The Saskatchewan Forage Council bestowed Bruce Coulman with its Forage Industry Innovation Award at the council’s annual meeting in Lashburn, Sask, on June 26.
Coulman is being recognized for his forage research and his work teaching and mentoring university students.
The forage breeder has helped develop and register 22 forage cultivars through research programs at the University of Saskatchewan and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Highlights include the development of AC Grazeland, a bloat-reduced alfalfa, and the development of several hybrid bromegrass cultivars.
“Dr. Coulman has been a leader in Western Canadian forage development for several decades,” says Chad MacPherson, general manger of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association. “His work has helped advance the livestock industry and (will) continue to help advance it in the future.”
Leeann Thompson, executive director of the Saskatchewan Forage Council, says Coulman is always “looking towards that end-goal of economics and how is it going to play into a livestock producer’s or a forage producer’s operation.”
Coulman has taught several courses at the undergraduate and graduate level and supervised 28 graduate students. He sat on Thompson’s thesis committee when she ran a grazing study with yearling steers on hybrid bromegrass at the University of Saskatchewan.
“Any questions that you ever had about grass physiology, he was the guy,” says Thompson.
Coulman didn’t do research just for the sake of doing research, Thompson adds.
“He always had that end goal in mind of what’s this going to be used for,” she says. “And ultimately what are the traits that are going to be important for it in a production sense?”
Coulman also worked with Dr. Bill Biligetu, the new forage crop breeding chair based at the University of Saskatchewan. Thompson says Coulman is collaborating again with Biligetu “so hopefully we can maintain some continuity in the forage breeding side of things here in Saskatchewan.”
MacPherson says to advance the livestock industry there needs to be continued investment in worthwhile research.
“Forages are the building block of our industry,” he says.
The Saskatchewan Forage Council will also make a contribution to the Alicia Hargrave Memorial Bursary in Coulman’s honour. The bursary is given to a third- or fourth-year student in the University of Saskatchewan’s Bachelor of Science program.
Lisa Guenther is field editor of Grainews