Western Canada seed company raises the bar on yield; FP Genetics is introducing new wheat varieties as well as a German hybrid rye

Western Canada seed company raises the bar on yield; FP Genetics is introducing new wheat varieties as well as a German hybrid ryeOntario Farmer Tue Mar 27 2018 Page: A14 Section: News Byline: Harry Siemens Source: Ontario Farmer FP Genetics was founded in March 2008 on the principles of honesty, integrity and good business practice to create a seed production, distribution and sales force in Western Canada.Over 160 shareholders -most are pedigree seed growers along with some retail shareholders -own the company and provide their customers with the leading varieties and expert advice to put the right seed and seed additives for their farms.The shareholder network spans the entire agricultural producing area in Western Canada from the Red River Valley in Manitoba to the Peace River District of Alberta.Herman Wehrle, marketing manager for FB Genetics, said their offerings include wheat, durum, oats, rye, and some barley.He said there are lots of things that growers look for in the varieties they grow.”Obviously, yield always seems to be number one because that’s the one that pays the bills.””But growers are looking more at standability and shortness of crop so that it’s easy to combine and doesn’t lodge in the field (as well as) the disease package that it comes with. They need to make sure that it’s going to be relatively disease free so that they can have a high-quality crop to harvest and market,” he said.Days to maturity is still a factor, mainly north of 16 Highway. Further south, most of the varieties on the market can be planted right across the country.Wehle said FP Genetics brought in two brand new wheat varieties for 2018. AAC Viewfield is the shortest wheat in the marketplace. It has excellent standability, is very high yielding, and also has an excellent disease package.”The other wheat is also in the CWRS class, but it’s a midgetolerant wheat -CDC Landmark.””It’s the first semi-dwarf midge-tolerant wheat that’s come to the Prairies. For a long time, it has frustrated producers to deal with taller kinds of wheat (that are) not midge-tolerant.” This one has the tolerane along with the semi-dwarf trait, he said.Short in this case means “five to six inches, depending on the various crop types. It is relatively significant and certainly makes quite a difference at harvest and what has to go through the combine.”Wehrle said there’s no question, genetics has played a massive role in wheat breeding and production in the last few years.”We’ve hit another higher plateau in that market, and these wheat varieties certainly can, if given the right weather and the proper nutrients, all produce over 100 bushels,” he said.But it’s not all genetics. “It’s more of a 50/50 deal where 50 per cent you could attribute to genetics; the other 50 per cent is due to improved management on the farm…the cultivation, the seeding, the nutrient plans, the whole nine yards.””You add that all together, and I think we’ve upped our capacity and capability to produce more crop.”Wehrle said that, despite the reprive during the dry 2017, fusarium continues a big issue. As a result, all of the genetics have moved up another notch in their ability for resistance.In the last five years, wheat varieties have moved to moderate and intermediate resistance slowly enabling farmers get even higher yields.He said, in the last three years, FP Genetics has added some new rye varieties, changing the way the industry looks at rye in Western Canada.”These varieties are coming from Germany, produced there for the last 10 years.”The exciting thing about these hybrids is a 30 per cent higher yield potential, said Wehrle. “Traditionally ,growers looked at rye as a low-cost crop on more productive land, and that’s kind of where it sat probably for the last 50 years.””Now, with these new yields, hybrid rye is as profitable as any of the other cereals…and it opens a whole different door to this crop across Western Canada.””Of course, it has the benefit that it is a winter cereal, so it … reduce some risk for growers, and is very, very early to harvest.”It also opens up an opportunity to use rye in livesock feed, specifically in swine production. “Hybrid rye has some very beneficial options for herd health and improved meat quality of the hog,” he said.Illustration: