But it has recently been found that the Sm1 gene is naturally present in most varieties of spring white wheat. And this is a problem because some midges are naturally tolerant to Sm1. An added bonus of the new system is that it serves as a good memory for producers and retailers of the vital need of the trust. “All Midge Tolerant Wheat certified wholesale and retail movements are reserved by seed producers and retailers with a user-friendly interface on MTWSAS,” he says. This situation is crucial because the wheat mid can attack shelters and the level of refuge in agricultural seeds can change dramatically over several generations. For example, in the event of an extremely severe midge infestation, the vulnerable environment could experience a loss of yield of up to 50%. In order to maintain the refuge at the desired level of 10 per cent of the plant population, it is necessary to limit the use of plant-efficient seeds to a certified seed generation. “There`s a value because I find the use of a pesticide on my grain and the costs I can count on myself,” she says. “It`s also very difficult to look for Midge because the window is narrow. When you`re out at night and the wind blows, you won`t see them, and when you have lots of fields, you won`t find them all in time. One of Markert`s clients is Elaine Bellamy, who operates 10,000 hectares near Strathmore, Wheatland County. For them, it makes sense to plant such varieties of midget wheat and respect the hostess agreement. In a spring 2017 survey of more than 1,000 wheat producers in Western Canada, 94.1% of Alberta-Growers agreed that having a trust program was essential to ensure that the effective lifespan of the midge tolerance gene is protected. The survey also found that 95.1 per cent are familiar with the mid-life tolerant wheat trust agreement.
However, the results showed that new producers are less familiar with the agreement than existing producers. “The Sm1 gene is the only known source of midge tolerance,” said Espeseth, whose organization is a broad coalition of breeders, government, seed producers and producer groups. The agreement, in force since the introduction of mid-gene tolerant wheat, has been put online for the 2018 growing season. The first year of monitoring the movements of certified tolerant midge wheat seed from production to the farmer, with a web system, proved to be a success. Midge Tolerant Wheat Stewardship Assurance Site (MTWSAS) is used by seed traders, seed traders and seed producers to create electronically signed stewardship agreements and to book sales transactions. Alberta Agriculture`s 2018 wheat midge forecast says the risk is low in the Peace region and the south, with a higher concern for parts of central Alberta. Sm1 was first identified in sweet varieties of red winter wheat. In the late 1990s, Canadian public producers worked to cross-market the natural ownership of red spring wheat (CWRS and Extra Strong) for the benefit of Western Canadian producers. These first products were launched in the spring of 2010 (AC® Unity VB, AC® Goodeve VB, AC® Glencross VB). Since then, more than 20 varieties of Midge Tolerant Wheat have been registered in many classes, including CWRS, CPSR, CWES, CWAD and GP/SP.
All midge-tolerant wheat is used as a mixture of 90 percent varieties, the tolerant and 10 percent that are not sold. “The new MTWSAS is simple and technologically advanced,” says Ed Mazurkewich, business development consultant at AgCall, the developer and host of the new dealer-controlled platform. Everyone who has grown Midge Tolerant Wheat knows Sm1, the only gene responsible for half-time tolerance. Midge Tolerant Wheat breeders rely on Sm1 to protect their performance and quality and follow specific fiduciary practices to maintain their effectiveness. If tolerance is lost, it could cost producers $60 million per year and up to $36 per hectare.