PGDC Helps Fuel an Industry at Annual Meeting

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New varieties are the fuel that keeps the seed and agriculture industries going, and the Prairie Grain Development Committee helped provide that fuel at its annual meeting this week in Saskatoon, Sask. Fifty-four new cultivars in four different crop categories were considered for recommendation, delivering even more options for stakeholders throughout the agriculture sector and beyond.

Twenty-seven cultivars were considered for recommendation by the wheat, rye and triticale committee, with the majority of them being recommended for registration, according to committee secretary Francis Kirigwi.

The high number looked at by the PRCWRT this year was due in part to modernization of the Canadian wheat class system. Under the modernization plan, two new wheat classes will come into effect on Aug. 1, 2016: Canada Northern Hard Red (CNHR) and Canada Western Special Purpose (CWSP). Three wheat classes will be eliminated: Canada Western Interim Wheat (CWIW), Canada Western General Purpose (CWGP), and Canada Western Feed (CWF).

“This offers us a chance to request support for candidates that didn’t make the CWRS class,” said committee chair Curtis Pozniak. “This gives an opportunity for us to take another look at lines that might fit into these new classes.”

One cultivar that was brought back for re-examination was BW968, a spring wheat bred by AAFC’s Richard Cuthbert that has a 10 per cent higher yield than Glenn wheat.

Fifteen lines were considered for registration by the pulse and special crops committee. They included six bean lines, four pea lines, four lentil lines and one canarygrass line. “It’s a bit less than in previous years, but more diverse,” said committee chair Glen Hawkins.

Four flax lines were considered and ultimately recommended for registration by the oilseeds committee, according to chair Daryl Rex — three brown-seeded flax cultivars and one yellow-seeded cultivar. Compared to last year that’s down quite a bit, when there were more than 10 lines considered for registration.

Four barley and four oat lines were recommended for registration by the oat and barley committee, according to committee secretary Pat Juskiw. Out of the four oat lines, three were milling oats and one was bred for equine feed. All four barley lines were for malting, with two recommended for full registration and two for interim registration.

Seed of the Year and Other Recognition

A recognition luncheon was held, with several members of the industry given special mention for their work.

University of Saskatchewan researcher Pierre Hucl was given the award for Seed of the Year for the hard red spring wheat variety CDC Teal, a variety best adapted to the black soil zone of Western Canada. It combines early maturity with good yield potential, increased kernel size and leaf and stem rust resistance. It was developed at the University of Saskatchewan from a three-way cross involving BW514, Benito and BW38.

Retiring PGDC members Nancy Edwards and Myriam Fernandez were given special mention. Edwards worked with the Canadian Grain Commission and served on the PRCWRT quality evaluation team, while Fernandez worked with AAFC Plant Pathology and served on the PRCWRT disease evaluation team.

Wheat breeder Stu McBean and Seed Depot’s John Smith, who both passed away recently, were also mentioned at the luncheon for their work and time served.