The Prairie Grain Development Committee held its annual meeting in Banff last week.

Committees evaluated potential new breeding variety lines and recommended the best of the best for registration.

This year the Pulse and Special Crops Committee recommended 16 new lentil lines, 13 pea lines, 5 faba bean and 5 dry bean lines for registration.

Dr. Glen Hawkins, a Senior Manager and Agronomist with DL Seeds, chairs that committee and says there's some great potential coming forward.

Out of the new breeding lines recommended for registration, Limagrain put forward twelve new lentil lines and five pea lines.

Limagrain registered six small red lentils, three large green, one French green, one extra small red and one small green along with five pea lines one green and four yellow.

Hawkins says the breeding organizations that put forward those lines will now be looking for someone to licence and grow that variety.

"There's a couple of things that play into that. You know, what's their merit, and how quickly are organizations out there that sell seed looking to replace aging varieties? How quickly can they get those agreements in place and then it comes down to how much seed is available?"

Seed companies that take on the registration will be multiplying the seed in order to have enough supply to meet the demand, and that could take another three to five years before they will be available for commercial use by farmers.

Once seed supplies are sufficient to move to commercial use one of the challenges is trying to convince farmers to try the new varieties.

He points out that CDC Meadow is still one of the most highly grown yellow pea varieties in Western Canada and it's at least 15 plus years old. 

"My rebuttal to that is we've made some huge advances in genetics, standability, yield and protein content in the last ten years and I really urge farmers to have a look at that."

He also recommends that farmers look at the variety trial results and the information in the seed guides in helping to determine what varieties hold the most potential on their farm.

To hear Glenda-Lee's conversation with Dr. Glen Hawkins click on the link below.