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Wheat and Barley Variety Development Research

Producers’ investing in research and development through WGRF provides a solid return for western Canadian wheat and barley growers. WGRF achieves an estimated return for producers of between twenty and seven dollars in net income for every one dollar of check-off spent on variety research and development.

WGRF has assisted in the development and release of more than 200 new wheat and barley varieties over the past decade and a half, many of which are today seeded to large portions of the cropland in Western Canada. Cultivars are widely tested across western Canada to ensure adaptation to drought, heat, weather damage and diseases such as rust, common bunt, Fusarium Head Blight, leaf spots, and loose smut, and insects such as Orange Wheat Blossom midge and wheat stem sawfly. 

Producers on the WGRF Board of Directors are at the front-line in the decision making process, selecting specific breeding objectives for each of the research stations. Goals and objectives are outlined at the onset of research agreements with regular reviews and annual progress reports submitted by each of the researchers. Mid-term reviews are conducted on long-term agreements to ensure breeding targets remain on track with industry and global trends.

WGRF has recently taken significant steps to increase funding of wheat and barley research at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Prairie Universities. The breeding objectives set out in these agreements improve the ability of Canadian producers to compete in export markets by developing wheat and barley cultivars with higher yields, improved end use properties, and better disease and insect resistance compared to those previously grown in farmers’ fields.

WGRF invest in wheat and barley breeding programs at AAFC institutions and the three prairie universities: University of Saskatchewan, University of Manitoba, and the University of Alberta and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (AARD).