Collaborator/Funder: Alberta Wheat Commission
Trial Site: Fairview Research Farm (NW5-82-3W6) on RR #35, MD of Fairview.
Research Coordinator: Dr Akim Omokanye & Dr Lekshmi Sreekumar
The annual wheat production in Alberta is about 8.4 million tonnes, according to the recent Alberta Crop Production Statistics. Spring wheat alone accounts for about 88% of the total wheat production in Alberta. In the Peace Country, producers have a preference for early or medium maturing varieties that have high yield potential. Grain quality and incidence of pests and diseases are also important considerations. Every year, several new wheat varieties are registered. It is important to identify varieties that are suited to the Peace region. The wheat varieties grown in the Peace region are mainly from the Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) and Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) wheat classes. Some of the most common varieties grown in the Peace region are Go Early, Stettler, CDC Landmark, CDC Stanley and Thorsby.
To compare grain yield, grain yield components, grain protein and straw quality of wheat varieties commonly grown in the Peace region of Alberta.
Project Site: Fairview Research Farm (NW5-82-3W6) on RR #35, MD of Fairview.
Previous crop: The site was sprayed out and left unseeded (chemical fallow) in 2016. In 2015, the site was seeded to barley. Before 2015, the site had been in an alfalfa dominated forage stand for hay production for over 10 years.
Soil information (0-6” depth): Soil tests done at Exova laboratory (Edmonton) prior to seeding showed pH of 5.8, organic matter of 7.0 %, and electrical conductivity of 0.21 dS/m. The soil was deficient in N and P, and had marginal amounts of K and S.
The field was cultivated before seeding (disced and harrowed). Individual plot size was 11.04 m2 (118.8 ft2 ).
Experimental Design: Randomized complete block design in 4 replications.
Treatments: The 16 varieties seeded are listed below (10 CWRS & 6 CPSR varieties).
Utmost - CWRS, awnless
CDC Landmark - CWRS, awned
AAC Viewfield - CWRS, awned
CDC Stanley - CWRS, awnless
Thorsby - CWRS, awnless
CDC Go - CWRS, awned
AAC Redwater - CWRS, awned
Go Early - CWRS, awned
Stettler - CWRS, awned
CDC Titanium (Check for CWRS) - CWRS, awned
5700 PR (Check for CPSR) - CPSR, awned
AAC Crusader - CPSR, awned
HY 2013 - CPSR, awned
Elagin ND - CPSR, awned
AAC Tenacious - CPSR, awned
AAC Penhold - CPSR, awned
Seeding rate and seeding date: 350 plants/m2 (32.4 plants/ft2 ), seeded on May 30
Seeding method: 6-row Fabro plot drill with 9” row spacing
Fertility (actual lbs/acre): 89 N + 50 P + 29 K + 24 S
Spraying: In-crop spraying was done once with Curtail M (800 ml/acre) + Fluroxyoyr (170ml/acre)
Measurements: Data collection consisted of plant height from 5 random plants/plot (August 28), grain yield and grain yield components (kernel weight and test weight), grain protein and straw quality. Grain yield was adjusted to 12% moisture content. Field notes were taken on plant lodging just before grain harvest. All of the varieties were combined on September 26 with a Wintersteiger plot combine. Grain samples for protein content and straw samples for quality indicators were shipped to A&L Laboratory (Ontario) for analysis using standard laboratory methods.
Field data were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) using a pre-defined model for randomized complete block design in Costat statistical software procedure. When ANOVA indicated significant treatment effects, the means were separated by the least significant difference (LSD) at the 0.05 probability level.
Results and Discussion
Plant Height (Table 1)
Overall, plant height was statistically similar for all varieties tested (CWRS & CPRS). Among the CWRS varieties, Thorsby seemed to have slightly higher plant height value (111 cm). Among the CPSR, AAC Tenacious appeared to have higher plant height value (109 cm) than other CPSR varieties.
Grain Yield & Grain Yield Components (Table 1)
The grain yield, kernel weight and test weight were all significantly affected by the wheat varieties tested here.
Overall, grain yield was highest for the AAC Penhold variety (118.7 bus/acre), followed by AAC Viewfield variety (116.3 bus/acre), CDC Titanium (112.7 bus/acre) and then CDC Landmark (111.3 bus/acre). Overall, 12 of the varieties had grain yield of 100 bus/acre or more. For CWRS varieties, grain yield as percent of check (CDC Titanium) seemed to be higher (by a small margin) only for AAC Viewfield (103%) than other CWRS varieties tested here. For CPSR varieties, all varieties compared to 5700 PR (check for CPSR) appeared to have grain yield increases, which varied from 106% (for AAC Tenacious) to 146% (for AAC Penhold) over 5700 PR (check).
Looking at both classes of wheat tested (CWRS & CPRS), grain (kernel) weight was highest for CDC Landmark (47.7g/1000 kernel), followed closely by CDC GO (47.5g/1000 kernel) and then AAC Penhold (45.0g/1000 kernel). Kernel weight was <40 g/1000 kernel for 10 of the 16 varieties.
Overall, test weight varied from 62 lbs/bushel for Go Early, AAC Crusader and AAC Tenacious to 66 lbs/bushel for CDC Landmark.
Grain Crude Protein (CP) (Table 1)
The grain CP content was significantly affected by the varieties tested here. For CWRS varieties, CDC Titanium (check for CWRS) had the highest grain CP (21.4%). The grain CP content for CWRS was mostly >18%. For CPSR varieties, AAC Tenacious had the highest grain CP content (19.9%), while 5700 PR (check for CPSR) seemed to have lower grain CP than other CPSR varieties (except for AAC Crusader).
Straw Quality (Table 2)
Straw Crude Protein (CP): Generally, the straw CP content was significantly affected by the varieties tested here. For CWRS varieties, Utmost had the highest straw CP content (6.79%). For CPSR varieties, 5700 RR (check for CPSR) had the highest straw CP (7.04%).
For mixed crop-livestock producers who may be thinking of using the residue from wheat as roughage for livestock, particularly beef cattle, none of the varieties had sufficient CP to meet the requirements of mature beef cattle. Only 5700 PR and Utmost appeared to have adequate forage value for a dry gestating beef cow in the mid pregnancy stage, which requires 7% CP.
Where the straw is left on the field to add organic matter and nutrients to the soil for subsequent crop production, both 5700 PR and Utmost would be valuable in adding more N to the soil (assuming the straw yield from both was substantial). The straw N content from 5700 PR & Utmost varied from 1.09-1.13% N. Other varieties had <1.00% N.
Energy (Table 2)
The forage total digestible nutrients (TDN) were generally >50%. Using wheat crop residue as roughage, the straw energy content (% TDN) from only 4 (Utmost, CDC Stanley, 5700 PR and AAC Penhold) of the 16 varieties tested here was adequate for a dry gestating beef cow in mid pregnancy stage. None of the varieties tested had enough TDN for pregnant beef cows in late pregnancy and lactating stages. The straw net energy for maintenance (NEM) from all varieties was generally enough to meet the NEM requirements of mature beef cattle, which are 0.97-1.10 Mcal/kg during pregnancy and 1.19-1.28 Mcal/kg during lactation.
Straw Minerals (Table 2)
Each of the minerals measured here was highest for the following varieties:
Straw Ca: Utmost
Straw K: AAC Penhold
Straw Mg: CDC Landmark
Straw Zn: AAC Penhold
Straw Fe: Utmost Straw
Mn: CDC Landmark Straw
The straw S content appeared to be similar for all varieties.
Except for AAC Tenacious, all wheat varieties tested here had adequate straw Ca and Fe content for a dry gestating beef cow in mid pregnancy stage. A few varieties had enough straw Mg and K for pregnant beef cows in mid pregnancy stage. All varieties were far from meeting the P and Cu requirements of a pregnant beef cow in mid pregnancy stage.
Grain yield and grain protein content are some of the objectives in wheat breeding programs, as these traits are important determinants of the economic value of the harvested product. In this study, AAC Penhold with the highest grain yield seemed to have lower protein than most varieties tested. Overall, CDC Titanium (check for CWRS) appeared to have some potential for both grain yield and high protein content, compared to both other CWRS varieties as well as CPSR varieties. It is important to note that straw is a low energy, and low protein feed. It is not as digestible as hay or greenfeed. In this study, only 4 (Utmost, CDC Stanley, 5700 PR and AAC Penhold) of the 16 varieties tested had enough TDN for a dry gestating beef cow in mid pregnancy stage. For CWRS varieties, Utmost had the highest straw CP content (6.79% CP) and for CPSR varieties, 5700 PR (check for CPSR) had the highest straw CP (7.04% CP). From the results of straw quality obtained here, it is evident that straw should not be fed to beef cattle without supplementation because rarely does straw provide enough energy, protein and minerals to meet a mature beef cow’s requirements.
This study was funded by the Alberta Wheat Commission. Fertilizer was donated by CPS Fairview. Wheat varieties used were sourced from Fairview, Falher and High Prairie Co-op Seed Cleaning Plants, and from the following producers: Murray Lewis (Cleardale), Ron Heck (Fairview) and Nick Sekulic (Rycroft). The technical help by PCBFA staff, Thomas Claydon (PCBFA director) and GPRC farm (Fairview campus) is highly appreciated.