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Changes in Wheat Marketing Could Affect Winter Wheat

25 July 2012

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CANADA - A winter wheat breeder with the University of Manitoba says, in the long term, changes happening in Canada with wheat classes and wheat marketing could prompt changes in winter wheat classes.

Winter cereal growers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan have started harvesting their largest winter wheat crops in years, about 580,000 acres in each province.

Dr Anita Brûlé-Babel, a winter wheat breeder and geneticist with the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, says several changes are happening in the wheat industry right now in Canada and suggests the industry is at a crossroads.

Dr Brûlé-Babel said: "I think, with the changes that are going on with wheat marketing and wheat classes, we might see some changes in classes of winter wheat in the longer term. In the shorter term I don't see a huge amount of changes.

"It always takes time to react to what's going on with marketing and breeding always takes some time as well but I think we can expect to see new varieties coming along that are still very attractive to farmers and that are very well adapted to the prairie conditions that we're working in.

"What happens with quality classes, I think the general purpose class in the winter wheats will still be there because I think there's still demand for a high yield high energy crop for feed and for ethanol purposes.

"The red winter class, as an export market, is still going to be a minor class as far as wheat goes but there may be some opportunities for some other types of end uses for winter wheat in the future.

Dr Brûlé-Babel says it will be interesting and challenging to see where things are going to land.

However she's confident, if they do their research correctly and pay attention to their management, farmers that are interested in growing winter wheat can have very good success with this crop.

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