Future of Grain
HIGHLIGHTING THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY IN GRAIN PRODUCTION AND UTILIZATION
Canadian science and technology healthy and growing
According to a new report released by the Council of Canadian Academies, real improvements have occurred in the magnitude and quality of Canadian science and technology over the past five years. “The State of Science and Technology in Canada, 2012” provides a thorough analysis of the scientific disciplines and technological applications where Canada excels in a global context.
The council assembled an 18-member expert panel from Canada and around the world to conduct this in-depth assessment. They focused on research performed in the higher education sector as well as the not-for-profit and government sectors.
Canada produces 4.1 percent of the world’s research papers and nearly five percent of the world’s most frequently cited papers. Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta together accounted for 97 percent of the country’s output of research papers. It was Prince Edward Island and Manitoba that were identified as specializing in the field of agriculture. However, the fields of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry; and Earth and Environmental Sciences have not experienced the same improvement as Canadian science and technology in general since the last study was conducted in 2006.
The report states scientific output and impact in these fields was either static or declined in the 2005-2010 period compared to 1999-2004. Both fields, however, maintain considerable strength and reputation: Canadian research in Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry ranked second in the world in a survey of 5,000 international researchers, and Earth and Environmental Sciences ranked fourth.
You can find out more at www.scienceadvice.ca. •
Developing Fusarium resistant corn
A breeding project, led by Laima Kott at the University of Guelph, is taking a unique approach to developing Fusarium resistance in corn.
Corn pollen is cultured in a liquid medium where the pollen grains develop into embryos that ultimately grow into normal corn plants. This process produces inbred lines through one culture sequence and can be used to identify new traits in new corn inbreds.
The second, and more practical, aspect of this research was to utilize the pollen culture protocol described above, to then generate lines with Fusarium resistance. A short UV exposure of pollen cultures induces minor genetic changes (point mutations). By adding specific chemicals to the media, most embryos grown from mutagenized pollen are killed, while survivors are the mutants of interest and may carry Fusarium resistance.
Globally, no other lab has been successful in delivering similar results to date. •
Who are you following?
Farmers are using Twitter to stay connected with each other and stay up to date with industry news. Each month, Ontario Grain Farmer magazine will highlight two Twitter accounts we think you should consider following.
Peter Johnson is a Provincial Cereal Specialist with the field crop team at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). Johnson offers advice on planting and weed control and provides updates on research trials and field conditions. He has more than 1,200 followers.
Farm Credit Canada is using Twitter as a way to connect with their customers and other organizations within the agriculture industry. Their goal is to provide content that helps advance the business of agriculture. They’re open to answering questions and acknowledging the comments they receive from farmers. •