National Wheat Improvement Program Cluster, Activity 51: Breeding Eastern Canadian winter wheat for resistance to biotic and tolerance to abiotic stresses

Principal Investigator

Lily Tamburic-Ilincic

Research Institution

University of Guelph

External Funding Partners

This project is part of the $25.2 million National Wheat Improvement Program funded by the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA), the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC), and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) through the Industry-Led Research and Development Stream of the Growing Forward 2 AgriInnovation Program. Grain Farmers of Ontario is a founding member of the CFCRA.

Project Start

April 2013

Project End

March 2018

Objectives

  • Development of winter wheat germplasm with increased resistance to Fusarium head blight (FHB) and other diseases and stress tolerance for Eastern Canada.
  • Development of high yielding hard red winter wheat varieties with grain concentrations low in deoxynivalenol (DON) and high in protein.
  • Development of high yielding soft winter wheat varieties with increased resistance to diseases and pre-harvest sprouting (PHS).
  • Monitoring of Fusarium graminearum populations (15-ADON and 3-ADON chemotypes) across different wheat growing areas in Ontario and investigate their ability to produce mycotoxins.

Impact

  • The development of winter wheat with higher yield potential, good quality and Fusarium resistance will provide growers with a higher financial return and industry and consumers will benefit from wheat with lower DON level.
  • The improved understanding of the role of plant height, nitrogen requirements, and lodging resistance in breeding hard winter wheat with high protein and increased yield will lead to more quality hard red winter wheat produced in Ontario will lower transportation cost of bringing wheat to millers and bakers from other regions of Canada.
  • The development of new QTLs for FHB resistance, FDK level, DON accumulation and agronomic characteristics in winter wheat populations will lead to the breeding of winter wheat lines with good diseases resistance and yield for Eastern Canada.

Scientific Summary

Winter wheat is an important crop in Eastern Canada. Increased yield and better quality of wheat can be achieved by the improvement of resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. The most important winter wheat disease in Ontario is Fusarium head blight (FHB) caused by a fungus Fusarium graminearum. Good correlation between FHB visual symptoms and deoxynivalenol (DON) is reported in some studies but poor correlation in other studies. Higher correlation is reported between Fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) and DON level.

In this project, mapping populations from two crosses between a FHB resistant parent and a FHB susceptible parent were used and they were phenotyped for FHB severity and FGB incidence across different environments. In addition, these mapping populations will be used to identify QTLs for FHB index, FDK level and DON accumulation using high-density SNP arrays. A shift in the presence of two Fusarium graminearum(FG) chemotypes, 15-ADON and 3-ADON, have been reported in North America. We have been monitoring FG populations across Ontario, because the shift may influence current FHB management strategies. Combining resistance to multiple diseases and tolerance to abiotic stresses such as winter hardiness, lodging resistance, the length of the grain-fill period and resistance to pre-harvest sprouting in a single cultivar is difficult. In this project, we evaluated green leaf duration across four environments in a double haploid (DH) soft red winter wheat population using green seeker. In addition to resistance to different stresses, agronomic and quality characteristics need to be incorporated into registered winter wheat in Canada.

Effect of herbicide-fungicide tankmixes on winter wheat injury and yield 2012-2015

Principal Investigator

Peter Sikkema

Research Institution

University of Guelph

Project Start

March 2012

Project End

February 2015

Objectives

  • Identify herbicide-fungicide tankmixes that cause visible injury to winter wheat.
  • Determine the impact of herbicide-fungicide tank mixtures on winter wheat yield and moisture content.
  • Develop recommendations regarding safe herbicide-fungicide tank mixtures for Ontario winter wheat growers.

Impact

  • The validation that there is an adequate margin of crop safety in wheat to the POST application of three new herbicides – Refine M, Trophy and Peak + Pardner – allows farmers to have more options for weed management.
  • The validation that it is safe to apply a herbicide (Refine M, Trophy and Peak + Pardner) with a fungicide (Twinline, Stratego, Quilt and Acapela) for weed and disease control in one-pass will allow farmers to use an integrated option that will provide control of weeds and diseases and improve crop production efficiency.

Scientific Summary

Disclaimer: The information presented here does not constitute a recommendation by the researcher or Grain Farmers of Ontario. Always read and follow the pesticide label before use. Always ensure that you have the most current label.

Weed control and disease management are two management considerations in winter wheat production. For weed management, growers often use postemergence (POST) application herbicides for the control of grass and broadleaf weeds in winter wheat. For disease management, growers often use single or multiple POST applications of fungicides such as Twinline, Stratego, Quilt and Acapela. Although application timing of these POST herbicides and fungicides often coincides, currently, no combination of herbicide and fungicide are labelled for use in winter wheat grown in Ontario. Co-application of POST herbicides with fungicides would allow growers to reduce the number of passes through the field, reduce fuel and labor costs, wear and tear on machinery, soil compaction, as well as mechanical damage to the crop. There are no published data on the effect of co-application of Puma Advance, Peak + Pardner and Trophy with Twinline, Stratego, Quilt and Acapela on winter wheat under Ontario environmental conditions. In addition, information on compatibility of these herbicides with fungicides is very important to winter wheat growers as incompatibility in the tank can result in significant crop and equipment damage as well as reduction in weed and disease control. More research is needed to identify herbicides and fungicides tankmixes that provide consistent control of problem weeds and diseases while providing adequate margin of crop safety in winter wheat.

The objective of this research was to determine if the addition of Twinline, Stratego, Quilt and Acapela to Puma Advance, Peak + Pardner and Trophy results in an increase injury and a decrease in winter wheat height and yield. Three new herbicides (Refine M, Trophy and Peak + Pardner) were evaluated in combination with four fungicides (Twinline, Stratego, Quilt and Acapela) at six field studies at the Ridgetown Campus of University of Guelph, Ridgetown, Ontario in 2012, 2013 and 2014 (two trials each year). A non-treated control was included for comparison. Estimates of crop injury were evaluated on a scale of 0 to 100% at 1, 2, 4 and 8 weeks after treatment (WAT). At 7 days after treatment, there was minimal visible crop injury of 1.7, 0.25 and 0.5% with Refine M, Trophy and Peak + Pardner, respectively. Similarly, the fungicides, Twinline, Stratego, Quilt and Acapela caused 0.0, 0.3, 0.3 and 0.5% visible crop injury, respectively. The level of wheat injury with the herbicide/fungicide combinations did not increase appreciably. The injury observed decreased was transient with no visible crop injury at 28 and 56 days after application. The herbicide, fungicide and herbicide/fungicide combinations did not have an appreciable effect on winter wheat height, maturity (as indicated by moisture content at harvest) or yield in these studies. Based on these results, herbicides and fungicides at the rates evaluated can be tankmixed if co-application of herbicides and a fungicide is desired. The combination of herbicides and fungicides could provide winter wheat growers with an integrated option that will provide control of weeds and diseases and improve crop production efficiency.

2011 Winter Wheat Performance trial results online!

GUELPH, ON (August 30, 2011) – Ontario Winter Wheat Performance Trial information is now available online at www.GoCereals.ca, a website developed by the Ontario Cereal Crops Committee (OCCC) that features the 2011 Winter Wheat Performance trials.

This year 33 varieties were entered in the performance trials, from 10 different distributors.  The trials include winter wheat varieties from all four classes searchable both geographically and by production traits.  The complete report containing full performance trial data laid out in chart format can be downloaded and printed from the website.

“The trials conducted across Ontario act as a vital resource for Ontario farmers when selecting wheat varieties for the upcoming crop year. In addition to yield, the trials report findings on test weight, protein level, Fusarium head blight, septoria and other diseases.” says Martin Harry, chair of OCCC.

To ensure this information is widely available in a timely manner, the performance trials will be presented through a webinar hosted by the OCCC and Grain Farmers of Ontario on September 1 at 8:30 am.  Grain Farmers of Ontario manager of research and market development, Crosby Devitt, will moderate the online seminar. Members of the Ontario Cereal Crop Committee will be on camera to provide comments about the growing season and to describe the performance trials and their results.   These members include Martin Harry, OCCC Chair, Ellen Sparry, OCCC Winter Wheat Coordinator, and Peter Johnson, OMAFRA’s Provincial Cereal Specialist. Farmers and industry representatives can access the webinar live to view the discussion and send in their questions. To register for the webinar, send your name and email address to info@gfo.ca. If you aren’t able to tune in live, the recorded webinar will be available after the event on www.gfo.ca and www.gocereals.ca.

For a printed copy of the final report please call the OMAFRA Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or call the Grain Farmers of Ontario office at 1-800-265-0550. Printed copies will also be available at upcoming Grain Farmers of Ontario events, including the Grain Farmers of Ontario annual general meeting, Outdoor Farm Show and the International Plowing Match.

The Ontario Cereal Crop Performance Trials are coordinated by the Ontario Cereal Crops Committee (OCCC) and its members include representatives of farmers, seed growers, seed industry, researchers and government.  

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.