Alberta to Hold Open Farm Days on Aug. 15 and 16

- Kids in wheat field

Farms across Alberta will host visitors as part of the province’s Open Farm Days on Aug. 15 and 16, the province says in a news release on Aug. 5. The events will include open houses, local food experiences, tours and opportunities to buy locally grown and produced products.

“Albertans want to buy and eat local and Open Farm Days connects them with local farmers,” Devin Dreeshen, minister of agriculture and forestry, says in the news release. “Albertans can now buy direct everything from beer and whiskey, steak and potatoes, fruits and vegetables and everything in between.”

Open Farm Days this year will feature sparkling sour cherry black current juice, the release notes. The craft juice was made in collaboration with local partners using Alberta-grown ingredients and can be purchased at DNA Gardens and during Open Farm Days at Annex Ale Project in Calgary and select host farms.

“Alberta’s Open Farm Days is truly a celebration of Alberta’s bounty and those who create it. It is an opportunity for people to experience first-hand the innovations in agriculture and the care and stewardship these amazing farmers have to feed the world,” Tim Carson, CEO of the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, says in the release.

In order to follow COVID-19 procedures, those who plan to visit a host farm this year will have to book their spot online ahead of time through Farmzy, an online platform created by past Open Farm Days participants and fifth generation Alberta farming brothers Matt and Graham Graff. Visitors can visit albertafarmdays.ca to browse this year’s offerings.

Admission to farms is free, but there may be costs for some activities and many are cash only, the release notes. Alberta Open Farms Days is a collaborative project presented by the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, Travel Alberta and participating farms and ranches.

Advancing Women Conference March 23 & 24 in Calgary

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The Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference is created for every woman who is passionate about agriculture and food, whether you are a university student studying agriculture, producer, entrepreneur, representative of a grower association or corporate agribusiness. AWC is for women who want to enhance their family life, community, career, and industry through:

—communications and coaching
—mentoring and networking
—financial management and independence
—health and balance of life strategies
—career planning, and
—setting goals in all areas

AWC has a proven track record of bringing women in agriculture and food together from across Canada and parts of the U.S. AWC is proud of the quality of speakers that we bring to the podium, including business experts, motivational and inspirational leaders, and industry representatives.

 If you are looking to:

  • make connections with businesses that add value to your operation,
  • find a coach or mentor to help you deal with day-to-day issues, succession planning and financing,
  • learn from real-world role models that will provide you with leadership tips and tools to succeed in today’s marketplace,
  • build your personal brand and learn skills of persuasion and advocacy,
  • learn ways to deal with anxiety, depression and mental stress
  • get re-energized and re-focused for the new year ahead, AWC is the place to be.

Take advantage of the discounted group registration price and bring your friends and co-workers. Register at: https://www.advancingwomenconference.ca/2020west/registration/

Beyond Breeding

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For Jamie Larsen, an exciting part of this year’s meeting of the Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale (PRCWRT) was a new assessment tool created in large part by Robert Graf.

It allowed breeders who planned to put new lines forward for recommendation to run those lines through the tool, which told them whether or not the line was likely to be recommended for registration or would need to be discussed in more detail by the committee.

Graf, a winter wheat breeder with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), noted the assessment tool was part of a comprehensive review led by Brian Beres (research scientist at AAFC Lethbridge) and Curtis Pozniak (wheat breeder at the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre (CDC).

Jamie Larsen, chair of the PRCWRT.

“When Rob came up with the idea, it was a points-based system to weigh certain traits, but evolved to the point where if a line was equal to or better than the checks it would go through, and if it was worse than the checks in some way, it would be flagged and then the breeder would have to explain why it has merit,” committee chair Larsen said.

“It offers the breeder a chance to put forth a good argument to explain why the variety has merit to be registered.”

The tool has resulted in new efficiencies for the PRCWRT, he added. “The meetings used to be hours, and this has cut that down so we can focus on other topics of discussion.”

Focusing on the big picture was a big component of this year’s Prairie Grain Development Committee (PGDC) meeting held in Saskatoon, Sask., during the last week of February. “Beyond Breeding” was the chosen theme of this year’s plenary session, which PGDC chairperson Mitchell Japp said was picked in order to highlight the long road faced by lines put forth for registration at the annual gathering.

“What happens to those lines after they become varieties? How are varieties adopted by industries and consumers? How are varieties compared in post-registration trials? We’re looking at all of that this year,” Japp said.

What’s Up in Wheat

The PRCWRT looked at a record number of lines this year — 37 to be exact, according to Larsen.

W569 winter wheat (CWRW) from Graf’s program was supported for registration on Feb. 28. It met or exceeded all agronomic, disease and quality parameters for the class, Graf noted.

Mitchell Japp, chair of the PGDC.

Some exciting new lines from Richard Cuthbert’s program were also included, among others.

That, combined with the new assessment tool developed by Graf, are just a taste of what’s to come in the world of wheat, Larsen noted.

“Hybrid wheat is coming, and that will have interesting implications from a registration perspective. Also, there’s the topic of forage wheat and how we handle that. Whether we ask for it to be put through the special purpose class or have a special forage test is up for discussion,” he said.

“The past few years have been dry on the Prairies, so having more annual forages available would be handy for the livestock industry. The thing is, wheat is wheat — there’s no forage wheat or wheat for grain. If you want wheat for forage it needs to go through all the qualifications for grain production. Do we ask for things to change or have that forage data generated afterwards so producers have that info?”

Barley for Brewing

Six barley lines were put forth for recommendation this year by the Prairie Recommending Committee for Oats and Barley (PRCOB), coming from the programs of Patricia Juskiw, Joseph Nyachiro and Yadeta Kabeta (Field Crop Development Centre in Lacombe) as well as Aaron Beattie (CDC, University of Saskatchewan).

Ana Badea, chair of the Breeding & Agronomy Evaluation Team for the
PRCOB.

Ana Badea, chair of the PRCOB’s Breeding & Agronomy Evaluation Team, is already looking forward to next year. Although she didn’t have any lines up for recommendation in 2019, the barley breeder from AAFC Brandon in Manitoba says she’s hopeful that next year could see the unveiling of a line called TR17255, a hulled or covered variety that could be ideally suited to the mainstream industry and a replacement for AC Metcalfe.

“The continuous challenge we have is to try to see into the future. We don’t have a crystal ball — it’s a challenge trying to predict what will be needed in 10 years by farmers and seed companies, malt houses, breweries. The key is making sure we develop the right germplasm needed to be the foundation of those new varieties needed by different users,” she says.

The PRCOB also put forward five oat lines for registration courtesy of breeders Jennifer Mitchell-Fetch (AAFC Brandon) and Jim Dyck of the Saskatoon-based Oat Advantage.

In Pulses, Protein’s the Name of the Game

With the release of the new Canada Food Guide in January, plant-based protein is a major topic among the public, and pulse breeders are aware of it.

This year, the Prairie Recommending Committee for Pulses and Specialty Crops (PRCPSC) supported for registration four bean lines, five lentil lines, six yellow pea lines and one green pea line.

“In pulses, we really have to hold the line on protein — it’s a value-added component of pulses,” said Glen Hawkins, breeder for DL Seeds and chair of the PRCPSC.

Glen Hawkins, chair of the PRCPSC.

All seven pea lines were from the breeding program of Tom Warkentin at the University of Saskatchewan.

“One expanding area would be for selecting higher protein content in yellow pea, especially since there’s a growing market for fractionation,” Warkentin says. “We want to combine higher protein without losing good agronomic performance. We don’t want high protein and low yield.”

For Warkentin and Hawkins, the topic of value creation is top-of-mind in order to reward breeders for their innovations and help fund the creation of new varieties for producers and processors.

“At DL Seeds we’ve been working for the past 10 years in the pulse market with little to no return in terms of royalties. Developing these lines isn’t free,” Hawkins says. “In all crops where producers use farm-saved seed, it’s imperative we put dollars back into the pockets of the breeders.”

Tom Warkentin, pulse breeder.

Warkentin agrees.

“I hope we have mechanisms in place soon for self-pollinated crops so there are better incentives for breeding them,” he said.

No lines were put forward this year by the Prairie Recommending Committee for Oilseeds.

PGDC Plenary Highlights 2019

The theme of this year’s PGDC plenary session was Beyond Breeding. Here are some snapshots of the discussion.

Oat Whisky is a Thing

Wheat whisky, triticale whisky and malt barley whisky. They’ve all been made by Saskatchewan’s Black Fox Farm & Distillery. But the award-winning spirits maker has also tried its hand at making an oat whisky.

“Want a nice spirit? Use oats. Problem is, oats don’t yield a large alcohol amount,” says distillery co-owner Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote. She says that while working with oats produces a terrific whisky, the inherent qualities of the grain make it a challenge to work with.

Agronomics aside, if there’s something she would like breeders to deliver in oats, it’s taste. “I want different flavours, something that sets me apart from everyone else. That’s what will help us make breeders more money.”

She says grain varieties with unique flavour component would be highly prized by distillers like herself.

“We can charge consumers more for unique flavour. Right now, everyone is excited about heritage varieties. We know heritage varieties aren’t really grown anymore because they’re not disease resistant and don’t store well. But one thing they have is flavour. The end consumer is who [the product is] going to, and if we can’t differentiate ourselves that way, then we have a problem.”

Barley Sector too Slow to Change

AC Metcalfe barley was registered in the late 1990s, CDC Copeland in 2003. Seventy-five per cent of barley acres in Western Canada are still seeded to Metcalfe and Copeland, noted Jill McDonald, executive director of the SaskBarley Development Commission.

“That’s very concerning from my board’s perspective when it comes to variety acceptance. AC Synergy is picking up some acreage, but our market is still dominated by two older varieties. That must change.”

So, SaskBarley looked at why the sector has a variety acceptance problem. The key, she says, is to engage all levels of industry to be involved in advancing new varieties.

“For years we’ve heard that it’s the maltsters’ fault because they won’t accept new varieties, or it’s the brewers, or it’s the seed companies’ fault because they’re not increasing. We’re beyond that. We need to move together for this to happen. We’re moving toward a coordinated approach and I believe we’ll make considerable progress over the next year or two.”

Australian Variety Trial Model Offers Possible Alternative

Jason Reinheimer, senior breeder for Limagrain Cereals Research Canada, spoke about Australia’s Variety Registration Trials (NVT) system. Reinheimer grew up in Australia and spoke about some of the advantages of this system over Canada’s current variety registration model.

The NVT model is run by Australia’s Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). NVT is a national program of comparative crop variety testing with standardized trial management, data generation, collection and dissemination. This is managed through an internet-accessed database that ensures a common approach and uniformity across the system.

Crops tested are wheat, barley, canola, chickpea, faba bean, field pea, lentil, lupin, oat and triticale.

Breeding in Australia is essentially the same as in Canada, Reinheimer noted. The major difference is Australia has no registration system for varieties. Breeders get through their testing and make a determination whether a line has merit for the marketplace or not. Once internal testing is complete, a line is entered into the NVT system and that results in a minimum of two years of testing before it is released to the market.

“This system ensures farmers have power. They have independent data and they make the choice,” Reinheimer said. “Instead of regulating things that come through the system, it is left open and farmers have the best information to make decisions on their farms.”

 

New Attractions Brewing at Open Farm Days

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Albertans are encouraged to mark Aug. 17-18 on their calendars to experience this year’s Alberta Open Farm Days lineup, including an exclusive craft beer.

People can visit more than 150 host farms across the province for open houses, tours and an opportunity to buy locally grown and homemade products.

“Open Farm Days is a fantastic event that gives Albertans a chance to get to know neighbours and learn where our food comes from,” said Tanya Fir, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism. “It’s also a great way to buy local and support our rural economy and agriculture sector, with fun events for the whole family.”

Culinary farm-to-fork events that highlight local ingredients have been popular at Open Farm Days. This year, six Alberta breweries have developed a craft beer featuring four Alberta-grown products. The Open Farm Days cream ale showcases Alberta-grown wheat, oats, corn and haskap berries. The ale is available now at participating breweries and select restaurants.

Overall, there are 29 culinary events and 11 tours to enjoy this year. Other fan-favourite activities such as corn mazes, hayrides and mini golf are also making their return.

Admission to farms is free, but there may be costs for some activities and many are cash only. It is also recommended to bring a cooler to store produce and other products. Tickets for culinary events are available for purchase. Space is limited, so people are encouraged to buy tickets ahead of time.

Alberta Open Farms Days is a collaborative project presented by the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, Travel Alberta and participating farms and ranches. Visit albertafarmdays.ca for more information, including details about tickets and where to buy the Open Farm Days cream ale.

Quick facts

  • Open Farm Days has directly contributed to nearly $650,000 in on-farm sales since 2013.
  • There have been nearly 82,000 visits over the history of Alberta Open Farm Days, with increasing attendance each year.
  • Since Open Farm Days launched in 2013, 484 Alberta farms have participated in the popular event.

WheatStalk: One Day of Agronomy Solutions

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The wheat centric field day, WheatStalk, is heading north!

Join Alberta Wheat Commission and Peace Country Beef and Forage for WheatStalk – a day full of agronomy learning and fun in the sun!

This build-your-own-adventure event features a soil health expert, tips and tricks on idenifying pests and four different trial plots including canola, pulses, barley and wheat as well as an intercropping demostration.

All growers will be able to find useful information on their favourite crops to implement on their farm.

Be one of the first 50 to pre-register for the event and get our famous wheat socks upon check-in!

Details:

Date: Aug 08, 2019

Time: 9.00 am – 3.00 pm

Venue: Lyons Production Services Event Centre, 33061A Alberta 674, Grande Prairie, Alberta T0H 0G0

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/wheatstalk-tickets-60756061014

First International Wheat Congress Coming in July

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Be part of the 1st International Wheat Congress that will be held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada from July 21st to July 26th, 2019. Saskatoon is the region’s cultural and economic hub and is located at the heart of wheat production in Canada. The Congress will be hosted at TCU Place, a world class facility located in the heart of Saskatoon’s vibrant downtown.

The Congress is the first meeting of its kind, and will include a balanced program encompassing six areas of wheat research: Wheat Diversity, Evolution, and Genetic Resources; Structural and Functional Genomics of Wheat and Wheat Relatives; Wheat Improvement: Breeding, Physiology, and Enabling technologies; Wheat Production Systems: Environment, Sustainability, and Management; Protecting Yield: Resistance to Biotic and Abiotic Stresses; Wheat Uses: Functionality, Nutrition, Safety and Human Health.

The Congress will include joint plenary sessions and concurrent sessions, with over 100 invited speakers presenting. All plenary sessions will be streamed live on the web and social media platforms. Two poster sessions, field trips, cultural activities, as well as social events for networking will round out the weeks event.

For more information, click here.

Register Now for the CSTA Annual Meeting

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This year's CSTA annual meeting will be held at the Fairmont in Whistler, B.C.

Early bird registration for the Canadian Seed Trade Association’s annual general meeting ends this week.

The CSTA, in collaboration with the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA), will hold its 2019 AGM at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler in Whistler, British Columbia. Both associations are working to bring you four exciting and informative days of events and meetings.

“Our goal is to build off the progress of the Seed Synergy Partnership and work with our collective members to foster further collaboration and developments in the industry. We can all look forward to an informative agenda with joint sessions on hot topics like Seed Synergy and Value Creation and CSTA-specific meetings as well,” says CSTA president Todd Hyra. “All sessions will provide plenty of opportunity for dialogue and engagement and I look forward to the discussions to come.”

The Annual Meetings will also feature a joint President’s Reception, Gala Dinner and a spectacular Fun Night showcasing the natural beauty of Western Canada.

Early bird registration ends May 29. More info is available at: https://seedinnovation.ca/annual-meeting-2019-2/

Alberta Canolapalooza: June 26 in Lacombe

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The event is hosted by Alberta Canola, the Canola Council of Canada and Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada and it truly offers an expert answer for every canola question.

Attendees set their own schedule and visit the learning stations of their choice between 9:30 am and 3:30 pm. This year, Alberta canolaPALOOZA will have 25 learning stations and over 125 speakers to teach you everything you need to know about canola production (including how to grow other crops in a sustainable crop rotation). Click here for a complete list of stations and speakers and to register.

Note that there is no charge to attend Alberta canolaPALOOZA but we ask that everyone pre-register so we can tailor the event better to the crowd that attends.

Source: Canola Watch

Beyond Breeding: 2019 PGDC Update

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Black Fox Farm & Distillery founders John Cote and Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote.

The 2019 meeting of the Prairie Grain Development Committee saw breeders focus not just on how they do their work, but why — and what the implications are for the future.

For Jamie Larsen,  an exciting part of this year’s meeting of the Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale (PRCWRT) was a new assessment tool created in large part by Robert Graf.

It allowed breeders who planned to put new lines forward for recommendation to run those lines through the tool, which told them whether or not the line was likely to be recommended for registration or would need to be discussed in more detail by the committee.

Graf, a winter wheat breeder with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), noted the assessment tool was part of a comprehensive review led by Brian Beres (research scientist at AAFC Lethbridge) and Curtis Pozniak (wheat breeder at the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre (CDC).

“When Rob came up with the idea, it was a points-based system to weigh certain traits, but evolved to the point where if a line was equal to or better than the checks it would go through, and if it was worse than the checks in some way, it would be flagged and then the breeder would have to explain why it has merit,” committee chair Larsen said.

“It offers the breeder a chance to put forth a good argument to explain why the variety has merit to be registered.”

The tool has resulted in new efficiencies for the PRCWRT, he added. “The meetings used to be hours, and this has cut that down so we can focus on other topics of discussion.”

Focusing on the big picture was a big component of this year’s Prairie Grain Development Committee (PGDC) meeting held in Saskatoon, Sask. during the last week of February. “Beyond Breeding” was the chosen theme of this year’s plenary session, which PGDC chairperson Mitchell Japp said was picked in order to highlight the long road faced by lines put forth for registration at the annual gathering.

“What happens to those lines after they become varieties? How are varieties adopted by industries and consumers? How are varieties compared in post-registration trials? We’re looking at all of that this year,” Japp said.

What’s Up in Wheat

The PRCWRT looked at a record number of lines this year — 37 to be exact, according to Larsen.

W569 winter wheat (CWRW) from Graf’s program was supported for registration on Feb. 28. It met or exceeded all agronomic, disease and quality parameters for the class, Graf noted.

Some exciting new lines from Richard Cuthbert’s program were also included, among others.

That, combined with the new assessment tool developed by Graf, are just a taste of what’s to come in the world of wheat, Larsen noted.

“Hybrid wheat is coming, and that will have interesting implications from a registration perspective. Also, there’s the topic of forage wheat and how we handle that. Whether we ask for it to be put it through the special purpose class or have a special forage test is up for discussion,” he said.

“The past few years have been dry on the Prairies, so having more annual forages available would be handy for the livestock industry. The thing us, wheat is wheat — there’s no forage wheat or wheat for grain. If you want wheat for forage it needs to go through all the qualifications for grain production. Do we ask for things to change or have that forage data generated afterwards so producers have that info?”

Barley for Brewing

Six barley lines were put forth for recommendation this year by the Prairie Recommending Committee for Oats and Barley (PRCOB), coming from the programs of Patricia Juskiw, Joseph Nyachiro and Yadeta Kabeta (Field Crop Development Centre in Lacombe) as well as Aaron Beattie (CDC, University of Saskatchewan).

Committee member Ana Badea is already looking forward to next year. Although she didn’t have any lines up for recommendation in 2019, the barley breeder from AAFC Brandon in Manitoba says she’s hopeful that next year could see the unveiling of a line called TR17255, a hull-less variety that could be ideally suited to the craft beer industry and a potential replacement for AC Metcalfe.

“The continuous challenge we have is to try to see into the future. We don’t have a crystal ball — it’s a challenge trying to predict what will be needed in 10 years by farmers and seed companies, malt houses, breweries. The key is making sure we develop the right germplasm needed to be the foundation of those new varieties needed by different users,” she says.

The PRCOB also put forward five oat lines for registration courtesy of breeders Jennifer Mitchell-Fetch (AAFC Brandon) and Jim Dyck of the Saskatoon-based Oat Advantage (see page 58 for a story on Dyck’s oat breeding).

The New Canada Food Guide recommends eating more plant-based protein.

In Pulses, Protein’s the Name of the Game

With the release of the new Canada Food Guide in January, plant-based protein is a major topic among the public, and pulse breeders are aware of it.

This year, the Prairie Recommending Committee for Pulses and Specialty Crops (PRCPSC) supported for registration four bean lines, five lentil lines, six yellow pea lines and one green pea line.

“In pulses, we really have to hold the line on protein — it’s a value-added component of pulses,” said Glen Hawkins, breeder for DL Seeds and chair of the PRCPSC.

All seven pea lines were from the breeding program of Tom Warkentin at the University of Saskatchewan.

“One expanding area would be for selecting higher protein content in yellow pea, especially since there’s a growing market for fractionation,” Warkentin says. “We want to combine higher protein without losing good agronomic performance. We don’t want high protein and low yield.”

For Warkentin and Hawkins, the topic of value creation is top-of-mind in order to reward breeders for their innovations and help fund the creation of new varieties for producers and processors.

“At DL Seeds we’ve been working for the past 10 years in the pulse market with little to no return in terms of royalties. Developing these lines isn’t free,” Hawkins says. “In all crops where producers use farm saved seed, it’s imperative we put dollars back into the pockets of the breeders.”

Warkentin agrees.

“I hope we have mechanisms in place soon for self-pollinated crops so there are better incentives for breeding them,” he said.

No lines were put forward this year by the Prairie Recommending Committee for Oilseeds.

Plenary Highlights

The theme of this year’s PGDC plenary session was Beyond Breeding. Here are some snapshots of the discussion.

Oat Whisky is a Thing

Wheat whisky, triticale whisky and malt barley whisky. They’ve all been made by Saskatchewan’s Black Fox Farm & Distillery. But the award-winning spirits maker has also tried its hand at making an oat whisky.

“Want a nice spirit? Use oats. Problem is, oats don’t yield a large alcohol amount,” says distillery co-owner Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote. She says that while working with oats produces a terrific whisky, the inherent qualities of the grain make it a challenge to work with.

Agronomics aside, if there’s something she would like breeders to deliver in oats, it’s taste. “I want different flavours, something that sets me apart from everyone else. That’s what will help us make breeders more money.”

She says grain varieties with unique flavour components would be highly prized by distillers like herself.

“We can charge consumers more for unique flavour. Right now, everyone is excited about heritage varieties. We know heritage varieties aren’t really grown anymore because they’re not disease resistant and don’t store well. But one thing they have is flavour. The end consumer is who [the product is] going to, and if we can’t differentiate ourselves that way, then we have a problem.”

Barley Sector too Slow to Change

AC Metcalfe barley was registered in the late 1990s, CDC Copeland as well. 75 per cent of barley acres in Western Canada are still seeded to Metcalfe and Copeland, noted Jill McDonald, executive director of the SaskBarley Development Commission.

“That’s very concerning from my board’s perspective when it comes to variety acceptance. AC Synergy is picking up some acreage, but our market is still dominated by two older varieties. That must change.”

So, SaskBarley looked at why the sector has a variety acceptance problem. The key, she says, is to engage all levels of industry to be involved in advancing new varieties.

“For years we’ve heard that it’s the maltsters’ fault because they won’t accept new varieties, or it’s the brewers, or it’s the seed companies’ fault because they’re not increasing. We’re beyond that. We need to move together for this to happen. We’re moving toward a coordinated approach and I believe we’ll make considerable progress over the next year or two.”

Australian Variety Trial Model Shows Different Way of Doing Things

Jason Reinheimer, senior breeder for Limagrain Cereals Research Canada, spoke about Australia’s Variety Registration Trials (NVT) system. Reinheimer grew up in Australia and spoke about some of the advantages of this system.

The NVT model is run by Australia’s Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). NVT is a national program of comparative crop variety testing with standardized trial management, data generation, collection and dissemination. This is managed through an internet-accessed database that ensures a common approach and uniformity across the system.

Crops tested are wheat, barley, canola, chickpea, faba bean, field pea, lentil, lupin, oat and triticale.

Breeding in Australia is essentially the same as in Canada, Reinheimer noted. The major difference is Australia has no registration system for varieties. The breeder gets through their testing and makes a determination whether a line has merit for the marketplace or not. Once internal testing is complete, a line is entered into the NVT system and that results in a minimum of two years of testing before it is released to the market.

“This system ensures farmers have power. They have independent data and they make the choice,” Reinheimer said. “Instead of regulating things that come through the system, it is left open and farmers have the best information to make decisions on their farms.”

Grain Growers of Canada holds second annual National Grain Week

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Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) members from coast to coast are in Ottawa this week to meet with government as part of the second annual National Grain Week which runs from February 26-28. This year’s theme, From Report to Reality, focusses on harnessing the recommendations in the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table Report released in September 2018.

“This Report is an opportunity not to be missed for our industry,” said Jeff Nielsen (Olds, AB), GGC Chair. “We are excited about the future of grain farming in Canada and are ready to work with government to achieve success.”

The Report lays out clear deliverables for government and industry aimed at supporting the growth of agriculture, agri-food and the Canadian economy as a whole. As a naturally innovative industry, agri-food is a growth driver and GGC members have been pleased to see the Government’s recent recognition of that fact.

“It is so important as farmers that we take the time to come to Ottawa and meet directly with government on a regular basis,” said GGC Vice Chair Markus Haerle (St. Isidore, ON). “Our sector has unique needs which focus on trade, innovation, infrastructure, and a strong regulatory environment; all of which are addressed in the EST report.”

The Report is just one in a series of recent reports that acknowledge the agri-food sector’s potential including the Barton Report, Budget 2017, and the Fall Economic Statement from November 2018. The Government has a focus on growing the middle class, and, as key contributors to strong rural economies grain farmers are clear partners in achieving that goal.

In addition to government meetings, National Grains Week includes a Parliamentary reception on Tuesday, February 26th where Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay will deliver remarks.

“Now that Canada is once again in a federal election year it is all the more important that grain farmers are vocal in our needs and advocate for our industry,” added Shane Stokke (Watrous, SK), GGC Vice Chair. “We are proud of what we contribute to the economy and look forward to working with government and our industry partners to ensure that Canada’s grain sector is sustainable and competitive for generations to come.”

Source: Grain Growers of Canada