Barley grower organizations from the three prairie provinces and the Western Grains Research Foundation are investing $2.4 million over the next five years in the barley variety development program at the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre.
The funding from Alberta Barley, the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission, the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association and the WGRF was announced on Wednesday.
“We are extremely pleased to have the three provincial commissions joining WGRF in supporting barley breeding at the CDC, demonstrating continued producer support for research targeting improved yield, disease resistance, and malt quality,” Kofi Agblor, Managing Director of the CDC. “This funding provides stability to the program for maintaining long-term, highly qualified technical staff, as well as resources for marker development and use in the breeding program.”
The centre has released more than 70 malt, feed and food barley varieties since 1971, including popular varieties like Harrington, CDC Copeland and CDC Austenson. In the past five years alone, the program has released new malting varieties, including CDC Clear (2011), CDC Bow (2014), CDC Platinum Star (2014) and TR12135 (to be named CDC Fraser).
The $2.4 million will be allocated toward breeding varieties in three market categories: two-row malting, two-row general purpose and two-row hulless (food/malt).
“Since 1995 producers have invested almost $15 million into barley variety development through the Western Grains Research Foundation. Renewing our agreement with the CDC and having all of the prairie barley commissions and associations investing together is an important step to ensuring producers continue to get good value for their check-offs,” noted WGRF chair Dave Sefton.
Changes are looming for the way the barley check-off is administered, as the Western Canadian Deduction implemented by the federal government in 2012 will expire next summer. The provincial cereal crop organizations are working on assuming the responsibilities of collecting and administering the checkoff as of August 1, 2017.