We might refer to the category as “winter cereals” but everyone knows winter wheat is the undisputed leader in the field, and the picture for the crop took an even more positive turn late in 2015. An early soybean harvest and a long, warm fall, plus a greater commitment to longer rotations, made for an incredible planting season for winter wheat in Ontario.
But what’s even more interesting is that the good news for winter wheat goes beyond lucky weather and a fortunately early soybean harvest.
For cereals, the future is looking brighter, thanks to a renewed commitment to public sector breeding in Eastern Canada and a heightened awareness of soil health and sustainability issues. As commodity prices fluctuate, many growers are looking to maximize production, boost their on-farm efficiencies and take more of a long-term perspective toward creating value.
All of that translates to some interesting developments for cereals, including more winter rye varieties and hybrids becoming available, plus opportunities for malting barley in Eastern Canada and a five- to 10-year outlook for new cereal varieties from public sector breeders with an eye on Eastern Canada growers.
It’s against that backdrop that Country Guide brings you its second year of our “What’s New?” series, starting with this look at the latest in winter cereals. Five companies are featured with their latest offerings in winter wheat and rye varieties. As always, we recommend you talk to your seed dealers for more detail.
A new offering with excellent supply at Bramhill Seeds is Marker, a soft red winter wheat with exceptional potential. In OCCC trials in 2014, its two-year yield index in Area 2 was 114 per cent and 112 per cent in the three-year index in 2015. Also in 2015, its three-year average for Areas 1 and 2 combined was 109 per cent. Marker offers excellent standability and bushel weight, large plump kernels, short straw, and protein levels of 11.2 per cent in 2015 field trials. In terms of disease resistance and tolerance, it’s one of only three varieties that rate moderately resistant (MR) to fusarium head blight and show good resistance to leaf and stem rust. It’s recommended for seeding rate at 140 pounds or 1.6 million seeds per acre.
Soft red winter wheat
CM 7363 (name pending registration) is a new soft red winter wheat with excellent tillering and winter survival and an attractive dark green colour through the season. CM 7363 also has strong fusarium tolerance and very good standability, and it responds very well to intensive management programs. The company says, “It stands and it yields.” CM 7363 appears to fit well on all soil types but shows top performance in Area 1.
The first hybridized cereal rye variety available for growers is proving it has big potential. C&M says last year’s introduction of Brasetto provided growers with exceptional standability, large heads and excellent disease tolerance. Now Bono is available and new for 2016. Hybrid rye is seeded at a lower rate because of its exceptional tillering capability, and Bono has a similar yield package to Brasetto, with the potential for slightly higher yields. Hybrid rye is also best-suited to ground on which winter wheat is not the ideal fit, particularly sandy soils. New marketing opportunities are emerging for both of these varieties, with exceptional end-use characteristic, including the potential for identity-preserved markets for growers who choose hybrid rye.
DS-572-SRW is the newest soft red winter wheat variety from Dow Seeds, and is a mid- to full-maturity variety, suitable for Areas 1, 2 and 3. With medium to tall height, this awnletted head type provides above-average yields with excellent winter survival as well as good overall disease tolerance. Seeding rate is 1.2 to 1.4 million per acre, with seed and test weights also listed as excellent.
A fall rye variety from SeCan, AC Hazlet is now available to eastern Canadian producers. Developed by Grant MacLeod of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, this medium-sized fall rye has been commercially grown across the western prairies for the past 10 years. AC Hazlet’s strong straw, excellent winter hardiness and high grain yield are not only suited for western producers, but will also translate well to eastern Canadian growing conditions where it is also being touted as a flexible cover crop and forage option. This variety is available from SeCan member, Horizon Seeds Canada Inc., of Courtland, Ont.
UGRC Ring is a soft red winter wheat developed by the University of Guelph’s double haploid winter wheat breeding program. Its double haploid origin guarantees very good plant uniformity in the field, which should translate into enhanced uniformity at heading and maturity. That heading uniformity also allows for more complete fungicide coverage of all heads during spraying and consequently superior fusarium head blight control. This cultivar has gone through the OCCC registration trials from 2011 to 2012 and has been tested in the Ontario performance trials since 2013, totaling 33 site-years of testing. UGRC Ring has a high grain yield and good pastry qualities supported by very good specific weight and falling numbers. It had better winter hardiness than the checks during evaluation and is therefore well adapted to the winter wheat growing areas of Ontario. Its yield increase under intensive management practices in the performance trials is 13 per cent over three years in Areas 1 and 2. Ring also has good resistance to powdery mildew and leaf rust, and is in the moderately resistant class to fusarium.