Using statistics from the provincial crop insurance corporations, the Canadian Grain Commission has released its annual summary of the most-insured cereal varieties for the previous growing season.
In most cases, we’re listing only the top 10 reported varieties — for a full list visit the CGC website.
Prairie-wide, Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) remains by far the dominant wheat class, with 11.23 million acres or 69 per cent of the total acreage in 2020. Durum followed with 3.7 million acres or 23 per cent. Canada Prairie Spring (CPS) grabbed half of the remaining eight per cent of total wheat acres, with the rest of the classes taking one per cent or less. That includes Canadian Northern Hard Red (CNHR), the U.S.-style red spring wheat class that some, a few years ago, expected would take a sizeable portion of CWRS acres.
Brandon was the dominant variety in the CWRS class, taking 42 per cent of the acres Prairie-wide, with AAC Viewfield well back in second place with 12 per cent.
Transcend dominated the durum class, taking 29 per cent of the acres, with CDC Precision well back at 16 per cent.
Feed variety CDC Austenson accounted for 37 per cent of barley acres insured last year, with “not specified” taking second place with 11 per cent. This could include malting barley — none of the recommended varieties show up on the list for 2020.
Camden was the favourite oat variety in the eastern Prairies, with 15 per cent of the acres in Saskatchewan and 12 in Manitoba, but only two per cent in Alberta, where Summit topped the list with nine per cent of the insured acreage last year.
Hazlet, a conventional variety, topped the rye list with 28 per cent of the acres, but four newer hybrid ryes followed, taking a sizable portion of the remainder last year.
Gluten strength back on track
Around 2010, some customers began to complain about gluten strength in Canadian Red Spring Wheat (CWRS). That was largely due to the low strength in three main varieties at the time — Lillian, Harvest and Unity — as well as in several formerly popular older varieties including Columbus and Neepawa. By 2015, about 20 per cent of Prairie acreage was in these varieties, and that year the Canadian Grain Commission announced that for 2018, 29 varieties would be moved out of the CWRS class and into Canadian Northern Hard Red (CNHR).
By that date, only one per cent of the CWRS acreage had been planted with these varieties. In 2020, fewer than 12,000 acres were planted with Lillian, Harvest and Unity.
On August 1, 2021, five more CWRS varieties will be redesignated to CNHR, including AAC Redwater and Muchmore, which had about 104,000 acres in 2020, mainly in Alberta.