A wheat variety might produce huge yields or have stellar disease resistance, but if there’s no market for it, there’s probably no point in registering the variety for production in Canada. Instead, it might even have a negative impact, damaging Canada’s reputation for consistency and quality.
As Lisa Nemeth of the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) explains in this Wheat School episode, it’s the role of the Prairie Grain Development Committee’s quality evaluation group to make sure customers’ needs are reflected in the wheat varieties recommended for registration.
“That’s the whole purpose of the quality evaluation team,” she says. “Customer input is huge. This is where the wheat is going to be sold…even for a breeder, if a customer is not looking for the quality that’s in a variety, a farmer will not grow it because there’s no market for it.”
A record 28 wheat varieties were recommended for full or interim registration by the PGDC’s cross-section of grain industry members during the committee’s annual meeting in Banff in late February — nine of the varieties would fit into the Canada Western Red Spring class.
Nemeth notes customer concerns about CWRS wheat were top of mind in assessing the varieties put forward for registration.
“Certainly for CWRS there was really good attention given to gluten strength,” she says, as the grain sector looks to address feedback from international buyers about low gluten strength in 2013.
Nemeth also explains how new flexibility in the registration process means farmers should have more wheat varieties to choose from, including some American wheats that were recommended for interim registration: