Seed of the Year West Announces Winner

February 13, 2015 / Saskatoon

Seed of the Year West is proud to announce that AC Andrew has been selected as the 2014‐15 winner. AC Andrew was developed by Dr. Sadash Sadasivaiah at Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada’s
Lethbridge Research Centre and was supported for registration in 2000.

“AC Andrew was a major breakthrough in terms of grain yield in the soft white spring wheat,” said Dr. Harpinder S. Randhawa, current soft white breeder at AAFC Lethbridge and the nominator of AC Andrew. AC Andrew has a reputation for high yield in both high and low‐input cropping systems and became the predominant cultivar for ethanol feedstock in 2006. AC Andrew was a key factor in the emerging ethanol industry as it offered as much as 20% higher yield and greater ethanol yield per volume of grain compared to other wheat cultivars. The increased potential yield, quality, increased multiple end‐uses and agronomics provided increased production and sustainability for growers.

Seed of the Year is designed to provide recognition to publicly‐developed varieties that have made a significant contribution to the economy, agriculture, and the Canadian public in general. Although the name, Seed of the Year, indicates the contribution in a particular year, the program is much broader reaching and considers total lifetime achievement and contribution. Seed of the Year believes it is important to recognize the value of our public plant breeding programs, as well as encourage the entry of new plant breeders to the industry.

Part of the western award is a $4000 scholarship, awarded to a student enrolled in a western Canadian university and currently completing a Masters or Ph.D. in plant breeding or genetics.
Kirby Nilsen was selected as this year’s scholarship winner. Nilsen is a graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan. His research is focused on breeding for resistance to the wheat stem
sawfly, specifically looking at the stem‐solidness trait in durum and spring wheat.

“It feels great to be recognized for my research and I am honored to have been selected as this year’s winner of the Seed of the Year scholarship” said Nilsen. “This is an exciting time to be working
in wheat breeding. I believe my research will be of great benefit to breeders aiming to develop new varieties with improved resistance to the wheat stem sawfly.”

The Seed of the Year award will be presented to Dr. Harpinder Randhawa on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at the Prairie Grain Development Recognition Luncheon in Banff, Alberta. Dr. Randhawa will be accepting the award on behalf of Dr. Sadasivaiah who passed away in 2006.

Seed of the Year West would also like to acknowledge its sponsors: Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada, Alberta Barley Commission, Canterra Seeds, Cargill, Canadian Seed Growers Association, FP Genetics, CPS Canada, Richardson International, SeCan, and Western Grains Research Foundation. We also wish to thank the judges and other applicants.

For more information on Seed of the Year West, as well as application forms for next year, please visit


For further information contact:

Mike Espeseth
Western Grains Research Foundation

Todd Hyra
SeCan, Western Business Manager

News Release – Seed of the Year West Winner 2015