Monday, February 8, 2016

Record $21.4 million for wheat, barley research

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."