The Western Grains Research Foundation announced more than $7 million in funding for public wheat breeding at the Universities of Saskatchewan and Manitoba today.
$5.2 million in producer check-off funds will go toward the wheat breeding program at the U of S Crop Development Centre over the next five years. The CDC has released and commercialized more than 30 varieties of wheat and durum since collaboration with WGRF started in 1995.
“Farmers have been well served by this partnership with the CDC,” said WGRF chair Dave Sefton. “Farmer funding through the wheat check-offs has helped facilitate the development of dozens of well-known wheat and durum varieties, including CDC Verona, and CDC Utmost VB that offers wheat midge tolerance, to name just a few.”
The CDC will continue work on varieties for the Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS), Canada Western Amber Durum (CWAD), Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPS-R) and Hard White Spring (CWHW) classes.
“This funding builds on 20 years of collaborative research with western Canadian farmers through WGRF,” noted Kofi Agblor, Managing Director of the Crop Development Centre. “Renewed funding expands our research program in wheat to include the deployment of molecular tools to improve breeding efficiency as well incorporating agronomic and quality traits that are vital to making wheat a competitive crop for our producers”.
Another $1.9 million over five years will go to Dr. Anita Brûlé-Babel’s winter wheat breeding program and the fusarium head blight (FHB) nursery at the University of Manitoba.
The focus of her breeding program is on developing winter wheat and general purpose (soon to be renamed “special purpose”) varieties that are disease resistant, semi-dwarf, high yielding, cold hardy and suited to the higher moisture regions of the eastern prairies.
“The release of new general purpose and winter wheat varieties from the U of M, as well as the release of FHB resistant cultivars such as Waskada and Carberry is evidence of the great work being done at the University of Manitoba,” said Sefton.
WGRF also funds the coordinated FHB screening nursery at the U of M, which is used for early and late generation testing before registration.
Today’s announcement comes less than two weeks after WGRF announced it will be investing $21.4 million in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s wheat and barley breeding programs over the next five years — the largest-ever industry investment in AAFC research.