CPSR wheat breeding program adopts ‘4-P’ model

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s breeding program for Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) wheat in Alberta is picking up new investment partners.

AAFC, Canterra Seeds and the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) on Wednesday announced they would jointly contribute $3.4 million over five years to Dr. Harpinder Randhawa’s CPSR breeding program at AAFC’s Lethbridge Research Centre.

The funding model, described as a public/private/producer partnership (4-P), is expected to “streamline the development and commercialization” of new CPSRs from Lethbridge.

Set up in 1985, the Canada Prairie Spring class of wheats was meant as a “lower-protein alternative” to Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS).

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The CPSR subclass offers low to medium protein content, medium-hard kernels and medium to strong dough strength properties, and is used by itself or in blends to make products such as noodles, flat breads and crackers.

Specific financial terms weren’t released, but for its part, AWC is to get a share of royalties on new varieties coming from the program, to be re-invested in future CPSR research and development.

Canterra’s contribution to the 4-P is to include “significant” additional technical and field-testing capacity for CPSR breeding material from Lethbridge, plus “increased funding and support for the program as a whole.”

Canterra “will also provide links to the entire value chain, a deeper understanding of end-user requirements and broad experience in seed production and commercialization.”

In return, Canterra is to get first right of refusal on a stream of future CPSR varieties from the program, “a class of wheat with an unrealized potential in evolving food markets — particularly in Asia.”

“Each of these partners bring their own skills and resources to drive competitive new (CPSR) wheat varieties for producers across the Prairies,” federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a release.

Canterra already works with a “wide range” of AAFC-bred varieties, including CPSR varieties AC Conquer VB and AAC Crusader.

“In our evolving marketplace, we often hear talk of the need for true partnerships between public breeders, private companies and farmers,” Canterra CEO David Hansen said in the same release.

In this case, the partners said Wednesday, the breeding and development work “will also factor in input from Alberta’s wheat producers.”

Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada, said in a separate release Wednesday the 4-P deal “serves as a model for new ways of bringing forward innovation in Canada.”

The 4-P, he said, “takes advantage of the strengths of all three organizations. The result is additional investment in innovation and variety development in Canada and more choice for Canadian producers.”

As was the case in Canterra’s wheat breeding and commercialization deal last week with French firm Limagrain, the 4-P partners noted their deal “builds on the passing of the Agricultural Growth Act (Bill C-18) which enables an environment more conducive to investment in plant breeding.” –– AGCanada.com Network


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