The University of Saskatchewan has received a $1-million investment from Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) for the College of Agriculture and Bioresources’ Phytotron Renewal Project.
The Phytotron is an indispensable tool in plant and soil science research and teaching in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. The controlled environment plant growth facility enables three full cycles of plant production in one year.
Individual chamber environments can be controlled for temperature, light and humidity to determine how soils, plants, water, wind and pests interact under a variety of conditions.
WGRF is a non-profit, farmer-funded, farmer-directed organization committed to helping western Canadian producers by funding important crop research. WGRF strives to make sure that dollars invested in crop research generate an economic return for all western Canadian producers.
“We at the College of Agriculture and Bioresources are deeply grateful for the confidence and support expressed by Prairie producers, through their Western Grains Research Foundation,” said Dean Mary Buhr, College of Agriculture and Bioresources. “WGRF’s donation is a fabulous example of the mutual benefits arising from researchers and teachers partnering with the agricultural community.”
“WGRF understands the important role the Phytotron plays in the development of new varieties. Pulses, wheat, oats, barley, flax, canary seed, all of the breeding programs at Crop Development Centre rely heavily on the Phytotron to advance their programs and develop improved varieties that grow well in farmers’ fields and increase profitability for producers in Western Canada,” notes WGRF board chairman Keith Degenhardt.
Once updated, the Phytotron will allow scientists to expand their research capacity and students to conduct research that will enrich their education experience. The upgraded Phytotron will play a key role in crop development and plant science research across Western Canada crop production systems. This work will provide farmers with new and innovative plant varieties, better variety recommendations, more secure production and a greater return on their investments through higher-quality, better-yielding and hardier crops.