How to Choose a Varietal Blend

Do you know that the VB behind varieties such as AC™ Conquer VB and Goodeve VB stands for varietal blend? This indicates to a farmer the seed he is buying contains 10% of a blended variety, which is a susceptible midge refuge. The refuge is very important to make sure the midge have something else to feed off of, so there is no breakdown in the midge tolerance gene in the variety.

Midge tolerance is based on a single gene, and it took researchers over 15 years to move this gene into wheat. The refuge system could greatly extend the life of this source of midge tolerance. Everyone has a role to play to preserve midge tolerance. There is NO plan B!

Choosing the midge refuge in a variety takes time, effort and finesse. Here are the four things we consider when looking for the right refuge:

  1. Seed Size – The seed size of both varieties must be very similar. It would be very difficult for a seed cleaner to effectively clean the variety if there is a big difference in seed size.
  2. Maturity Rating – The maturity of both varieties must also be close, so the entire crop matures at a similar time.
  3. Plant Height – Probably less important than seed size and maturity, but still an important consideration.
  4. Availability – A variety might meet all three of the other factors, but if no seed growers are growing it anymore, there won’t be supply available for blending.

CANTERRA SEEDS’ two midge tolerant varieties are AC™ Conquer VB (refuge = 5701PR) and the new hard red spring variety BW485 (refuge = Carberry).

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