New investments in grain breeding and genetics

grain farmers of ontario is excited about the new Developing Innovative Agri-Products (DIAP) initiative from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) Growing Forward framework. Through DIAP, a new partnership GFO is heavily involved with will have access to $5.9 million in funding for 18 public breeding and genetics programs throughout Canada.

The newly formed Canadian Field Crops Research Alliance (CFCRA) will manage these projects which cover six field crops – winter wheat, corn, soybeans, spring wheat, oats and barley – across Eastern Canada, from Manitoba to Prince Edward Island. CFCRA is a collaboration of seven organizations including Grain Farmers of Ontario, SeCan, Federation des producteurs de cultures commerciales du Quebec, Manitoba Corn Growers Association, Manitoba Pulse Growers Association, PepsiCo Canada and the Atlantic Grains Council. Crosby Devitt, Manager of Market Development and Research at GFO will act as the chair of this new alliance.

Of the $5.7 million, AAFC is contributing $4 million and the partners are contributing the remaining $1.7 million. GFO is directly contributing $628,000 to this important research effort.

The breeding projects supported with these funds will work at advancing production efficiencies and insect and disease resistance. Variety development will also target new markets in the food, industrial and feed markets both domestically and internationally.

These new varieties will provide increased profitability into all points on the supply chain including value-added products and quality enhancements at the processing level in addition to lower production costs and increased returns for farmers.

The development of genetics leading to new varieties will be accomplished through five key goals:

  • Increase collaboration throughout the supply chain that will exponentially increase the possibilities for innovation
  • Expand the knowledge base within the sector to ensure there are people and resources in place to maximize research opportunities
  • Develop new possibilities for higher value grain and oilseed crops to be adapted to the growing conditions in eastern Canada
  • Select genetic traits that increase productivity and decrease costs at the farm level, resulting in an economic benefit for the supply chain
  • Focus on quality advancements that will exceed the expectations of the marketplace.

Overall, Grain Farmers of Ontario is very excited about the new opportunities this investment provides for Ontario corn, soybean and wheat farmers. GFO staff has been working hard on this initiative over the past year and a half and we’re very pleased to see it come to fruition. •