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Each year, the seed industry, producers, breeders and government collaborate to conduct regional testing of crop varieties to provide agronomic performance information under different agro-climatic conditions. Industry involvement includes the SeCan Association, the Saskatchewan Seed Growers Association, Saskatchewan Wheat, Barley and Oat Development Commissions, Sask Flax and Saskatchewan Pulse Growers. Canola performance trials are funded through Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission (SaskCanola) and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association. An entry fee system is used, in which variety owners or companies with the distribution rights to a particular variety pay a portion of the cost of having the variety tested.
Researchers conduct the trials at the Crop Development Centre, the University of Saskatchewan, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research stations, provincial AgriARM sites and the Canada-Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre. These crop coordinators manage the data and provide expertise for their respective crops.
The results from all variety trials of all crop kinds tested are reviewed by the Saskatchewan Advisory Council on Grain Crops (SACGC) to ensure that information published is based on sound scientific principles. The SACGC also updates disease and other agronomic information and approves the data prior to inclusion in this publication.
Relative yield is the best estimate of expected yield advantage in the areas indicated. It is the yield of one variety expressed as a percentage of the check variety. Yields obtained in these trials are not identical to those obtained in commercial production. However, the relative ranking of these varieties compared to the check variety, obtained over a number of years at several locations, would remain the same regardless of whether the grain yield was measured in small plots or large-scale fields.
Grain yield is a function of genetic and non-genetic factors. Variety trials are designed to measure yield differences due to genetic causes. It is important to minimize variability due to non-genetic factors such as moisture, temperature, transpiration, weeds, diseases, insects and other factors. Experimental design uses replication (repeated plantings of the varieties) and randomization (the position of the varieties within the test is assigned by chance) to estimate the precision with which the genetic factors can be measured.
Each year, variety trials are conducted using uniform protocols and standard check varieties. Data is collected from as many sites as are available and statistically analyzed. Results in the varieties of grain crops publication are aggregated over a number of years and on an area basis for most crops.
There are various factors to consider when selecting a new variety and it all depends on what your main priority is. Factors to consider include:
The most recent version of the Saskatchewan Varieties of Grain Crops publication is available for download.
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