Canterra, AAFC and Alberta Wheat Commission Form $3.4 Million Wheat Breeding Partnership

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Alberta Wheat Commission and Canterra Seeds have announced a partnership to fund the development of new Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) wheat varieties at the AAFC Lethbridge Research Centre.

A total of $3.4 million, with $1.2 million from the federal government, will be committed over five years to Dr. Harpinder Randhawa’s CPSR breeding program.

Kent Erickson of the Alberta Wheat Commission at the CPS program announcement.

Kent Erickson of the Alberta Wheat Commission at the CPS program announcement.

“Our goal is to bring products to market that will help grow farmers’ profitability and competitive edge,” said Kent Erickson, chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission, at the AAFC Lethbridge on Wednesday morning. “Providing the producer perspective on agronomic characteristics will ensure that wheat varieties coming from the LRC program meet the needs of growers.”

Related: Canterra Seeds and Limagrain Establish Limagrain Cereals Research Canada

David Hansen, president and CEO of Winnipeg-based Canterra, said this alliance shows how public and private breeding efforts can work together following the passage of Bill C-18 and the implementation of updated plant breeders’ rights earlier this year.

“In our evolving marketplace, we often hear talk of the need for true partnerships between public breeders, private companies and farmers,” said Hansen. “We are proud to bring this public/private/producer partnership to fruition.”

The AWC will collect a share of royalties on new varieties coming from the program. Those funds will be used for future CPSR research and development.

Canterra will receive the first right of refusal on future CPSR varieties from the program in exchange for providing increased funding, value chain expertise, as well as additional technical and field-testing capacity for the program.

With lower protein than traditional Canada Western Red Spring wheat, CPSR wheat is viewed as having unrealized market potential in food markets, particularly in Asia.

“The Government of Canada is proud to join with Canterra Seeds and AWC as we take another major step forward for wheat breeding in Canada,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “Each of these partners bring their own skills and resources to drive competitive new Canadian Prairie Spring wheat varieties for producers across the Prairies.”

News of this partnership follows on the heels of the announcement of a major wheat breeding alliance between Canterra and France-based Limagrain in Saskatoon last week.

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