The Canadian Barley Research Coalition (CRBC) — a collaboration of Alberta Barley, Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley), and Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA) formed earlier this year — has committed more than $1.5 million to a barley breeding agreement with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

The funding, spread over five years, ensures that western Canadian farmers will have continued access to premium barley varieties from AAFC for years to come, the group says.

The barley variety development program is headed up by Dr. Ana Badea at AAFC in Brandon, Man., and supports capacity at various sites across Western Canada for adaption testing, disease, and quality control.

Jason Skotheim, chair of the CBRC and SaskBarley, says this new phase of funding will allow the continuation of core activities for AAFC’s barley breeding programs.

“[These activities] aim to design new varieties that have the best sources of disease and insect resistance, are designed for western Canadian growing conditions, and will deliver high-quality traits for end-users,” Skotheim says. “This funding will support the development of new two-row malting varieties that are adapted to western Canada and have improved yields, stronger straw, and higher kernel plumpness, test weight, and kernel weight. They will also have improved disease resistance, including for fusarium head blight and traits specifically designed to appear to the evolving needs of the malting industry.”

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