Provincial wheat groups say they want to co-operate on wheat research

Collaboration is growing as the groups become more established and form alliances and relationships

Tom Steve didn’t take offence with Steven Morgan Jones’ calls for a more co-ordinated approach to wheat research at the Canadian Global Crops Symposium in Winnipeg April 13.

In fact, Steve, general manager of the Alberta Wheat Commission, praised the former researcher, for identifying the current gaps in wheat research.

“When Stephen Morgan Jones did his original research about a year ago and we (the provincial wheat commissions) probably weren’t talking and so some of this is a matter of timing,” Steve said. “The provincial wheat commissions’ research managers have learned how to pick up the phone and talk to each other. We have a lot of collaborations that are evolving on a fairly timely basis.”

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Brent VanKoughnet, the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Associ­ation’s manager, has said in previous interviews co-operation is the best way to leverage funds, especially for a small association like Manitoba’s.

Research priorities are being iden­­­ti­­­fied by the Canadian Wheat Alliance and by the University of Sask­atch­ewan’s Crop Development Centre, he added.

“We’re all looking for the sweet spot — the big projects that we should be collaborating on.”

Wheat research priorities are also being developed through the industry roundtable led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Cereals Canada, said Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada. The process includes breeders, the Canadian International Grains Institute and feedback from Canadian wheat customers, he said.

Asked if there are too many wheat projects, Dahl said it’s a valid question the industry has to answer. Capturing all the projects in one database will help determine that, he said.

Are there too many organizations in wheat research?

“I don’t think there are,” Dahl said.

“Each organization is doing a pretty good job of collaborating across with their sister organizations when that’s possible and not duplicating efforts.”

About the author

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Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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