By: Mitchell Japp, PAg, Provincial Specialist, Cereal Crops
Every year, farmers across the province get a copy of the latest Varieties of Grain Crops or SaskSeed Guide so they can pick the next variety for their farm. The data used to generate the tables for the upcoming guide are now in the ground.
Collaborators in all regions of Saskatchewan grow hundreds of plots of different varieties of different crops. The Saskatchewan Variety Performance Group manages regional variety trials for wheat, durum, barley, oats, flax, rye and triticale. SaskPulse makes sure the pulse regional trials are grown each year, and the canola industry uses the Canola Performance Trials.
In 2016, 63 spring wheat, 17 durum, 17 barley, 15 oats, 13 flax, six rye and six triticale varieties are being grown at anywhere from four to 14 different locations across Saskatchewan.
As farmers are busily harvesting their crops in the fall, the regional variety trials are also being harvested. The data is added to long-term databases so each variety can be compared fairly. All of the data is reviewed by a council of industry experts representing many different parts of the value chain.
Getting an early look at new varieties can give producers a heads-up of what is coming. Not all locations will offer tours of the regional trials, but some do. Check in with organizers as the summer field days approach. Another option to see how varieties perform is to visit the plots at Ag In Motion. Many of the varieties grown in the regional trials will also be grown there by the seed companies.
When January rolls around, compare your own field notes of the varieties with the data in the next edition of the Varieties of Grain Crops and SaskSeed Guide.
Regional variety trials for wheat, durum, barley, oats, flax, rye and triticale are supported by the collaborators who grow the plots, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission, Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission, Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture.