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New oat varieties coming

Make sure you’re growing an oat variety that’s best suited for your local
area and has the disease package you need in the field

When Saskatchewan farmers sit down to select oat varieties, disease resistance will be critical, a crop specialist told farmers at a recent farm show.

Researchers are currently working on developing fusarium resistant oat varieties. Fusarium is usually thought of as a wheat disease, but four fusarium species infected oats in 2011.

“We haven’t got all the 2012 data crunched out yet, but the feeling is the fusarium numbers are probably higher in 2012 than they were in 2011,” said John Ippolito, regional crops specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture. Ippolito presented information from the Saskatchewan oat variety trials at Crop Production Week in Saskatoon.

Stem rust is regularly reported in variety trials. Because there is no alternative host in Saskatchewan, the disease must blow up from the United States to infect crops.

“Because of that, quite often we can find that early seeding will avoid a rust problem because the crop is at a sufficient state of maturity before the rust arrives and it’s not hurting yield significantly,” said Ippolito.

Though buckthorn can host crown rust, winds from the United States are the main sources for this disease as well. Eastern Saskatchewan is more vulnerable to both rusts than western regions.

Before 2005, most varieties in Saskatchewan had resistance to crown rust. But new crown rust strains have developed, leaving several varieties with poor or very poor resistance, Ippolito said.

“And then there’s another five or six that have much better resistance, usually because of new genetics.”

Ippolito went through agronomic traits of several varieties, all of which are good for milling.

Oat varieties

In 2012, 800,000 acres of oats were reported grown to Saskatchewan Crop Insurance. AC Morgan accounted for 37 per cent of the acreage in Saskatchewan. Though Morgan is a higher yielding standby, Ippolito said it is susceptible to both rusts, and is better suited to western Saskatchewan than eastern Saskatchewan.

Derby made up about seven per cent of oat acres in 2012, and yields similar to the check. Derby has very poor resistance to both rusts and Ippolito said its popularity is declining.

“There’s a good chance you’d have trouble finding certified seed with it because it’s declined to that point.”

CDC Minstrel was registered in 2008. Right now its acreage is small, but it yields six to seven per cent higher than check. It isn’t crown rust resistant, making it best suited to western Saskatchewan.

CDC Orrin was registered in 2001, and made up six per cent of the acres in 2012. Its yield is a little higher than check. It has very poor crown rust resistance and poor stem rust resistance. But Ippolito said there are indications Orrin’s acres are increasing.

The check, CDC Dancer, held onto 12 per cent of the oat acres in 2012. It’s a slightly lower yielding variety, but does have fair stem and crown rust resistance.

Better rust resistance

Leggett grabbed about 4.5 per cent of the acres last year. A different resistance gene than older varieties protects it from crown rust.

“It works well in all parts of Western Canada, but particularly it’s a variety to look at if you’re in Eastern Saskatchewan because of its crown rust resistance.”

Stride was registered in 2011, and Ippolito said its acreage will probably increase as seed becomes available. Its crown rust resistance makes it a good fit for Eastern Saskatchewan, and it yields 10 per cent to 11 per cent higher than Dancer.

Summit was developed in Manitoba, and first registered in 2008. It comprises very few acres in Saskatchewan right now, but it is resistant to crown rust and smut, and yields slightly higher than Dancer.

“This is the one variety that the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada people think will be increasing in time because of its ability to resist rust, and the other agronomics that are going along with it.”

More information on Sask-atchewan’s oat variety trials is available at agriculture.gov.sk.ca. †

About the author

Field Editor

Lisa Guenther

Lisa Guenther is field editor for Grainews based at Livelong, Sask. You can follow her on Twitter @LtoG.

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