Farmers select winter wheat varieties based on yield potential, disease resistance, height, standability and maturity. But what is becoming increasingly important is selecting varieties on planned end-use or marketing considerations.
Is the harvested product for milling? For ethanol production? As an ingredient in feed rations? Knowing the answers to these questions will help farmers select not only a variety that will perform on their farm but be suitable for the planned end-use.
CDC Falcon transition delayed
The Canadian Grain Commission plans to move CDC Falcon, Manitoba’s most popular variety, from the Canada Western Red Winter (CWRW) class to the Canada Western General Purpose (CWGP) class as of August 1, 2014. This one-year delay will allow farmers more time to evaluate possible replacement varieties if their planned end-use markets need a milling type wheat.
Please note that CDC Kestrel, CDC Clair, CDC Harrier and CDC Raptor (varieties not commonly grown in Manitoba) will be moved from the CWRW class to the CWGP class as of August 1, 2013, a year earlier than CDC Falcon.
Updated long-term data
To assist with variety decisions, MCVET (Manitoba Crop Variety Evaluation Team) is publishing performance data collected in 2012, and updated variety descriptions.
Farmers should look at long-term data and select those varieties which perform well not only in their area but across locations and years. Long-term data can be found in the 2012 Winter Wheat Variety Descriptions Table. The "Yield % Check" column provides an indication of how the listed varieties performed compared to the check CDC Falcon. Remember that only direct comparisons can be made between CDC Falcon and the variety chosen to compare it to. The more site-years, the more dependable the data. If farmers want to choose their own check, the website www.seedinteractive.ca gives them that ability.
Flourish and Moats, possible CWRW replacements for CDC Falcon, have now been tested for a second year so additional data is available. New CWGP entries in 2012 are 1603-137-1 and DH01-25-135*R. More caution must be exercised when evaluating the performance of these two varieties as the data only represents one year of data.
Multi-site data for 2012
Multi-site data can be found in the Yield Comparisons Table. Although yields are expressed as per cent of CDC Falcon, comparisons are not restricted to only CDC Falcon. Comparisons can be made between other varieties.
For example, you may want to compare the performance of Flourish and Moats at Carman. The first step will be to look at the "Sign Diff" value — a "yes" or "no" will indicate if a real difference exists between varieties. At Carman, there is a significant difference between the varieties tested.
You then need to look at the "LSD %" value. LSD stands for Least Significant Difference and it shows the percentage that individual varieties must differ by to be considered significantly different. At the Carman location, varieties must differ by seven per cent. Since yields of Flourish and Moats differs by 11 per cent, statistically Moats yielded more than Flourish at Carman.
The next step would be to determine if that yield potential is consistent across all sites. Out of the 10 locations, Moats yielded significantly more than Flourish at two locations, but at the remaining locations the performance of Flourish and Moats is similar at six sites while Flourish yielded significantly more than Moats at two locations. Therefore by looking only at the 2012 data, farmers can see that yield potential of Flourish and Moats is pretty similar.
Keep in mind that data accumulated over several sites in a single year must always be viewed with caution. Varieties that excel under one set of environmental conditions may not perform as well under the next year's conditions. Farmers can do the same exercise with past guides, available online at www.seedmb.ca, to see how consistent yield is between sites and locations (in Seed Manitoba 2012, at the six locations the performance of Flourish and Moats were statistically the same at five).
Farmers can also go to www.seedinteractive.ca where they can select multiple varieties, locations and years that best compare with their farm, while still offering the ability to choose their own check variety.
Fusarium head blight ratings
A concerted effort to improve fusarium head blight (FHB) resistance in winter wheat varieties is being undertaken by breeders. In past editions of the seed guide, there has been limited data available to publish ratings for many varieties. However, official FHB evaluations have started for winter wheat entries tested in both the Central and Western winter wheat co-operative registration trials. Combined with previous testing, also done by Dr. Anita Brulé-Babel at the University of Manitoba, enough data exists to assign, and in one case change, ratings to some of the varieties.
The rating for CDC Buteo has been changed to moderately resistant or MR from the previous intermediate (I) rating. Data for CDC Ptarmigan and Peregrine shows both at an intermediate (I) rating. All other varieties are either susceptible (S) or moderately susceptible (MS), or not enough data exists yet to give a rating.
It is important to note with future testing, more changes to the ratings may occur in order to provide the most accurate information to farmers. But it is a great first step and subsequently great news for farmers as FHB can be an issue in winter wheat production. In 2012/13, MCVET is evaluating the variety W454 which has improved resistance to FHB.
The suite of Seed Manitoba products — the Seed Manitoba guide and the websites www.seedinteractive.ca and www.seedmb.ca — provides valuable variety performance information for Manitoba farmers. Look for Seed Manitoba 2013 this December.