Prairie wheat commissions commit nearly $18 million to research in 2018/2019

The investments will benefit farmers with the development of new wheat varieties

The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC), the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat), and the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association (MWBGA) committed a combined $17.9 million to 81 wheat research projects during the 2018/2019 crop year.

The investments will benefit farmers with the development of new wheat varieties with improved genetics along with innovative research into pest management, agronomic practices, and grain storage.

The commitments of the three prairie wheat commissions have helped leverage $76.6 million in total funding for these projects from all funding sources, including the governments of Canada, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as well as universities and private industry.

The funding for the previous crop year includes a commitment to the Canadian National Wheat Cluster (Wheat Cluster), a five-year research agreement worth nearly $25 million which includes funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriScience program as well as Sask Wheat, AWC, MWBGA, and seven additional producer and private organizations.

The Wheat Cluster is being administered through the Canadian Wheat Research Coalition (CWRC), a partnership of Sask Wheat, AWC and MWBGA.

“The diversity of projects that Sask Wheat was able to invest in this year on behalf of Saskatchewan wheat farmers will create new opportunities, build on innovative research, and enhance the long-term viability of growing wheat,” said Laura Reiter, Sask Wheat Chair.

“Collaborating with AWC, MWBGA, and the organizations participating in the Wheat Cluster enhances our efforts as a commission and strengthens the prospects for Canadian wheat in the global marketplace.”

“Investment in research aimed at improved farm-gate returns is AWC’s top priority,” says Janine Paly, AWC research chair.

“With new projects in our portfolio ranging from helping to determine the value of beneficial insects to closing the yield gap through agronomy and strengthening access to premium CWRS varieties, we look forward to seeing results. And now with the CWRC serving as a collaborative investment model, we are able to further maximize value for western Canadian wheat farmers by working alongside our counterparts Sask Wheat and Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association.”

“The MWBGA continues to fund research projects that will improve the profitability of Manitoba wheat growers,” says Fred Greig, MWBGA chair. “The various projects meet the strategic research priorities the board laid out, with research focused on variety development, fusarium head blight, nitrogen and protein management, excess moisture management, and use of plant growth regulators. We are also pleased to work closely with our sister wheat organizations in Alberta and Saskatchewan to further wheat research across Western Canada.”

The commissions committed the following amounts to research in the 2018-2019 crop year:

– AWC committed $6.6 million to 46 projects, including over $2.6 million to 19 projects under the Wheat Cluster. This includes $282,000 committed to Dr. Brian Beres (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) to quantify the yield gaps across the Prairies and to determine opportunities to sustainably improve yield through management practices. This project is also funded by Sask Wheat, MWBGA and Alberta Innovates.

– Sask Wheat committed over $8.8 million to 48 projects, including over $3.1 million to 15 projects under the Wheat Cluster. A key project will be research into fusarium head blight (FHB) resistance by Dr. Randy Kutcher of the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre. This project, which Sask Wheat is providing over $317,000 to over three years, focuses on seeking new sources of resistance for FHB and in understanding the resistance mechanisms. This project is also being funded by the MWBGA.

– MWBGA committed $2.5 million to 42 projects, including over $933,000 to 16 projects under the Wheat Cluster. This includes funding committed to nitrogen management and a multi disciplinary approach to the development of tools and techniques to manage extreme moisture.

The three commissions co-funded 36 of the 81 total projects.

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