Sask. oat growers fund U of S research

The Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission has signed on for a five-year, $500,000 funding commitment for development of higher-yielding, disease-resistant oat varieties at the University of Saskatchewan.

The SODC, which had previously put up a one-time, $25,000 contribution to work at the U of S Crop Development Centre (CDC) on “high groat fat” varieties for potential feed use, announced Monday that it will officially become one of the CDC’s research partners.

The commission, formed in 2006, is funded by a 50-cent-per-tonne checkoff on Saskatchewan-grown oats sales, to support research and development work.

The new funding commitment will go to the CDC and U of S plant sciences department to hire research technicians, train summer students and fund graduate students in oat agronomy, pathology, plant breeding and genomics.

“Research is critically needed in oats, but now targeting funds to address specific farmer needs should help us move closer to the goal of making oats a more profitable crop,” said CDC chairman Dwayne Anderson in a release.

“We hope to see improvements to varieties for both human and livestock food,” said Anderson, a former Canadian Wheat Board director and North East Terminal president who farms at Fosston, about 100 km east of Humboldt. “Potentially, that could include better forage varieties.

“We view this new five-year investment plan as a template-strategy which will pay dividends to growers down the road.”

The SODC’s commitment comes almost a week after the U of S picked up a new three-year, $1.6 million funding commitment from Pepsi-QTG Canada, owners of the Quaker Oats business in Canada, also for oats research.

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