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University of Manitoba Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Department of Plant Science

Organic Wheat
Breeding Project

By Anne Kirk

Organic farmers currently depend upon varieties of wheat bred for conventional farming systems. Organic breeding programs provide a large benefit to organic farmers. This is because of major differences between organic and conventional farming, such as soil fertility, and weed, disease, and pest control.

This spring (2005) an F4 (fourth generation) nursery of wheat lines was planted in Carman under organic management. Previous generations of this wheat were grown in New Zealand and at Carman, MB. Approximately 2800 lines of wheat were planted this year, and about 10% of the lines will be selected to be advanced through the breeding program.

Throughout the summer I will be looking for lines with traits such as the ability to withstand in-crop harrowing, and the ability to suppress weeds.

Organic Wheat Breeding Video (10.5 MB; runs 7 minutes)

Organic wheat nursery at Carman, MB.
Unharrowed (left) and harrowed (right) wheat plots.
Harrowing wheat plots at Carman, MB on June 6, 2005.
Harrowing wheat plots.

Copyright and Liability

This page created June 2005.