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New Spring wheat variety shows resistance to fusarium head blight

New Spring wheat variety shows resistance to fusarium head blight

A new durum wheat line offers intermediate resistance to fusarium head blight—a global first.

By Andrew Joseph,

Two Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) durum wheat lines are among the latest offerings with traits to improve yield and combat fungal diseases—DT2009 and DT2005.

Developed by AAFC research scientist and breeder Dr. Yuefeng Ruan (see photo above) of the Swift Current Research and Development Centre, these two new lines are the latest outputs of durum wheat breeding research that leverages genetic technologies to bolster fungal resistance for improved grade protection and yield of durum wheat.

Canadian durum wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. durum) is mostly grown in the semi-arid region of western Canada. Under this environment, the yield production of durum cultivars is different from year to year.

Fusarium head blight (aka FHB) is a fungal disease primarily found in small grain cereals and corn, and infects seeds and diminishes the quality of harvested grains used in food and non-food applications—which is why these new winter wheat lines are fascinating.  

The DT2009 durum line is the first in the world to show an intermediate resistance (IR) response to FHB, while also providing increased yield, straw strength, and protein concentration.

It has been registered as AAC Schrader with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on October 8, 2021, and is marketed by FP Genetics.


  • The first durum line with an intermediate resistance (IR) rating to FHB;
  • High yield similar to Brigade durum wheat;
  • Protein concentration similar to Strongfield durum wheat;
  • Plant height and maturity similar to AAC Cabri durum wheat;
  • Straw strength equal to Brigade;
  • Rated as having “resistance to moderate resistance” to all rusts, including Ug99 stem rust;
  • Showed good drought tolerance and yield under 2021 extreme drought conditions.

DT2005 also demonstrates increased yield and improved Fusarium head blight (FHB) responses over current registered cultivars.


  • Excellent yellow pigment over current cultivars;
  • 2.8 percent higher yield than Brigade with similar protein concentration;
  • Plant height equal to AAC Cabri;
  • Straw strength similar to Brigade;
  • Maturity similar to Strongfield;
  • Resistance to leaf rust, stem rust and stripe rust, and moderate resistance to Ug99 stem rust;
  • Shows improved response to FHB similar to Brigade in overall profile of current cultivars.

Canada is a top global producer of durum wheat—first introduced to Canada in 1910—but has continued to face production challenges owing to its susceptibility to fungal diseases.

“DT2009 will give farmers an option to continually grow durum without the worry of Fusarium Head Blight, and will allow some FHB affected regions to grow durum wheat again,” Dr. Ruan stated.

Dr. Ruan continued: “Thanks to a team effort at AAFC Swift Current, the new line is a breakthrough in the improvement of FHB resistance in durum wheat, which will increase its profitability for farmers. It’s the first and only durum line with the ‘Intermediate’ FHB resistance in Canada—and worldwide to date.”

FHB’s continued presence had pushed its production further west in the Prairies. It is hoped that the two new durum wheat lines will allow for the resumption of its production back to the eastern Prairies, including Manitoba.

Watch the video below to learn more from Dr. Ruan:

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