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Fusarium Resistant Wheat Offers New Tool for Preventing Disease

22 May 2013
Manitoba Pork Council

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CANADA - A winter wheat breeder with the University of Manitoba says a new fusarium resistant winter wheat offers farmers a new tool for dealing with fusarium head blight.

Certified seed for AC Emerson Canada's first fusarium head blight resistant wheat, a Canada Western Red Winter Wheat developed at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Lethbridge Research Centre, is expected to be available this fall.

As part of Canada's cooperative testing for new variety registration the University of Manitoba conducted yield and quality trials and fusarium head blight testing in replicated trials in Carman.

Dr Anita Brûlé-Babel, a winter wheat breeder with the University of Manitoba, reports average fusarium head blight resistance in a susceptible variety would have been around 30 to 40 per cent but on average this variety was four to five per cent.

Dr Anita Brûlé-Babel, University of Manitoba:

Fusarium head blight, as you know, especially in the Manitoba region and southeastern Saskatchewan regions has become more or less a perennial problem.

Some years we have lower levels than others but it's something that we need to be cautious about so having a better disease resistance in this particular variety improves the potential of producing a quality product that is suitable for the food and feed markets.

As you know fusarium, because of the mycotoxin contamination of the grain, if we have too high levels of fusarium contamination in the grain it makes it very difficult to place that product in the market place because of the food and feed safety issues that go along with it.

In combination with other management practices, having a variety that is showing levels of resistance similar to this actually improves the producers' probability of having a quality product that can be marketed.

Dr Brûlé-Babel notes overall the new variety was slightly lower yielding than the check varieties but suggests the difference was not statistically significant.

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