A new era in pulse variety development begins, as SaskPulse and Limagrain announce breeding agreement

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Pulse growers have been waiting to hear who their next dance partner will be when it came to breeding new varieties. Now they know, as Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG) and Limagrain Field Seeds have announced a six-year breeding agreement.

Announced July 19, this first agreement is one of several SPG will announce says Carl Potts, executive director of the grower group.

The agreement is focused on development of pea and lentil varieties, with specific attention to herbicide tolerance in lentils, resistance to root disease in peas — such as aphanomyces — and in lentils, increased protein content, and overall improvements in yield performance under varying conditions.

Breeding will take place at Saskatoon, Sask., with a dedicated pulse breeding team with expertise in breeding, pathology, molecular genetics, and field trial evaluation. The financial commitment of each entity is about even, with SPG contributing about $850,00 per year.

The agreement will mean that varieties developed under the venture will be subject to royalties upon commercialization, says Potts, a change that will be an adjustment for some growers.

Nothing changes with existing royalty-free varieties, he adds.

Hear a full interview on the announcement with Carl Potts, including how SPG chose Limagrain as a partner, here:

Potts adds that while this initial agreement is only for six years, the deal does include sharing of existing germplasm, meaning that the agreement should bear fruit quickly.

“We are excited for this new direction in pulse breeding for farmers in Saskatchewan. It is important to continue fostering innovation and competition in pulse breeding and to bring new perspectives to challenging on-farm issues like root rots and herbicide resistance. We believe this new collaboration with Limagrain on pulse breeding will allow for targeting grower priorities and ensuring that growers’ direction and voices are at the table helping to drive new varieties” says Shaun Dyrland, chair of SPG board of directors, in a press release.

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