AWC - Funded Research

Development of improved winter wheat cultivars for western Canada

Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) Wheat Cluster Project

AWC Contribution: $290,770

Research conducted by: Dr Robert Graf, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge


The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Lethbridge Research and Development Centre has a long history of developing superior winter wheat cultivars (primarily Canada Western Red Winter) that enhance competitiveness and reduce business risk for the Canadian wheat value chain. This five year project funding (2018/19 to 2022/23) proposes to continue plant breeding activities coordinated from AAFC LeRDC for the development of winter wheat cultivars for all agro-ecological areas of western Canada. To achieve this goal, a well-established, multidisciplinary, pan-Canadian AAFC research team supplemented with key collaborations with personnel at universities and elsewhere will be engaged.  This approach has resulted in the registration of eight improved winter wheat cultivars since 2008: 6 CWRW (Flourish, Emerson, AAC Gateway, AAC Elevate, AAC Wildfire, AAC Goldrush), 1 CWSP (Broadview), and 1 CW EXPERIMENTAL (AAC Icefield) for potentially higher value hard white wheat markets. 

The major component of this project is to continue the development of improved, field-ready winter wheat cultivars of the CWRW wheat class for western Canada by simultaneously targeting higher grain yield and improved lodging resistance while providing a range in acceptable maturity and plant height, maintaining or improving tolerance to abiotic stresses (particularly cold), improved and more durable resistance to diseases (particularly stem rust, leaf rust, stripe rust, Fusarium head blight, and common bunt) and insects (wheat curl mite, wheat stem sawfly), enhanced nutrient and water use efficiency, and end-use quality characteristics that reflect customer demand.


For 2023, register 3 or more improved, field-ready CWRW wheat cultivars for western Canada with 18% higher grain yield than Radiant/CDC Buteo that exhibit good winter survival, short to moderate height, strong straw, high test weight and resistance to the major disease/insect threats specific to each production area including stem rust, leaf rust, stripe rust, fusarium head blight, common bunt, wheat curl mite and wheat stem sawfly.