Barley research funded at U of S

The Canadian Barley Research Coalition has signed a funding agreement with the University of Saskatchewan's Crop Development Centre, which will help breeders such as Aaron Beattie develop new varieties for growers. | University of Saskatchewan photo

The Canadian Barley Research Coalition has signed a new $2.7 million core breeding agreement with the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre.

Under the new deal, the CRBC will contribute $2.7 million to the CDC over five years, with the money going toward the development of new barley varieties with improved agronomic, disease resistance and end-use quality characteristics.

The CBRC is a prairie-wide coalition whose main purpose is to support barley research and breeding initiatives using producers’ check-off dollars. The coalition consists of the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley), Alberta Barley and the Manitoba Crop Alliance, formerly known as the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association.

“The agreement with the CDC ensures that western Canadian barley farmers can expect new and improved barley varieties from a world-class, multimillion-dollar breeding program over the next five years,” said CBRC interim chair Jason Skotheim, who also serves as chair of SaskBarley.

“This investment into the CDC breeding program will produce deliverables that will allow our farmers to stay competitive….

“The last round of producer funding provided to the CDC saw the registration of two new malting varieties: one feed variety and one hulless variety. In the next five years we expect another three varieties to be released. This will have major benefits to our farmers.” The CDC was established nearly 50 years ago and is known for developing high-performing crop varieties that are well-suited for western Canadian growing conditions.

Since 1971, the centre has developed more than 400 new varieties of spring wheat, durum, canaryseed, barley, oats, flax, field peas, lentils, chickpeas, fababeans and dry beans.

CDC barley breeder Aaron Beattie said producer investments in CDC plant breeding activities has helped create new markets and opportunities for barley growers in Saskatchewan and across Western Canada. “We are very pleased with the long-term funding from the CBRC and appreciate the confidence they have in our program,” Beattie said.

“We look forward to continuing to deliver improved varieties to the Canadian barley industry and providing value to all within the value chain.” Finalizing a core breeding agreement with the CDC was the first order of business for the CBRC, which was officially formed earlier this year.

CBRC’s primary objective is to facilitate long-term investments aimed at improving the profitability and competitiveness for western Canadian barley farmers. The organization will also provide funding for qualifying regional projects that align with variety development and agronomic priorities.

“This core breeding agreement with the CDC will lead to enhanced barley varieties and secures our future with access to competitive and profitable varieties,” said David Bishop, chair of Alberta Barley.

“Stronger agronomic packages and higher yields combined with quality traits that meet the needs of the brewing and malting industry will be the return on this barley breeding investment.”

Added Fred Greig, chair of the Manitoba Crop Alliance: Manitoba Crop Alliance understands how important it is for breeders to secure long-term funding when developing new varieties….

“We are thrilled to be doing our part to help make this possible through this collaboration with our sister organizations in Saskatchewan and Alberta.”


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