Last week while I was in Edmonton I listened to Stan Blade, Executive Director of the Alberta Agricultural Research Institute (AARI), talk about where Alberta is focusing cereal research in the long term. Currently in Alberta the three biggest products in terms of value are beef (3.104 billion), canola (1.216 billion) and wheat ( 1.251 billion).
Blade asked the group at the meeting a pressing question, “What should be the vision for cereals?” He continued by summarizing the issue of cereal development in three questions.
- Have we made a big enough investment?
- Are we investing in the right place?
- Where should we be investing in the future?
Cereal acres in Western Canada have been dropping over the past 15 years due to the return potential of other cash crops. Currently, the livestock industry is really struggling which has forced them to invest some check off money into crop genetics. Blade told the group that cheaper feed is the livestock industry’s goal along with end use development such as feed grains that produce better feed conversions or higher energy per acre. Blade emphasized that he feels there is a lot of opportunities in triticale but much work is still needed.
Stan Blade is an incredible resource for Alberta’s future as he works with the industry to put Alberta on the cutting edge in terms of crop technology.