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Research Project

Developing new high yield wheat varieties (CPS and GP), for milling, the animal feed and ethanol industry in Alberta

AWC contribution: $250,000

Start date: April1, 2014                                                         
End date: February 28, 2019


This proposal provides stable funding to the high yield spring wheat breeding program at the UofA, supporting the long-term objectives of developing cultivars with high yield, early maturity and disease resistance. This funding is needed to provide wheat lines for the Albertan sectors of animal feed and ethanol production and support to the only CPS breeding program in Alberta.


  1. To identify and develop new varieties of high-yielding wheat (CPS and GP) with high-grain and starch-yield potential (along with early maturity, disease resistance and agronomic adaptability) in Alberta, for the milling (CPS), ethanol and animal feed industries
  2. To train and educate postgraduate students in plant breeding / agronomy / statistics and related disciplines. These students will graduate to productive roles in agriculture in the coming years.

Benefit to producers:

A stream of breeding lines will be entered into the COOP trials and both public and private (closed loop) release of CPS and GP cultivars for Alberta producers with genetically-enhanced yield and starch potential for the ethanol and animal feel industries. Within five years it is anticipated that there will be a line in COOP trials which is equal to or 5 % higher-yielding than AC Andrew Soft White Spring, with 2 days earlier maturity and greater resistance to Stripe Rust and Fusarium head blight. This program will also graduate 3 new highly trained professionals.


Dean Spaner is a Wheat Breeder and Professor at the U of A, and has been since January 2001. During that time, Dean's program has registered 3 CWRS cultivars (in various stages of commercialization), graduated 20 PhD and MSc students (presently working in various agricultural scientific posts in Alberta, western Canada, and globally) and published over 80 refereed scientist articles pertaining to studies on wheat genetics, agronomy and breeding. Dean is appreciative of the support he has received for his program from producers.


Project Completion Report

The overall objectives of this research were to develop new Hard Red spring wheat cultivars selected for growth in Alberta, and to educate graduate and post-graduate students in this field for the Alberta Industry. The original goal of this project to was to provide salaries for one technician and one Research Associate to support the breeding program in the long-term manner required to achieve the long-term objectives of developing cultivars with high yield, early maturity and disease resistance to serve the needs of the animal feed and ethanol production sectors.

At the end of this five-year project, we registered one CNHR cultivar (Sheba) which was later changed to (a high yielding) CWRS cultivar. We have two very good lines in third and final year of cooperative registration trials, HY2082 for the CPS class, and NH050 in the CNHR class. NH050 was the highest yielding line, 9% higher yielding than Foray, after two years in the high yield (CPS) cooperative test. We moved it to the CNHR cooperative test for 2019 as a 2+1 final year entry after it was flagged for dough strength in 2018. HY2082 is only 1% higher yielding than Foray but is very short with very good straw strength and could become a fine CPS cultivar with very good quality.

In addition, we have developed another CPS line in second year of registration trials (HY2099), 3 CPS, 2 CNHR and 2 SP lines in first year of registration trials. We are also entering over 20 lines in B-level testing of SP and CPS lines in 2019. We also have a large number of crosses and populations (over 200) in different stages of development from the F2 to the F7, as crosses, populations and head rows.