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Seed Limited For Top Lentils

Lentil growers are blessed with a steady stream of new varieties to choose from each year, thanks in no small part to the Crop Development Centre’s prolific breeding program. Bunyamin Tar’an, a breeder with the CDC in Saskatoon, outlined variety performance by area and seed availability in his presentation at a recent pulse information day in Moose Jaw. Saskatchewan Pulse Growers hosted two pulse days in early February, getting record attendance in part because of such favourable lentil prices. Growers are planting more reds than greens, which is mirrored in the number of available varieties.

Seed supplies of several varieties are limited, a problem that may be made worse by increased interest in the crop for 2010. (See the table.) On the plus side, you have several choices in nearly every class.

And those looking for Laird seed? Perhaps it’s just time to move on, says Tar’an. “There are so many better varieties out there,” he says.

HIGHER YIELDS, NEW RESISTANCE COMING

In a summary of breeding trends, Tar’an notes that, as always, increasing yield potential is a major focus for new varieties. Lines coming down the pipe are showing some real promise, he says. Several of these are only in the first year of trials, so farmers will have to be patient.

In addition to higher yields, lentil breeders are also looking at improving colour retention, introducing some extra small green lines and working on plumping up seeds to decrease chipping during processing. New anthracnose resistance is also making its way into the system.

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