Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and Bayer Crop Science (BCS) recently announced $600,000 worth of funding to Dr. Brian Fowler’s winter wheat research program at the University of Saskatchewan. The funding provides three years of support for Fowler’s quest for new and improved winter wheat varieties specifically adapted to the Canadian Prairies.
Varieties from Fowler’s program already occupy the majority of winter wheat acres on the Prairies. He is currently in the process of winding down his plant-breeding program, shifting his energies to understanding winter hardiness in cereals; particularly wheat.
“Improving our understanding of how plants adapt to cold and which genes are responsible will help future plant breeders develop more winter-hardy varieties,” says Fowler, professor with the department of plant sciences, College of Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan. “Ducks Unlimited Canada has been a long-term supporter of winter wheat research at the University of Saskatchewan and without their ongoing support the program would have ceased to exist long ago. This latest funding made possible through their partnership with Bayer CropScience allows us to build on the successes of previous research.”
When recommended management practices are employed, the risk of winterkill on the Canadian Prairies is not much different than primary winter wheat growing areas of the United States. However, non-winter wheat-growers have said that winter survival is one of their main reasons for not growing winter wheat. By investing in Fowler’s cold-tolerance research at the University of Saskatchewan, DUC and BCS are hopeful that in the near future growers will have a variety of choices that will address this concern. This will allow more growers to realize the sustainability benefits of including winter wheat in their cropping systems.
Formoreinformationonwinterwheatand theWinterCereals:SustainabilityinAction partnership,pleasevisit wintercereals.ca.