How to pick the best durum variety for your farm

January 31, 2021 | Kelly Barany, Chin Ridge Seeds

In the durum belt of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, there are a few key factors to consider in choosing a durum for your farm.

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AAC Stronghold durum from 2020 crop year.

Here are some of the questions I usually ask when customers call about durum:

1) Are you seeding this durum on dryland or irrigation? And if on irrigation will you be using a growth regulator? Will the land be heavily manured or fertilized?

Our key concern here is lodging. A few of our durums are taller and could end up lodging badly in high fertility situations. We would want you to stay away from those varieties unless you are using a growth regulator.

The varieties we would recommend on irrigation are AAC Stronghold - a high yielding solid stem variety that has very strong straw strength or AAC Spitfire Durum which is a nice high yielding variety that will stand well under irrigation. If you are really pushing fertilizer on irrigation, the Spitfire might out yield the Stronghold, but Stronghold should stand better and may provide a nicer quality sample. Stronghold also threshes very well, so it is nice to handle.

2) Are you seeding this durum on dryland? Do you have any sawfly issues? How dry are you this year? What's the moisture outlook?

So if sawfly is a possible issue, we try to steer customers to a solid stem durum. This is again where AAC Stronghold would be a great choice. Our AAC Stronghold was outstanding last year on dryland and broke some farm yield records for us- but we did have 9 or more inches of rain during the season.

Under normal dryer conditions, we might suggest you go with AC Transcend. It has been an excellent durum variety over the years and provides a beautiful grain sample and has the best fusarium rating of all our durum varieties.

Under quite dry conditions, we would recommend our AAC Congress durum. This variety is known for doing well under dryer conditions and provides a nice quality durum sample as well.

So those are some of our key considerations for recommending a durum variety to our customers.

Below is a listing of our current durum varieties and how they compare to each other.

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And fyi, we have some really great looking new durum varieties that will be released next year so watch for those to be available fall 2021!