The Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) and the University of Albertaâ€™s Faculty of Agricultural, life & Environmental Sciences (ALES) announced that they have renewed their partnership in wheat breeding. WGRF will invest $811,587 into the wheat breeding program at the University of Alberta over the next five years.
â€œThe wheat breeding program at the U of Aâ€™s Faculty of ALES is an important piece of the western Canadian wheat breeding network,â€ said Dave Sefton, WGRF Board Chair. â€œWGRF has been investing in wheat research at the U of A since 2005 and, over this time we have seen the program take some significant strides towards the development of new wheat varieties and germplasm for the parkland zone.â€
â€œWGRFâ€™s support has been integral to the success weâ€™ve enjoyed,â€ said Dean Spaner, wheat breeder and professor. â€œThis continued long-term investment demonstrates the value the wheat producers of western Canada place on our work, and is the base that attracts other investors. This announcement is a tremendous boost in confidence and responsibility, for which we are deeply grateful.â€
â€œThis investment over the next five years more than doubles the previous five year commitment by WGRF,â€ says Garth Patterson, WGRF Executive Director. â€œOver the last five years alone, the U of A Wheat Breeding Program has registered five improved CWRS varieties, released one germplasm line, and graduated five PhD and four MSc students. This exemplifies the great work being done at the U of A.â€
â€œWe are very proud of our wheat breeding program that helps western Canadian wheat growers grow healthier, higher-yielding crops,â€ said Dr. Stanford F. Blade, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences. â€œWeâ€™re also very grateful for the confidence shown by WGRF, whose support plays a pivotal role in the success weâ€™ve had with our program.â€
The U of A breeding program focuses on Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS), Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPS-R) and the Canada Western General Purpose (CWGP) class. The goal of the program is to develop and select germplasm that will result in higher yielding varieties that are earlier maturing, have increased straw strength and protect the quality characteristics of the CPS and CWRS wheat.