As producers of winter cereals are well aware, weather conditions from August 15 to September 15 significantly influence the acreage and yield of winter crops. As a result, the Saskatchewan Winter Cereals Development Commission (SWCDC), which is authorized to collect levy on winter wheat, fall rye and winter triticale in Saskatchewan, and Winter Cereals Manitoba Inc., (WCM), the representative body for winter wheat producers in Manitoba, recognize that there may be large variances in annual levy collection. This necessitates that each organization build a substantial reserve fund that will cover operating costs and any research funding commitments for a period of two operating years. We cannot commit to a project and one year later go back to the science community and say “Sorry, no money.”
The SWCDC is in its second full year of levy collection while WCM has not yet completed a full year of collection.
WCM is currently in the process of building this reserve. WCM is currently a part of an informal group called the Winter Wheat Support Group, made up of organizations with specific interest in winter wheat. This group is working on a new varietal testing alternative that will be available to all winter wheat breeders as a way of assessing very early varietal crosses.
The SWCDC has built up some reserve funding and in 2008 the SWCDC entered into an agreement with Agriculture and Agri Food Canada and Brian Beres of the Lethbridge Research Station to fund agronomic research into fertilizer utilization in winter wheat. The SWCDC-funded portion of the research is being conducted at the East Central Research Foundation located at Canora, Saskatchewan. This is a three-year commitment with an option of a fourth year. SWCDC is also a partner in the Winter Wheat Support Group and is actively pursuing new varietal testing opportunities for Saskatchewan
J. A. (Jake) Davidson is executive director for Winter Cereals Manitoba Inc., and Saskatchewan Winter Cereals Development Commission.