Seed World

Canadian soybean named 2008 Seed of the Year

Left to Right: Wade Montminy, University of Guelph Technician; Dr. Istvan Rajcan, OAC Kent Breeder, University of Guelph; Crosby Devitt, Research Manager, Ontario Soybean Growers; Dr. Robert Gordon, Ontario Agricultural College Dean, University of Guelph; and Martin Harry, Eastern Marketing Manager, SeCan

An Ontario soybean variety with outstanding performance, sustainability, marketability and industry impact topped entries in the fourth annual Seed of the Year competition (east division).

OAC Kent, developed by plant scientist Prof. Istvan Rajcan of the University of Guelph, was named Seed of the Year (east division) today at a recognition event at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

OAC Kent is a soybean variety with a true hilum and a larger-than-average seed size. In the last five years, it has realized more than 8,000 tonnes of recorded seed sales. OAC Kent has been a consistent soybean in yield and agronomics for many growers over the last seven years. Its parent variety, OAC Bayfield, showed similar consistency, and is now entering 16 years in the market. Its success and sustainability has meant it.s in demand by every food grade purchaser of identity preserved soybeans in the province shipping to Japan.

Three other finalists for the east division of Seed of the Year were also recognized at the event. They are OAC Rex, a white bean variety developed by University of Guelph professor Peter Pauls, former professor Tom Michaels and technician Tom Smith; Estival, a crisphead lettuce variety developed by Dr. Sylvie Jenni of Horticultural Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Quebec; and Chapais, a barley variety developed by Dr. Jean-Pierre Dubuc of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Quebec.

The Seed of the Year competition encourages public breeders to highlight their research accomplishments in developing a new field crop, forage, fruit, vegetable or herb variety. Any publicly developed Canadian variety is eligible to compete. OAC Kent was developed with support from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

This was a bench-mark year for Seed of the Year in two ways. First, the competition has expanded nationally, with varieties from eastern and western Canada being named. As well, a scholarship award has been established for both competitions, and will be awarded to a post-graduate student studying plant genetics or plant breeding.

Seed of the Year was designed by University of Guelph and SeCan, with support from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Additional sponsorship was provided by Ontario White Bean Producers, Ontario Soybean Growers, Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association and Ontario Asparagus Marketing Board.