Investing in Canadian Prairie Spring wheat

Regina-based pedigreed seed company FP Genetics announced Aug. 14 it will invest $1.5 million over the next 10 years in the Canadian Prairie Spring (CPS) Wheat Breeding Program at the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre (CDC). 

"We have a long history of successful collaboration with the CDC and currently invest in the oat breeding program at CDC," said FP Genetics Chairman Brent McCarthy. "We see the CPS class of wheat as an area of growth within the agricultural industry and our shared goal of improving high quality wheat varieties with elite agronomic performance will be a great partnership."

CPS wheat was established in 1985 as a lower protein alternative to the Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) class so highly prized by bread makers. According to the Canadian Grain Commission and Saskatchewan Agriculture, CPS is better suited to flatbreads and noodles, and more recently, ethanol production. It typically yields about 15 to 20 per cent higher than CWRS wheat.

McCarthy explained the funding agreement will allow FP Genetics to share its first-hand knowledge of the certified seed industry with the CDC researchers and together it can help producers maximize their crop investments.

"This investment will allow the CDC to significantly expand its current breeding efforts in the CPS wheat class,"Â said CDC wheat breeder Curtis Pozniak at the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. "I am excited to work with the FP Genetics team to develop and market superior CPS wheat varieties for western Canadian producers."

"This is a significant investment from a Saskatchewan company at a time of uncertainty regarding wheat research in Canada," said Kofi Agblor, CDC managing director. "We applaud FP Genetics for their initiative in funding research and development for CPS wheat, which is showing signs of becoming a major market class for western Canadian wheat growers."

FP Genetics, founded in 2008, provides superior new crop varieties to its members in the pedigreed seed industry for multiplication and sale. The company is a major distributor of new cereal, oilseed, special crop and forage varieties in western Canada.

The U of S Crop Development Centre is Saskatchewan's premier crop breeding institute. Funded through partnerships with Saskatchewan Agriculture, farm organizations and private sector companies, the CDC develops varieties of spring wheat, durum, canary seed, barley, oat, flax, pea, lentil, chickpea and dry bean for the economic benefit of farmers and Saskatchewan's agricultural industry. Since its inception in 1971, the CDC has released more than 370 varieties of field crops.

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