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SERF Demos 5 New Wheats

Straw weaker than AC Barrie and Superb VA RIETY NAME AC UNITY VB AC WASKADA AC KANE

Type

Yield

Protein

Height

Strengths

Weaknesses Awned CWRS

116%of AC Barrie

Similar to AC Barrie

1 cm taller than AC Barrie

Reduced wheat midge damage due to Sm1 midge tolerance gene. Reduced sawfly damage due to partially solid stem

Weaker straw strength than AC Barrie. Poor loose smut resistance. Poor fusarium head blight resistance Awned CWRS

112% of AC Barrie

Similar to AC Barrie

4 cm taller than AC Barrie

Good rating for fusarium head blight Good resistance to loose smut and common bunt Matures 2 days earlier than Superb Awned CWRS

107% of AC Barrie

Similar to AC Barrie

5 cm shorter than AC Barrie

Improved lodging resistance over AC Barrie Very good sprouting resistance Very good leaf and stem rust resistance Fair resistance to leaf spot diseases

Moderately susceptible to loose smut Intermediate resistance to common bunt

As major corporations become increasingly involved in developing new seed varieties and crop protection products, much of the research producers are hearing about now is being done in corporate labs, so it may seem to some that independent research is waning. However, groups like the South East Research Farm (SERF), located at Redvers, Sask., are working to ensure unbiased research data continues to be made available to Prairie growers.

SERF has three research locations, and it was the Moosomin site that was centre stage on August 19, when the organization hosted a field day to show demonstration plots to local producers. For most, it was their first look at five new wheat varieties from SeCan.

The varieties, AC Minnedosa GP, AC Fieldstar VB, AC Waskada, AC Unity VB and AC Kane, were planted alongside a control strip of AC Barrie. With the new disease and midge resistance mixes they offer, Todd Hyra, SeCan’s business manager for western Canada, describes their introduction as a “changing of the guard” from older varieties.

The two varieties offering midge resistance were included in the test plot specifically to introduce the technology and explain the agronomic practices needed to maximize their benefits. “Because it’s a new technology for wheat growers, we wanted to get it in front of people so they will understand how

Three of the new wheat varieties tested at the South East Research Farm will be commercially available for seeding next spring. They are AC Unity VB, AC Waskada and AC Kane. Here are the numbers for each.

the technology works, how it will benefit them and ultimately understand the stewardship required to ensure the technology lasts,” he adds.

The stewardship Hyra is talking about is practices meant to delay insect adaptation to plant resistance. Because insects, like weeds, can quickly adapt to control measures, SeCan blends 10 per cent nonresistant seed into the varieties to draw midge away from the majority of the crop and slow down their ability to overcome the resistant traits. (“VB” in the name stands for “varietal blend.”) Midge will still cause some crop damage, but it will be greatly minimized. More information is available online a www.midgetolerantwheat.com.

Hyra says SeCan has partnered with several independent research farms across the Prairies to grow demonstration plots of all five of the new wheat varieties. That gives growers a chance to familiarize themselves with the new seed, and to better understand their options when it’s time to make next year’s seeding decisions.

In helping to do that, farms like SERF play an important role for both plant breeders and producers. “Having our products tested at a local level is critical in generating unbiased results for producers to make their decisions,” Hyra says. And groups like SERF provide opportunities for producers to see new varieties grown under conditions very close to those on their own farms.

Hyra believes producers generally appreciate and support efforts by groups like SERF. “In terms of attendance, they seem to be well supported at a local level,” he says of field days held at independent research farms. And SERF manager Mitchell Morrison agrees. In fact, he says, it was a local regional economic development association that started the research farm about 10 years ago. Since then, the farm has undergone a couple of name changes, but local farmers show continued interest in the local data the farm provides.

“I think there is a bit of a call to action at a local level,” says Hyra. “If farmers want to continue to have access to this resource they need to make their voices heard. They need to become active, participate and support these (independent research farms).”

When it comes to research data, Hyra encourages producers to look closely at all the test information when making comparisons. That is essential to fully understand the data. Something as minor as what year the field trials were conducted can significantly change yield results, due to weather variations. Being critical consumers of information will allow growers to better understand all their cropping options.

Scott Garvey farms near Moosomin, Sask.

About the author

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Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.

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