There are a number of research projects at the Field Crop Development Centre in Lacombe focusing on winter triticale, spring triticale and winter wheat.
With winter wheat, we are working on breeding new high-yielding varieties that are resistant to stripe rust and snow mould, says winter wheat and triticale breeder Mazen Aljarrah. The major use of winter wheat is for feeding animals here in Alberta, so we re trying to improve the quality for them.
He says the main aim of the winter triticale research is on improving winter hardiness, early maturity, seed quality and ergot resistance. Winter triticale is showing a high level of resistance to most of the foliar diseases except to ergot. We re trying to transfer the flowering mechanism from winter wheat to triticale to help with this.
Like winter triticale, spring triticale is also showing a high degree of disease resistance. As such, Aljarrah says the main focus of research is on the crop s maturity, and expanding the list of earlier-maturing varieties.
There is also a potential use for triticale in ethanol production, notes Aljarrah. We d like to get a special kind of starch that is needed into triticale. We ve got several lines that are in the advanced stage to try and do this.