The Prairie Grain Development Committee meetings are taking place this week in Saskatoon. 

The meetings evaluate potential new cereal, pulse, and oilseed varieties for registration.

Dr Richard Cuthbert, the wheat breeder at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Swift Current Research and Development Center (SCRDC), is introducing a promising new Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) wheat cultivar BW-5104 for evaluation. 

"I think it's a pretty exciting line. It used a lot of technology to develop. It has solid stems, very solid stems, and those solid stems help the plant give resistance to the wheat stems sawfly."

He notes the original cross was made in 2017 and has now gone through three years of registration testing in the last three years.

"We spoke to some of the funding groups, the provincial commissions, and the Canadian Wheat Research Coalition to help speed the development of this line.  We actually have this line in New Zealand right now being increased, before it's actually been registered. So we'll be able to hit the ground running here in Spring 2024, assuming it is supported for registration. "

New quality targets meant that a lot of the previous sawfly-resistant varieties were removed from the CWRS class leaving farmers with very few options.

Cuthbert's counterpart Dr. Yuefeng Ruan is the durum breeder at the SCRDC and is introducing two new lines for testing.

Dr Ruan says BT-2033 is a big improvement as its the first durum line with ergot resistance.

"It also has good FHB (Fusarium Head Blight) resistance that's another benefit. Another thing about it is its very good yielding, also good quality profile, and a shorter, stronger plant height."

The other durum line BT-2035 has very good FHB resistance, it's good yielding with stronger straw strength and a good protein profile.