The hybridization of crops is one of the first big stepping stones to major advancements in crop yield, as hybrid vigour really does create offspring greater than either of the parents. Hybrid breeding of corn and canola varieties has led to yield jumps in the leaps vs. the incremental gains made through straight crosses. But hybridization is by no means a short or easy road. It takes time, money, dedication and a coordinated effort by a host of different, specialized researchers and breeders. That process has been ongoing in wheat since the 1960s with small wins, but no real roll out of hybrid lines, in part because wheat is a self-pollinator.
RealAgriculture’s Bernard Tobin spoke to one of the people well acquainted with that process, Dr. Stefan Bruns, with KWS, the fourth-largest agricultural plant breeding company in the world. Dr. Bruns was one of the people in attendance at C&M Seeds Wheat Industry Day held recently, and Bern spoke to him there to get a bead on when, if ever, Canadian farmers will reap the benefits of hybrid wheat.
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