The Growth Potential of Triticale in Western Canada - Introduction

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 A review of the current status and future potential of triticale in W. Canada was conducted by GrainTek as a consulting project for the Government of Alberta (Alberta Agriculture, Food & Rural Development). This study reviewed past triticale production patterns worldwide, the genetic breeding basis that supports current variety release in Canada, and the extent of varietal adaptation to W. Canadian conditions, in comparison to other adapted W. Canadian grains. The review included assessment of triticale use for feed, forage, silage, human food, nutraceutical and industrial applications, not all of which have developed into Canadian markets at this time.

The study used a number of approaches to access information, including literature reviews, government, industry and other publications, proceedings of international conferences, discussions with cereal breeders (including triticale breeders), crop specialists and seed growers, and surveys directed to designated groups to obtain special information. Other approaches included very extensive searches on the web, and numerous phone calls. Opportunities were also taken for discussions with attendees at the CSGA (Alberta Branch) meeting in Edmonton (January 2001), at the Cereal and Oilseed Advisory meeting in Lacombe (December 2000), and at the Prairie Registration Recommending Committee for Grain in Saskatoon (February 2001). Other travel initially anticipated to Saskatchewan and Manitoba was not undertaken, as parties there preferred to provide information by phone or email. Visits were made to API Grain Processors, Red Deer, Alberta, to discuss aspects of ethanol production using grain, and to Progressive Seeds Ltd. to discuss their interests in seed sales of varieties from the Alberta Government breeding program. All discussions were focused on identifying views on the prospects for increasing triticale acreage in W. Canada, and in identifying crop characteristics, or informational and research deficiencies that would hinder further adoption of the crop.

The report is presented in four main sections
Section A describes the scope of the study, and the international and national crop area of triticale. Western Canada grows only approximately 73,000 hectares of the world crop of around 3.9m hectares, although the Canadian area is likely considerably underestimated due to unreported forage production and farmer-run seed use. A major expansion of Canadian use occurred in 1998 and 1999, probably associated with an increasing crop use for forage and silage.

The Growth Potential of Triticale in Western Canada: Section A - Scope and Purpose

Section B reviews the two Canadian breeding programs, and recommends breeding priorities for the future. It strongly recommends continuation of both breeding programs, especially for silage and other forage applications, and for swine feed use.
The Growth Potential of Triticale in Western Canada: Section B - Genetic Basis, Breeding and Varietal Performance of Triticale

Section C, entitled ‘Experience-based, end-user, evaluations of triticale’ has 10 sub-sections. The first three report findings from a seed-grower survey, from discussions with Alberta and other crop specialists, and from a mini-review about Canadian triticale use, conducted by a visiting student working at AAFC, Swift Current in 1999. The remaining sub-sections individually review use for feed, for forage (including a survey of several triticale silage users), for flour-based food products, for fractionation to identify value-added grain components, and for ethanol fuel production. Following discussion and evaluation in each of these categories, specific recommendations are made for each, that could help in alleviating obstacles to adoption for that particular use.
The Growth Potential of Triticale in Western Canada: Section C - Experience-based, End-user, Evaluations of Triticale

Section D considers all other issues seen as important for trticale, and presents discussion of the marketing difficulties related to non-approved ‘brown-bagged’ seed use (which seriously compromises bona fide seed sales), and a novel approach for assessing higher revenues from check-offs on cleaned seed, proposed by a seed company. A substantial number of recommendations are made about methods that can be used to improve producer knowledge about this crop, which, as with the animal feed industry, is generally at a low level. An optimistic view about the ability to increase triticale acreage is made in this report, based on the extensive review of all related factors. A target to double the acreage within three years is seen as achievable, given action on many of the recommendations.
The Growth Potential of Triticale in Western Canada: Section D - Other Issues for Triticale

Over 60 individual recommendations are made in this report. Of these, four are dominant, and ‘over-arching’:

1. Producers, processors and feeders all lack access to a fully informative, reliable source of Canadian information about this crop and its potential for forage, feed and other uses, which provides localized data relevant to their needs. Information about triticale is hard to find, or is outdated or limited in scope. A major 2-year effort to establish a central information site for the crop is needed, including website technology, combined with an expansion of prairie-wide meetings to describe the value of this crop as a forage and as a feed for monogastric animals. The value of triticale use in the context of highly manured cropping systems, as a disease cycle breaker in intensive cereal cropping systems, and as a reliable forage or grain supplier in times of drought stress has not been fully brought to the attention of the potential users. Also, in this time of increasing demand for forage and feed to meet the needs of rapidly increasing livestock numbers, the potential benefit from the higher grain and forage yields of triticale compared to other crops has not been fully exploited. A renewed and expanded extension program that describes the potential benefits of triticale must do this in the context of its potential to contribute to sustainable cropping, animal feeding and agricultural management systems, not just on the merits of the yield potential, or as a low cost feed.

2. Some basic research using the improved new varieties for W. Canada is needed to build a more valid feed data base for use in feed formulations. Much of the earlier Canadian data is based on old varieties which had deficiencies in test weight and other factors that are generally no longer a problem. Extensive use of research conducted at production scale commercial facilities is recommended, to answer some of the outstanding questions about triticale use for silage, and for swine and poultry feedgrain. A specific market demand for trticale grain for cattle feed is not expected to develop, nor is it expected to contribute significantly to triticale acreage expansion.

3. The scope for expanded acreage for silage use is seen as the greatest opportunity, although to support this, there needs to be some applied-use studies completed that investigate the optimum time of cutting, the optimum cut size for triticale silage, and studies of feed acceptance. Agronomic studies to look at region specific use of spring or winter types in mixtures (spring/winter mixtures, mixtures with other cereals, or mixtures with legumes e.g. peas) need to be completed, as well as feed acceptability studies of those mixtures.

4. Internationally, triticale is used as a preferred feed for swine because of its excellent energy and protein quality profile, which allows for less use of high priced protein supplementation. This use has not yet been extensively adopted in W.Canada, but is now starting. Extension and production unit research and demonstration is needed in Canada to expand this use of triticale grain for swine, to catch up with the technology adoption on this front that has already happened elsewhere. Impact of this approach would probably be greatest in the grain grower - processor - feeder enterprises, which are abundant throughout W. Canada, offering large potential for acreage expansion. Benefits of triticale production on highly manured lands can also be captured in this grain production scenario.

A summary report of the complete set of recommendations is presented in a separate report entitled ‘Summary recommendations from a study on the growth potential of triticale in W. Canada’. Each of the individual recommendations is discussed at length in this main report. In addition, an extensive bibliography relating to each of the discussed topics is also included in this main report.

Acknowledgements and disclaimer
The information and opinions expressed in this report were compiled from the literature and from interviews and meetings with many persons in W. Canada and elsewhere involved with Triticale production, processing or consumption. The author accepts responsibility for any errors or omissions in the representation of these sources. GrainTek also acknowledges with thanks the many inputs from the following persons, without whose in-depth knowledge the report would be much less informative. Many others also contributed, but their names are not listed, at their request:

Daryl Dimitrik (Man. Agric. and Food); Jill DeMulder (AAFRD); Murray McLelland (AAFRD); Trevor Schoff (AAFRD); Ron Hockridge (AAFRD); Curtis Weeks (AAFRD); Graham Ogilvie (Progressive Seeds Ltd); Dr. Jim Helm (AAFRD); Dr. Don Salmon (AAFRD); Dr. Grant McLeod (AAFC, Swift Current); Tracy Knowles (API, Red Deer); Rick Corbett (AAFRD); Dr. Doug Korver (AFNS, University of Alberta); Dr. Willem Sauer (AFNS, University of Alberta); Dr. Zenon Kondra (Miracom, Carstairs); Dr. Mirza Baig; Dr. Linda Hall (AAFRD); Dr. Gary Mathison (AFNS, University of Alberta); Dr. John Kennelly (AFNS, University of Alberta); Emily Samoil (AARI); Peter Dzikowski (AARI); Dr. Don Milligan (Beef specialist, AAFRD); Dave Struthers (Winter Cereals Canada); Many respondents to the feed industry and silage use questionnaires, and respondents to other letters and emails (not all listed here).

I wish to thank the many triticale seed growers and marketers who shared their extensive experience with this crop by completing a questionnaire, and in conversations with myself. These included Len Solick, Greg Herle, Rex Cunningham, Edwin Kiffiak, Leo Meyer, Mel Stickland, Glen Goertzen, Allan Hardy, Leonard Haney, Patrick Fabian, Sulo Luoma, Marvin Nakonechny, Bryan Corns, Dan Michener, and Richard Nordstrom. Other contributing seed growers are also thanked, who chose not to be specifically acknowledged here.

Report prepared March 2001


Other Documents in the Series

  The Growth Potential of Triticale in Western Canada - Introduction - Current Document
The Growth Potential of Triticale in Western Canada: Report Summary
The Growth Potential of Triticale in Western Canada: Section A - Scope and Purpose
The Growth Potential of Triticale in Western Canada: Section B - Genetic Basis, Breeding and Varietal Performance of Triticale
The Growth Potential of Triticale in Western Canada: Section C - Experience-based, End-user, Evaluations of Triticale
The Growth Potential of Triticale in Western Canada: Section D - Other Issues for Triticale
The Growth Potential of Triticale in Western Canada: References
The Growth Potential of Triticale in Western Canada: Appendix
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This information published to the web on June 4, 2002.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 23, 2017.