High on hybrid rye

RealAg agronomist Peter Johnson and C&M Seeds general manager Ellen Sparry check out hybrid rye research plots.

Rye is working hard to shed its reputation for lower yields, weak agronomics and poor standability when compared to other grain crops.

With the arrival of new hybrid rye varieties in Ontario, it looks like rye’s days of being relegated to cover crop status in the province are over. Quite simply, growers, seed companies, agronomists and whisky makers are all high on hybrid rye.

In this video, RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson catches up with C&M Seeds general manager Ellen Sparry to discuss rye’s reputation remake. C&M released Ontario’s first hybrid rye, Brasetto, in 2015. The hybrid has performed well and has prompted Canadian whisky maker Hiram Walker & Sons Limited to offer an IP contract for 5,000 acres in the province, with the potential for further growth.

See related: Demand for rye whisky and new hybrids create opportunity for growers

Sparry says C&M has had good uptake from farmers who’ve “experienced good yields and good income, so I’m sure they would like more acres.”

While yields for Brasetto typically hit the 70 bushels-per-acre mark, Johnson is also excited about the hybrid’s standability. “It’s a great fit for sand soils. The hybrid rye stands up and it yields,” he says.





Bernard Tobin

Bernard Tobin is Real Agriculture's Ontario Field Editor. AgBern was raised on a dairy farm near St. John's, Newfoundland. For the past two decades, he has specialized in agricultural communications. A Ryerson University journalism grad, he kicked off his career with a seven-year stint as Managing Editor and Field Editor for Farm and Country magazine. He has received six Canadian Farm Writers' Federation awards for journalism excellence. He's also worked for two of Canada's leading agricultural communications firms, providing public relations, branding and strategic marketing. Bern also works for Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and talks the Real Dirt on Farming.


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