21 Advancing Seed in Alberta | fall.2017 investment in canola genomics, pre-breeding new lines and sources of disease resistance. “I think it’s important to have a balance of public and private investment,” he notes. However, in his view, this does not apply in cases where there are multiple private companies competing to provide similar seed that meet farmers’ needs. “In that situation, there is little justification to continue public investment in variety development, and public investment is better to shift to a more basic, longer-term approach to ensure the genetic variability is available for the future,” Morgan Jones says. “At the same time, there is no doubt that using current methodology, the current private focus of developing hybrid wheat varieties will be more expensive to produce and market, and the extra performance will have to be very evident for farmers to be motivated to spend more on the seed.” Moving Forward In terms of how private and public wheat breeding will play out in the coming years, Graf would like to see germplasm exchange encouraged and simplified. “Germplasm is the ‘life-blood’ of plant breeding, and if we are to meet the challenging requirements of the future, we need to work together, building on each other’s successes,” he says. According to Jones, for germplasm exchange to to work effectively, it requires breeders who receive material to reciprocate with others. “Some universities in the U.S. strictly control their germplasm and want a share of any future revenues that may result from their germplasm being used in future crosses. This tends to limit exchange of germplasm. In the case of wheat in Canada, the best germplasm is currently held by public plant breeders, although this may change in the longer term as private companies invest more in wheat.” Graf also believes the current strong, transparent and merit- based registration system should continue, with its balanced approach to sector requirements that include disease and pest resistance. He says it works for the benefit of the entire industry and it encourages quick uptake of new cultivars because there is less risk to the entire value chain, from the pedigreed seed producer to the commercial farmer and end-use customer. Morgan Jones, however, thinks the current process of government-controlled variety registration adds years to the time a new variety could be released to the industry. He suggests the possibility of a hybrid registration system, where a producer could get very early access to advanced breeder lines in which traits were reliably expressed, and work with a grain company to commercially test them. The farmer and grain company would jointly take the risk and in some cases the breeding line would be rejected, but the ones that were successful would likely be able to be commercialized two to three years sooner. Whatever the future holds, Graf believes there will always be a need for public breeding. For example, he says there has been little private interest in developing new durum varieties, minor spring wheat classes or winter wheat, so public breeding of these classes will therefore need to continue if the industry sees value in Canadian production of these commodities. Treena Hein A CSGA Member since 1946 Treating of Cereal Seeds and Pulses Available Inoculation of Pulses Available NorthStar Genetics Soybeans sold here! 54174 Range Rd. 225 Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta T8L 3Z9 E-Mail: gallseed@gallowayseeds.com | Bus. (780) 998-3036 | Fax (780) 998-1288 Contact Jim Galloway, Dan Visser (CCA) or Dave King to book seed. Website: www.gallowayseeds.com | @gallowayseeds BARLEY: CDC Coalition CDC Copeland CDC Austenson CDC Thompson CANOLA: Roundup Ready Liberty Link PEAS: AAC Barrhead (NEW) CDC Limerick CDC Saffron CDC Amarillo CDC Greenwater (NEW) FABABEANS: Snowbird Snowdrop WINTER WHEAT: Radiant Moats HYBRID RYE WHEAT: AAC Connery AAC Penhold AAC Redwater AAC Brandon AAC Viewfield (NEW) CDC Landmark VB (NEW) Muchmore CDC Plentiful Stettler