Manitoba Crop Alliance joins coalitions in pledging funds to wheat, barley research

The Canadian Wheat Research Coalition and Canadian Barley Research Coalition replace the Western Grains Research Foundation

Coalitions of Prairie commodity groups have pledged $22.6 million in producer funding toward Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s wheat-breeding program and over $1.5 million to barley research.

“Manitoba Crop Alliance is proud to be a part of this collaborative initiative with our sister organizations in Alberta and Saskatchewan,” said Fred Greig, chair of the Manitoba Crop Alliance in news from the Canadian Wheat Research Coalition (CWRC) October 19.

The CWRC which also includes the Alberta Wheat Commission and Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, pledged $22.6 million over five years to wheat research. Manitoba will contribute 15 per cent of that total.

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The Canadian Barley Research Coalition (CBRC), which includes Alberta Barley, the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley) and the Manitoba Crop Alliance, committed $1.5 million over five years to the federal barley-breeding program.

The CWRC and CBRC took over producer funding of wheat and barley varietal development from the Western Grains Research Foundation. This includes working with the federal government to help deliver improved genetics and profitability to producers, the CWRC and CBRC said.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will concentrate on the development of wheat varieties in the Canadian Western Red Spring, Canadian Western Amber durum, Canadian Prairie Spring Red, Canada Western Soft White Spring and Canada Western Red Winter classes.

“This funding will support the development of new two-row malting varieties that are adapted to Western Canada and have improved yields, stronger straw, and higher kernel plumpness, test weight and kernel weight,” said Jason Skotheim, chair of the CBRC and SaskBarley.

“They will also have improved disease resistance, including for fusarium head blight and traits specifically designed to appeal to the evolving needs of the malting industry,” he added.

“The Government of Canada has long supported these two important sectors through scientific contributions and joint investments,” said federal Ag Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau in a statement on October 28.

“Breeding programs require long-term vision to operate effectively. These investments in wheat and barley will continue to support Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s world-class breeding programs,” Bibeau said.

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