TheWheatField THE NEWSLETTER OF THE SASKATCHEWAN WHEAT DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION DECEMBER 2015 EDITION
Investing in research We are on pace to maximize our research program At Sask Wheat, we are vocal about the fact that investing in research is our number one priority. More specifically, we aim to maximize direct financial benefits to Saskatchewan producers through yield gains, improved quality characteristics, and agronomic deficiencies by funding research in three priority areas: variety development, production and post-production. The end goal of our research investment is to improve crop management, reduce input costs and environmental impact, and increase yield and quality of grain for Saskatchewan producers. The federal government isn’t producing as much research as it once did – 40% budget cuts to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2012 significantly affected its capacity to do research. We need to work on restoring the federal commitment to varietal development research while we invest on behalf of producers. As a result, the majority of Sask Wheat’s operating budget is earmarked for research investments. Sask Wheat was established in 2013 and our Board and staff have established appropriate strategic goals and direction for the research program, as well as a research committee, which are critical to guiding funding commitments.
in this issue
Sask Wheat news . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 GM Message: Wrapping up 2015 and Looking Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Grain Grading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Increasing Fusarium Head Blight Resistance in Wheat . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) Profile . . . . . . 7
Our research program is ramping up according to the annual cycle of research proposals received collectively by the funding bodies in Western Canada. We partner in already established application processes through the Sask Ministry of Ag, the Canadian Wheat Alliance, Genome Prairie/Genome Canada, and more, which are primarily received once a year. We also coordinate with the wheat commissions in Alberta and Manitoba to understand proposals of potential joint interest. Whenever possible we look to leverage producer research dollars by co-funding projects with government, industry commissions and the private sector. Reviewing and executing contracts on research proposals is a lengthy process involving various levels of due diligence– it can take several months for any single project to reach an executed funding agreement. In addition, Sask Wheat has partnered with the other wheat and barley commissions in Western Canada and the Western Grains Research Foundation to explore potential options for enhanced producer involvement in wheat and barley variety development. We hired a consultant group that will be delivering the final report this fall. This work may provide a framework for making strategic investments by the commissions – this is a major piece of the puzzle that needs to be sorted out prior to full commitment of our ongoing funding. We have also dedicated resources to ensuring we are investing in research that contributes to our priority areas and long-term goals. Research projects are usually two-tofive years in scope so our annual investments only reflect annual commitments. For example, Sask Wheat’s total research investment for the 2014/15 year was $282,487 but total funds committed to these multi-year projects were approximately $1 million. Investing in valuable outputs/results based research is a long-term commitment and Sask Wheat will be laddering-up its research commitments with each new annual intake of (continued on next page)
The WheatField is the publication of the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission.