Oat Breeding

Posted on 04.03.2019 | Last Modified 22.02.2021
Lead Researcher (PI): Aaron Beattie
Institution: University of Saskatchewan
Total WGRF Funding: $106,015
Co-Funders: None
Start Date: 2018
Project Length: 5 Years

To develop improved milling oat varieties for Western Canadian producers.

Project Summary:

In January 2018 the Crop Development Centre (CDC) oat breeding program lost funding from its primary industry funder as a result of re-evaluation of priorities within that company.  In response to this, Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) was able to provide emergency bridge funding to the CDC for the 2018-19 period to maintain the oat breeding program.  The CDC oat program is extremely appreciative of the support received from WGRF.  The bridge funding allowed normal operation of the program, with no loss of critical staff.  Over that time we were able to secure increased funding from the Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission, FP Genetics, Richardson Milling, and Grain Millers, while also establishing new funding from General Mills.  We are also pleased with the support of our 5 year breeding program proposal from Saskatchewan ADF and WGRF.  We look forward to working with WGRF over the next 5 years.


In 2018 seeding began within the oat program on May 7 and was complete by May 23 with few interruptions due to rain.  Stand establishment was good, and despite very hot and dry conditions throughout most of June and July, plots stayed in relatively good condition due to good sub-soil moisture and timely rain.  Between May 1 and August 30 the Saskatoon area received 5.2 inches of precipitation and 1,462 growing degree days (base 5°C).  The 30 year average for Saskatoon is 8.5 inches of precipitation and the 5 year average is 1,348 growing degree days. Overall, oat plots at various locations throughout western Canada were very uniform and provided good data.  Harvest began on August 15 and the warm and dry conditions throughout the month allowed harvest to be completed by September 11 with no frost received prior to completion and only 1 short period of delays due to rain. In general, good data was produced from the 2018 season and all material moved through the program normally.


During the year the oat program made  66 new crosses devoted to target areas like introductions, crown rust resistance, adult plant crown rust resistance, stem rust resistance, earliness, high ?-glucan content, yield, hairless groat, forage and general.  A total of 179 early generation populations were grown in Saskatoon during the summer of 2018 and were sent to our winter nursery for generation advancement in the winter of 2018-19.  Over 12,000 early-generation lines, 2,200 mid-generation lines and nearly 500 advanced generation breeding lines were tested in 2018 throughout western Canada.  Nearly 4,000 lines were tested for reaction to crown rust, stem rust and smut, nearly 29,000 molecular marker data points were obtain for the presence of various crown rust resistance genes, and nearly 30,000 analysis for groat percentage, oil and bet-glucan were obtained.


Highlights of the year include OT3087 was named CDC Endure.  This variety is being marketed by Alliance Seeds. CDC Arborg continues to perform very well in the provincial regional variety trials, it is the top yielding variety in Alberta and Saskatchewan and 2nd highest in Manitoba.  It has already been placed on the Preferred Variety List for General Mills and is undergoing large acreage increase in 2019 for additional plant scale testing with General Mills, Richardson Milling and Grain Millers.  CDC Endure also continues to perform well in the provincial regional variety trials, performing at levels similar to CDC Arborg.