Saskatchewan Pulse Growers and Limagrain Field Seeds forge a new path in plant breeding for pulses
Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG) and Limagrain Field Seeds are excited to announce a new collaboration for pulse breeding in Saskatchewan, Canada.

This new collaboration has a strong commercial focus and will bring new and additional investment into pea and lentil breeding locally in Saskatchewan, increasing competition, and creating a strong
environment to foster innovation.

Developing new and better performing varieties of peas and lentils is the focus of the breeding collaboration. Farmers’ priorities and greatest production challenges are at the forefront of the breeding program, with major areas of focus including resistance to root disease in peas and lentils, increased protein content, and overall improvements in yield performance under varying conditions.

Breeding will take place in Saskatchewan for the benefit of Saskatchewan producers. “We are excited for this new direction in pulse breeding for farmers in Saskatchewan. It is important to continue fostering innovation and competition in pulse breeding and to bring new perspectives to challenging on-farm issues like root rots and herbicide resistance,” says Shaun Dyrland, Chair of SPG Board of Directors.

“We believe this new collaboration with Limagrain on pulse breeding will allow for targeting grower priorities and ensuring that growers’ direction and voices are at the table helping to drive new varieties.”

The new Limagrain Field Seeds breeding, and research program will be based in Saskatoon, where a dedicated pulse breeding team will be created, bringing new expertise in breeding, pathology, molecular genetics, and field trial evaluation to the region.

SASKATCHEWAN PULSE GROWERS AND LIMAGRAIN FIELD SEEDS FORGE A NEW PATH IN PLANT BREEDING FOR PULSESThis technology driven program will lead to higher performing varieties being made available to producers more quickly by deploying all available technology to both shorten the breeding cycle and accelerate seed production.

Commitment and Collaboration

“Limagrain is very committed to producing plant-based proteins. Saskatchewan is at the heart of global pulse production, so it makes perfect sense for Limagrain Field Seeds to extend its existing cereal breeding research in Saskatoon, and to now include these two pulse crops reinforcing our commitment to Saskatchewan,” remarked Régis Fournier, CEO of Limagrain Field Seeds.

“Collaboration is a core value for Limagrain and partnering with SPG, a fellow farmer-led organization is a crucially important component.”

Both SPG and Limagrain are farmer-led with farmer-based boards of Directors. This is an important pillar to this new collaboration, which was developed around shared values to support and foster profitable growth and opportunities for Saskatchewan farmers.

The collaboration has SPG and Limagrain sharing in upfront investments, with future royalties from the sale of new varieties to be shared. SPG will provide input on breeding priorities and ensure that farmers’ voices, needs, priorities, and challenges are driving the goals of the program every step of the way.

Benefits for European and UK pulse markets

Will Pillinger, pulse breeder for Limagrain UK believes European and UK markets can expect to see the benefits from this incredibly significant pulses breeding collaboration in the near future through combined technology and genetic diversity. Will Pillinger Pulses Breeder Limagrain UK “The partnership with Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG), has increased our investment in genomic selection and specific trait related genetic markers for peas, beans and lentils.”

“This increased global pulse breeding will have an immediate impact on the ability for Limagrain UK to access accelerated improvements in yield, quality and disease resistance and it should not be too long before we see these attributes on UK farms.”


Moving up in the 2021-2022 PGRO Descriptive List

The spring bean LG Raptor continues to produce outstanding yields and moves to a P2 rating at 105% over control.

“Yield is the most important factor for spring beans, and is a major focus in our breeding programme,” notes Will Pillinger, pulse breeder at Limagrain UK.

“The success of this approach can be seen as LG Raptor moves closer to recommendation offering extremely high yield potential that could see it outyielding the market leader by next season, he says.

“This year LG Raptor showed excellent uniformity throughout the growing season which has translated into a uniform sample.”

“But high yields need to be backed up by solid agronomics and traits, and LG Raptor does this – it is fairly early to mature, stands well and offers a good disease package including rust. This combination of traits makes it a good variety for the north.”

LG Raptor is suitable for human consumption, fish feed and animal protein markets so offers a range of marketing opportunities.

Tom Barker, pulses product manager for Limagrain UK, sums the variety up.” LG Raptor’s consistent yields and disease resistance package mean it will be taking a big bite into the spring bean acreage.”


Large blue pea LG Aviator also moves to a P2 rating with a yield rating of 103% over control.

Will Pillinger explains that the reason for these high yields is because LG Aviator is a multi-podded variety type.LG Aviator large blue pea

“For each node that LG Aviator produces, there are three pods. This means there are more pods at the top of the plant rather than spread through the plant, making for a more even maturity with less competition for light – and this is a significant characteristic in building yield.”

Agronomically there is much to like about the variety he adds. “LG Aviator is one of only three varieties listed to offer resistance to powdery mildew. It also offers very high levels of tolerance to downy mildew (with a rating of 7).

“It’s early, and has good ratings for standing ability and straw length (rated 6) – making it one of the best agronomic packages of any other provisionally rated varieties.”

“All of this makes for a very exciting variety and definitely one to watch over the next year as it moves towards full recommendation this time next year,” he says.

Key agronomics of LG Raptor – All information is from the PGRO Descriptive List 2021, available at

LG Pulse Breeding Aims for 2021 and Beyond



Pulse Crop Genetic Improvement Network (PCGIN)

Limagrain has been involved in PCGIN since its creation and has benefited from the excellent research into the genetic improvement of the pulse crop. The next event is on 14th Nov in Grantham and open for registration now…

Limagrain has been involved in PCGIN since its creation and has benefited from the excellent research into the genetic improvement of the pulse crop. In particular, the work on seed quality has helped in colour retention in large blue and marrowfat pea breeding.

The next event is the PCGIN 2019 stakeholder meeting and will be held on 14th November in Grantham, Lincolnshire.

This industry-led stakeholder meeting will present perspective talks on future market opportunities and relevant international developments, within the context of the latest developments in genetic research on UK pulse crops (PCGIN 2018-2023). There will be time for interactions over lunch.

We are very grateful to Agrii and Limagrain for their sponsorship of this meeting.


10:30 Arrival, tea & coffee
Welcome & introductions (Peter Smith, Agrii; Will Pillinger, Limagrain)
Chair: Peter Smith, Agrii

11:00 PCGIN: overview & highlights 2019 (Claire Domoney, JIC; Donal O’Sullivan, Reading; Jane Thomas, NIAB)

11:20 Overview of industry-academic exchanges – Marketplace of Ideas (Donal O’Sullivan, Reading)

11:25 The industry perspective, 2019 (12 minutes each speaker)

• Andy Bury, Frontier: Challenges for trading UK pulse crops

• Paul Sheldrake, Healy Group: Rising opportunities for vegetable proteins and UK pulses – Technical & Nutritional Challenges

• Nick Saltmarsh, Hodmedods: Opportunities for existing and novel legume crops in the UK

• Chris Harrison, Novofarina: Food product development and genetic targets in pea.

• The role of Pulses UK

12:45 LUNCH with poster* viewing
Chair: Will Pillinger, Limagrain

13:40 Flash presentations from junior scientists (5 minutes each speaker)

Tom Reynolds, NIAB: Evidence for sexual reproduction of the faba bean pathogen
B. fabae in the UK

Gabriel Robinson, JIC: A nutritional review of UK pulses

Vicky Tagkouli, UoR: Selection schemes for small-scale faba bean breeding
Jake Moscrop, NIAB/UoCam: Enhancing pollination in the field bean, Vicia faba

Ahmed Warsame, UoR: Identifying and quantifying the most important faba bean seed proteins

14:15 Legume crops and international activities (Pete Iannetta, The James
Hutton Institute)

Curation of legume crop germplasm (Noam Chayut, JIC)

14:40 Perspectives & open discussion on priorities (growers, NFU, Defra,
industry & scientists)

15:00 Wrap up & depart

*Poster presentations:

• Genotyping tools for faba bean (Deepti Angra, Reading)

• Towards saturation mutagenesis in faba bean (Tom Harvie, Deepti Angra,

• Improved management of viruses (Becky Howard, PGRO; FERA)

• Exploring soybean germplasm (Tony Miller, JIC)

• Nitrate sensors and uptake of nitrate by crops (Tony Miller, JIC)

• Favuleux – developing faba beans as a sustainable source of high-quality
protein for food through optimised genetics, farming and processing (Thomas Wood, NIAB)

• Identification of a QTL conferring partial resistance to downy mildew on faba bean, Vicia faba (Anne Webb, Krystyna Gostkiewicz, Jane Thomas and Thomas Wood, NIAB)



Belton Woods Hotel
NG32 2LN

Tel. 020 3027 6614

Thursday, 14th November 2019 (11:00 – 15:00)