Northern Adapted Flax Project: To develop Flax and NuLin varieties better adapted to the short and mid season zones of the prairies To determine the best agronomic practices for these varieties
NAF Project Administered by SaskFlax Confirmed funding: $1,907.437 (63%) SaskFlax$250,000 SaskFlax$ 75,000 (in-kind administration) BCGPA$ 60,000 (in-kind plots) CAAP-Ag Council of SK$500,000 Saskatchewan ADF$150,000 Alberta Research Council$101,100 Viterra $771,337 Still required: $1,105,000
Research Partner Network Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada - Melfort Cecil Vera - breeding and agronomy trials Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures Dr. Jan Slaski – head up agronomy research BC Grain Producers Association Clair Langlois - breeding trials Viterra Flax Research Team - breeding
Flax is not well adapted to the North Is not selected for tolerance to cold soils or spring frosts Historically is a later sown crop Some varieties can start reflowering under cool, wet autumn conditions (indeterminate) Some varieties have stems that seem to stay green long after the bolls are ripe Flax is late maturing in the north Flax has late and sometimes challenging harvests
Martin Moore, BC Grain Producer Some 15 years ago, Argentine canola was seen as a crop out of reach for most northern prairie regions as it was too long seasoned a crop. It was a risky crop in the north. Now Argentine canola is high yielding and matures on the tails of Polish canola. Flax is where canola was 15 years ago and even with half the effort Argentine canola received, the same explosion of progress can be expected in flax.
Northern Prairies Flax requires more growing degree days to mature Barley….1269……………...79% of flax Canola…1432 …………..…89% of flax Oats……1483………….…...93% of flax Wheat…1538……….………96% of flax Flax……1603……………..100% of flax Miller, Lanier & Brandt, 2001 Using Growing Degree Days to Predict Plant Stages. The Challenge
Northern Prairies The northern prairies have less growing degree days Peace River…….……1702 GDD (106%) Vegreville…………….1793 GDD (112%) Melfort………………..1856 GDD (116%) Saskatoon……………1932 GDD (121%) Morden…………….….2174 GDD (136%) 1603 growing degree days (GDD) required for flax 17-18% of the GDD from May 1 st – May 31 st 2007 data from Environment Canada The Challenge
Northern Prairies Flax has a challenging life cycle 45-60 day vegetative period 15-25 day flowering period 30-40 day maturation period Total requirement; 90-125 days Canola has a shorter vegetative period and a longer flowering period (Brandt). The Challenge
Northern Prairies Cooler climate enhances oil quality 1.Higher omega-3 fats (linolenic) 2.Higher iodine value of the oil (faster drying oil) 3.Lower total saturated fats Better Quality
Northern Prairies Cooler climate enhances oil quality 1.Higher omega-3 fats (ALA). 2.Higher iodine value of the oil (faster drying oil) 3.Lower total saturated fats 2009 CRT Data CDC Bethune ALA….IV….Sat Lake Lenore59.9…199…7.4 Regina56.1…193…7.8 Difference 3.8…..6…..0.4 Quality…
Northern Prairies Cooler climate enhances oil quality 1.Higher omega-3 fats (ALA). 2.Higher iodine value of the oil (faster drying oil) 3.Lower total saturated fats 2009 CRT Data CDC BethuneNuLin 50ALA….IV….Sat Lake Lenore59.9…199…7.472.6…219…6.7 Regina56.1…193…7.868.8…213…7.2 Difference 3.8…..6…..0.4 3.8......6…..0.5 Quality…
Northern Adapted Flax Project 1.For the first time in history, a major flax breeding program is located in the northern prairies (Vegreville). 2.Vegreville climate is cooler, shorter frost free period, longer days (photoperiod response) 3.The Viterra flax program is in the zone and should be successful in developing flax varieties for the north 4.With support, Viterra will focus up to 50% of its flax R&D program to this project. Location,Location,Location
Northern Flax Project Breeding Strategies 1. Improve cool soil germination /seedling frost tolerance (need to extend growing season by earlier seeding) Our 2009 nursery at Vegreville was sown from May 6 th to May 15 th. Soil was cool (~5 o C) and conditions got colder May 10 th -2.5May 20 th -0.7June 2 nd -1.5 May 12 th -2.5May 21 st -2.5June 6 th -3.1 May 13 th -3.4May 22 nd -5.8June 8 th -2.0 May 14 th -1.9May 23 nd -0.9June 9 th -1.8 May 18 th -2.3May 29 th -0.4
Northern Flax Project Breeding Strategies 2. Select daylength sensitive lines to trigger early maturity 8-17 days earlier than CDC Bethune
Northern Flax Project Breeding Strategies 3. Identify determinate lines (will not start reflowering in response to autumn rains).
Northern Flax Project Breeding Strategies 4. Identify lines with stems that turn brown when bolls mature
Northern Flax Project Breeding Work New flax lines will be developed by Viterra based on elite germplasm and PGRC early maturing accessions Flax lines with northern characteristics will be selected at the Vegreville nursery and then field evaluated at Melfort AAFC, Fort St. John, BC and Vegreville, AB. Breeding deliverables…in the first 5 years, up to 50,000 nursery rows, up to 5000 F 5 full plots, up to 600 F 6 lines in preliminary yield trials and up to 200 F 7 lines in advanced yield trials will be generated and evaluated.
Northern Flax Project Agronomy Work Agronomy is also required to identify best management practices for growing flax in the northern prairies Dr. Jan Slaski (ARC) and Cecil Vera (Melfort AAFC) Need to revisit impact of agronomy in the north -variety, tillage, seeding date, seeding rate, seeding depth, seed treatment, fertilizer, weed management
Northern Flax Project Conclusions This project will take 10 years to complete. Breeding for northern adaptation is a process and not an event. It will take many cycles of evaluation, hybridization, selection, evaluation, hybridization, selection, etc to be successful. The plan is to fix four northern traits; improved cold soil/seedling frost tolerance, determinate boll maturity, synchronous stem ripening, and a suite of maturity options in high yielding varieties. The plan is to also develop a set of best management practices to accompany these new varieties.