The Canadian Wheat Research Coalition (CWRC) – a collaboration between the Alberta Wheat Commission, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and Manitoba Crop Alliance – has committed $2 million over five years towards a core breeding agreement with the University of Alberta (U of A).

The investment will fund research activities through U of A’s wheat breeding program. The specific focus will be on developing new Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS) and Canadian Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) wheat varieties.

Effective from May 1, 2021 until December 31, 2025, the agreement will work towards development of three to five registered wheat varieties focusing on the traits of early maturity, shorter straw stalk, and resistance to stripe rust and Fusarium Head Blight.

Dr. Dean Spaner, principal investigator and wheat breeder with U of A, says this funding from the CWRC provides tremendous solidification of breeding capacity at the U of A.

“Plant breeders have been at the forefront of feeding the world. Wheat production is an economic backbone for the western Canadian and Alberta economies, which makes this commitment from wheat producers to support our vital research a much-appreciated vote of confidence,” Spaner says.

Since 2013, the U of A breeding program has registered 13 CWRS varieties and one CPSR variety for a total of 14 varieties.

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