NEWS BITES THAT MATTER
New Professorship in Wheat Breeding filled
Grain Farmers of Ontario is pleased to announce the new Professorship in Wheat Breeding has been filled by Dr. Ali Navabi.
Dr. Navabi has extensive experience in plant breeding and genetics, including 15 years of wheat breeding experience. Since 2008, he has been a bean breeder in the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada / University of Guelph Bean Breeding Program. He has also contributed to graduate teaching and has been an active advisor of graduate students at Guelph. As well, he is currently the editor of the Canadian Journal of Plant Science.
“We are proud to see this initiative come to fruition through the public/private partnership between Grain Farmers of Ontario, SeCan, and the University of Guelph,” says Henry Van Ankum, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “Dr. Navabi brings extensive experience in plant breeding and genetics, including 15 years of wheat breeding.”
Dr. Navabi started this new position on May 1. His research will focus on creating novel wheat varieties with enhanced productivity, disease resistance, pest resistance, and enhanced utility in crop rotation systems.
“I am very excited and believe that this partnership is providing great opportunities for Ontario wheat, as an integral part of the cropping system,” says Navabi. “I am looking forward to working very closely with Grain Farmers of Ontario, SeCan, and other public and private stakeholders in establishing a University-based Wheat Breeding Program to support sustainable and profitable wheat production in Ontario and to train a highly qualified new generation of plant breeders.”
Grain Farmers of Ontario will continue to support this role and looks forward to working with Dr. Navabi, particularly in the area of winter wheat breeding. The outcomes of his work will have direct benefit to our farmer-members. •
Representation for Ontario oat and barley farmers
Ontario oat and barley farmers currently do not have any organization that represents their interests in such important areas as research, market development, and advocacy/ government relations.
A Steering Committee representing Ontario oat and barley farmers has developed a proposal to come under the authority of Grain Farmers of Ontario. You can learn more about the proposal at www.oatandbarley.ca.
If you grow oats and/or barley in Ontario, and you wish to know more about the proposal you should:
• Sign up on the website to receive regular updates on the proposal at www.oatandbarley.ca, by choosing the “Are You Eligible To Vote?” tab.
• Provide your name, the name of your farm, and your address
By doing so, you will receive all the information on the proposal when the time comes for a vote to be held by the Farm Products Marketing Commission. •
Syngenta launches dust deflector research project
Syngenta Canada undertook field-level research this spring to study the compatibility of dust deflectors with planting equipment used by Ontario growers. Deflectors have been found to significantly reduce off-field drift of dust released during the planting of insecticide-treated seed.
“A number of measures to minimize dust during planting have or are being put in place, but deflectors have only more recently come into the conversation here in Canada as a potential dust mitigation tool,” says Dr. Paul Hoekstra, Regulatory and Science Stewardship Manager with Syngenta Canada.
Hoekstra says the project will help to build local knowledge regarding the design, construction, and on-farm use of this type of mitigation technology, noting that the focus of this particular project will be to examine whether or not the use of deflectors has an impact on planter performance. He sees this project as a complement to the work of equipment manufacturers who are looking at changes to future equipment design to reduce dust drift.
Working with Grain Farmers of Ontario, Syngenta identified a pool of prospective grower participants from southern Ontario, where the majority of reported incidents in 2012 and 2013 were located. Twenty-plus participants were confirmed for the project.
Each participating grower installed a deflector unit on their pneumatic planter. Growers planted a specified number of acres with the deflector attached to their pneumatic planters, together with the new Fluency Agent seed lubricant mandated by the PMRA, after which the deflector was removed and performance was monitored over an additional area equal to the same number of acres planted with the deflector in place.
The project was funded through Syngenta’s Operation Pollinator program, which provides support for research and other initiatives that contribute to enhanced biodiversity and habitat in support of healthy pollinator populations. •