I am attending CropWeek 2013 in Saskatoon this week which always involves some great discussions in the sessions and the hallway.
I had a grain /seed industry insider ask me a really interesting question today.
“Do we really need to re-create the wheel with wheat? Does wheat royalty collection for research really need to be different than the system that exists today?”
As we have been covering on RealAgriculture, there are several things happening in wheat that are causing the appearance of chaos. Massive increase in the private funding of wheat breeding by CropLife companies and dissolution of the Canadian Wheat Board has created the push to re-configure the way breeding is funded in Canada. Some people are pushing for an Australian like end point royalty system while others a hybrid version of what happens in other areas around the world.
Adding to all this wheat chaos is the struggle within within the west to organize newly formed wheat commissions and groups. There is a mad scramble to figure out how the research money will be collected and who will be responsible to collect it.
So having said all the above I am intrigued by the contradictory thoughts mentioned in my hallway discussion. Should the real focus be on creating more value for the farmer through improved genetics first? This follows the thoughts of, if the industry breeds more value into the wheat crop, certified seed sales will grow substantial, similar to the experience in soybeans. The collection system for royalties already exists and therefore that should not be the focus. According to the person I was talking to, what needs focus is creating more value for the farmer first and that will fix the lack of royalties going back to breeders.
I’m not sure what I think at this point. I am very interested in your opinion though. Its your dollars that needs to fund plant breeding whether it be through the current model of certified seed royalties or end point levy’s. Let us know in the comment box below.