New arrangement keeps bean breeding program alive at AAFC Morden

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The dry bean breeding program at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Morden Research Centre in Manitoba will continue for at least another five years under a new arrangement involving McGill University in Quebec and AAFC’s Harrow Research Centre in Ontario.

An earlier proposal from the federal government would have seen the program cut or moved to Ontario entirely, but Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers executive director Daryl Domitruk says MPSG was successful in negotiating an agreement that will maintain funding to develop new pinto, black, and navy bean varieties with improved disease resistance in Manitoba.

“There was perhaps an indication that they would like to see more work for Manitoba occur elsewhere, and our growers registered the idea that that’s maybe not what we’d like to see,” he says, in the interview below. “Especially as as the largest bean-producing province in Canada, there’s a strong feeling that Manitoba is owed a significant public effort in dry bean science.”

MPSG will be contributing just over $300 thousand to the $2 million-plus program over the next five years, notes Domitruk. The federal funding is part of the new five-year $11 million Pulse Research Cluster that the federal government announced last week, under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The new arrangement will allow breeders in Morden to tap into innovative plant breeding techniques that are being developed at the Harrow Research Center in Ontario and at McGill University in Quebec,” he says.

“There’s a tremendous amount of genetic material that was developed in crosses in the last number of years at Morden, so there’s a big job over the next five years, simply sorting through and selecting through those. At the same time, there’ll be crosses made at Harrow and shipped to Morden to include in the screening program,” says Domitruk.

The funding will also unlock opportunities to work together with breeding programs at North Dakota State University (pintos) and the University of Saskatchewan (black beans), he notes.

Check out the interview below for more on the future of bean breeding at AAFC Morden with MPSG’s Daryl Domitruk, recorded at CropConnect ’24 in Winnipeg, Man.:

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