“Farmers should give themselves a big pat on the back.”
– Lanette Kuchenski
The 2008 Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) survey results show varieties that have been farmer supported through Western Grains Research Foundation’s (WGRF) wheat and barley checkoffs top the list in almost all categories.
Under the Canadian Western Red Spring class the top three varieties grown in Western Canada – AC Lillian, AC Harvest and AC Superb – were developed with financial support from the wheat checkoff.
Similarly, AC Strongfield and AC Avonlea dominated the durum class with over 60 per cent of the represented seeded acres, and are also WGRF-aided varieties.
CDC Copeland, the second-most popular variety grown in 2008 was assisted through funding from the barley checkoff, and is gaining ground on AC Metcalfe with each passing year.
Other notable WGRF supported varieties include CDC Falcon, AC Andrew, AC Snowbird, AC Vista, AC Crystal , AC Newdale and CDC McGwire. A full list of varieties that have been assisted by WGRF’s checkoffs can be found at www. westerngrains.com under Check-offs.
“Farmers should give themselves a big pat on the back,” says Lanette Kuchenski, WGRF’s executive director. “They put their research dollars on the table through the checkoffs and these investments are paying dividends through new and improved wheat and barley varieties for them to grow in their fields.”
Every dol lar a farmer invests through WGRF’s checkoffs is leveraged to attain additional government funds that match or double the investment made by producers. “WGRF is out there fighting to make sure that as long as farmers are putting money on the table for research, so is government. We want to get the best bang for every dollar invested in crop research as we can.”
WGRF invests in vari -ety development at public breeding centres across Western Canada that target issues such as improved solid stemmed varieties to combat sawfly, fusarium head blight research, earlier-maturing varieties and hardy winter wheat varieties, just to name a few. Checkoff funds also supported the development of the midge-tolerant varieties that are set to be distributed to farmers for 2010.
Variety development is an ongoing battle, said Kuchenski. “Together we are making great advances against a number of pest, disease and quality issues that are impacting farmers across Western Canada, but the fight always continues.”
WGRF is a non-profit organization that is farmer funded and directed. Set up to fund research that directly benefits Prairie farmers, the WGRF administers an Endowment Fund and the Wheat and Barley Checkoff Funds, with annual research funding in the range of $4 million to $5 million.