielding special purpose wheat originally from the UK. Yield is 129 per cent of AC Carberry CWRS, 103 per cent of Pasteur special purpose wheat. A great fit for feed, ethanol or silage. KWS Charing VB is midge tolerant. KWS Charing has exceptionally strong straw that allows it to handle high inputs for maximum yield potential.

KWS Sparrow VB is a high-yielding special purpose wheat originally from the UK. Yield is 132 per cent of AC Carberry CWRS, 106 per cent of Pasteur special purpose wheat. A great fit for feed, ethanol or silage. KWS Sparrow VB is midge tolerant. KWS Sparrow VB has exceptionally strong straw that allows it to handle high inputs for maximum yield potential.

Spelt varieties

SeedNet: 11Spelt11 – This variety is a high-yielding, earlier-maturing spelt with shorter straw and better lodging resistance.

Decoding VB

The wheat varieties whose names include “VB” are midge-tolerant varieties, sold as a “varietal blend” of two varieties. The main variety will make up 90 per cent of the seed and will contain the midge-tolerant gene Sm1. The other 10 per cent of the seed will be a non-midge-tolerant variety. The blending is done at the breeder stage of pedigreed seed production.

Using blended varieties creates what is called an “interspersed refuge system.” This system is designed to protect the effectiveness of the midge-tolerant gene. Most midge can’t survive the midge-tolerant wheat — the Sm1 gene causes the larvae to stop feeding and starve to death. However, in the midge population, some midge will be immune to the Sm1 gene (these are called virulent wheat midge). If every plant in the field carried the Sm1 gene, soon these virulent midge in the field would be mating with each other, creating a new population that would be immune to the Sm1 technology. Researchers say this could make the midge-tolerant wheat technology ineffective in 10 years.

Keeping some non-virulent midge in the population helps to prevent that change, drawing out the useful life of the gene. This can be done by keeping a refuge of 10 per cent non-Sm1 wheat in the field for them to eat.

Over generations, the proportion of the seed blend in the VB wheat will change. After a year with particularly high midge damage, the refuge variety could make up a much smaller percentage than 10 per cent of the seed.

To keep VB blends in check, when you buy VB wheat, you’ll need to sign a stewardship agreement and agree not to use your farm-saved seed from midge-tolerant varieties for more than one generation past certified seed.

Corn traits and the RIB

Prairie wheat growers planting new midge-tolerant seed are getting used to varietal blends, that include a variety that can act as a refuge for wheat midge that are not tolerant to the Sm1 gene.

Meanwhile, corn growers have been dealing with the concept of including refuge for years. The RIB shown in the variety description notes that the variety includes a “refuge in a bag,” meaning that the bag of corn seed includes a small amount of a second variety with different traits. Throughout the U.S., there are different refuge requirements depending on the variety you’re growing and the conditions in your area.

This list of new corn varieties includes several different corn traits. Here’s a cheat sheet.

  • Roundup Ready 2: glyphosate tolerant
  • Agrisure: glyphosate tolerant
  • SmartStax: glyphosate and Liberty tolerant
  • VT Double Pro: dual modes of action for protection against corn earworm, European corn borer and fall armyworm.

On the scale

The scale used to rate seed’s resistance to disease has five levels.

  • R: Resistant
  • MR: Moderately resistant
  • I: Intermediate resistance
  • MS: Moderately susceptible
  • S: Susceptible

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