CALGARY, AB: The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is proposing a new wheat classification model to give prairie farmers greater and faster access to new wheat varieties.
The new model would preserve the very best of today’s wheat class system, and yet give seed developers greater opportunity to bring new wheat varieties to market. The model is patterned after the wheat classification system that was implemented in Australia in 2011.
“We need to build on the advantages of our present variety registration system and work toward giving prairie farmers even faster access to new genetics,” says Levi Wood, President of the Wheat Growers. “This new classification model will give wheat seed developers a much more transparent and predictable registration process.”
Under the proposed model, seed developers would register a new variety and then submit the variety to three years of quality testing, after which a wheat classification panel would determine whether the variety meets the quality parameters of one of western Canada’s existing wheat classes (e.g. CWRS, CPS, etc.). However, the decision on whether to introduce a new variety to the marketplace would rest solely with the seed developer.
To enhance speed to market, a seed developer would be permitted to bring a registered variety to market in advance of classification providing the variety is sold as feed, or on a spec basis. This would ensure farmers and buyers have immediate access to the best new varieties.
As part of the new wheat classification model, the Wheat Growers are proposing that merit testing of disease and agronomic traits no longer be a pre-condition for registration. Instead, we are proposing a voluntary industry-led performance trial system be implemented, similar to the system in place for canola.
“This new model will attract much-needed investment in wheat breeding research in Western Canada,” says Wood. “It will give farmers immediate access to new, more profitable wheat varieties, and allow us to make the decision on which varieties are right for our farms.”
About the Wheat Growers:
Founded in 1970, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is a voluntary farmer-run advocacy organization dedicated to developing public policy solutions that strengthen the profitability and sustainability of farming, and the agricultural industry as a whole. For more information, please visit wheatgrowers.ca.