Many crops find a single home under one research roof

The Whole Crop Research Program "is a whole-farm, cross-commodity approach to research," says the Manitoba Crop Alliance. | Screencap via mbcropalliance.ca

For years in Western Canada, commodity groups have mostly stayed in their lane.

Provincial canola associations fund research on canola diseases, flea beetles and other issues that affect canola. Flax associations fund research on flax, barley groups fund barley research and so on.

The Manitoba Crop Alliance is now taking a different approach.

On March 18, it unveiled the Whole Crop Research Program.

“(It) is a whole-farm, cross-commodity approach to research. It is not crop-specific and leads to innovative solutions for the benefit of Manitoba producers now and into the future,” the MCA said in a release.

Manitoba Crop Alliance is an amalgamation of five farm groups: the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association, Manitoba Corn Growers Association, National Sunflower Association of Canada, Manitoba Flax Growers Association and Winter Cereals Manitoba.

The MCA officially became an organization last summer.

It is now accepting letters of intent for Whole Crop Research projects. The deadline is April 15 for projects that will begin in 2022.

The program will prioritize research on a range of topics, including soil health, innovative crop rotation, cover crops, pest management, intercropping, weeds, diseases and insects and water.

“The Whole Farm Research Program is a unique opportunity for Manitoba,” says Warren McCutcheon, farmer, delegate on the Whole Farm Research committee and MCA director.

“It’s a chance for researchers, commodities and organizations across the country to collaborate on initiatives to increase profitability for grain farmers in Manitoba now and into the future.

The Alliance will continue to support research that’s directed at certain crops, including funding for varietal development, diseases like fusarium head blight and other crop specific projects.

The MCA also manages on-farm research trials.

This year, it’s seeking growers to participate in a number of trials, such as:

  • Management of lodging in spring wheat with a plant growth regulator
  • fusarium head blight management through fungicide timing in spring wheat and barley
  • use of a seed treatment in spring wheat
  • plant populations in vorn, spring wheat and sunflowers

For more information, contact Daryl Rex at 204.745.6661 or email daryl@mbcropalliance.ca.

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