SPOKANE — Limagrain Cereal Seeds has proven its ability to provide yield to wheat farmers and higher quality will follow, company executives say.
“Breeding for field performance is actually a lot easier than breeding for end-use performance,” chief operating officer Frank Curtis said. “It takes longer to finesse the correct parameters you need to produce high quality. As the program matures, the quality is going to get better and better.”
“We’re seven years into this now — we have lots of options and diversity to choose from that we didn’t have the first couple of years,” said Jim Peterson, vice president for research for the farmer-owned and -operated international agricultural cooperative. “It’s a fundamental building block for everything we do.”
The company’s strengths stood out over the past year, Peterson said, with top performance in several market classes and precipitation zones in the Pacific Northwest.
“The material’s performing, just like as scripted,” Peterson said. “The strength of that portfolio is only growing now. That’s the satisfaction of being a competitive breeder. That’s what you want to see, that your decisions are right (and) making sense. We’re there.”
New CEO Tatiana Henry said her priorities for growers are to increase their profitability and yields in the U.S., which is not yet at the level of European varieties. She started in July in the U.S., after working as CEO of field seeds in Ukraine and Russia. She has been with Limagrain for 15 years.
The company’s new varieties include:
LCS Shark: The soft white winter wheat fits in SY Ovation areas, Curtis said, is short-strawed, high-yielding and resistant to soil-borne wheat mosaic virus.
LCS Sonic: The soft white winter wheat is a dryland variety, slated for foundation seed and registered seed increases this year and certified seed next year. It is the top-yielding variety in low rainfall zones, Curtis said, and shorter than Norwest Duet, has resistance to PCH1 strawbreaker foot rot and is winter hardy.
“We think this variety can go a lot further north than any introduction we’ve had so far,” Curtis said.
LCS Hulk: The company expects broad adaptation for the soft white winter wheat. It’s shorter than LCS Sonic, has stiff straw and was designed for dryland but performs well in all production zones. It consistently has one of the highest test weights in trials, Curtis said.
LCS Rocket: The hard red winter wheat has stiff straw, yield potential similar to LCS Jet, helps diversify growers’ acreage and has improved disease resistance.
LCS Fusion AX: The hard red winter wheat variety is part of the CoAXium production system, in collaboration with the Colorado Wheat Research Foundation and Albaugh LLC. It’s designed for dryland regions. It is, however, susceptible to stripe rust, Curtis said.