The Western Grain Research Fund is giving a record-setting $21.4 million to federal agriculture department scientists to fund their wheat and barley variety-development research for the next four years.
The Western Grain Research Fund comes from a checkoff of 30 cents a tonne on wheat and barley sales.
The announcement was made Monday in Saskatoon by federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Dr. Keith Degenhardt, vice-chairman of the Western Grains Research Foundation.
The research will focus on four issues:
- Diseases such as fusarium blight;
- Insect resistance;
- Environmental stresses such as flooding and drought and
- Developing genetic markers for plant breeding selection.
A University of Saskatchewan study commissioned by the WGRF estimated that every check-off dollar invested in varietal development returned $20.40 of value to farmers for wheat and $7.56 for barley.
Degenhardt said “check-off investments of over $90 million since 1994 have resulted in the development of 120 wheat and barley varieties.
“Our new investment of $21.4 million provides stability to AAFC wheat and barley research until 2020 and ensures that AAFC will continue to develop new varieties for many years to come."