Recently, the Western Grains Research Foundation and industry stakeholders outlined six broad research priority categories that will benefit western Canadian producers of all crops. They are:
1. Breeding tools — This area will include such items as breeding methodology, breeding processes, markers, genomics, etc., that advance the tools breeders have to work with.
2. Post-harvest handling to address quality/market access — A number of problems arise with respect to crops post-harvest which cause economic loss to farmers. This area will work to solve problems that diminish crop quality and create market access issues for producers.
3. New crops and crop uses — Opportunities may exist for new crops but also to use existing crops in new ways, whether it is for feed, biofuels and other non-food uses, health/nutritional ingredients or other market demands.
4. Pest and weather surveillance -This priority area was identified as one where there may be opportunity to enhance, fill gaps, and/or co-ordinate existing activity. Surveillance and monitoring could include disease, insects, and weeds, as well as weather impacts.
5. Fusarium head blight (FHB)/DON/ Mycotoxins — FHB was identified as a research problem that requires increased attention, including testing for FHB and DON. This area is increasingly important as FHB continues to advance across the western grain belt.
6. Agronomy — Key aspects of agronomic research identified were a whole farm approach focusing on production and profitability, impacts of fertilizer use, crop sequencing, fungicide application, seeding rates, etc. for different agro-ecological zones in Western Canada.
Each year, WGRF plans to approve funding for five-year Directed Research Program (DRP) initiatives worth one-half million dollars per year. By 2015 a projected $2.5 million will be spent annually on DRP initiatives. By 2015, the amount spent on projects under a new application process for small projects will also rise to about $825,000.
Please check the WGRF website www.westerngrains.com and click on the Endowment Fund tab for the most current information regarding the Directed Research Program.