It’s the nature of news—what’s hot today usually disappears tomorrow. Such was the case a year or so ago with the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance, a coming together of field crop research interests in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The alliance’s creation was a banner headline in agriculture, being a creative and potentially ultra-effective approach to new field crop developments. Then, as many stories do, it left the radar screen.
But its participants didn’t. Last week, the Guelph-based Grain Farmers of Ontario put the initiative back in the spotlight when it announced 10 new soybean varieties had been developed through the alliance’s efforts.
That’s huge. Soybeans are Ontario’s biggest field crop. Any gains in this commodity’s genetics are significant to the overall agri-food sector. And gains happen through research and breeding.
The varieties have been developed under the broad umbrella of a three-year project called Advanced Canadian Field Crops Through Breeding, funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Some of new varieties had already been under development with support from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). Now, they’re ready to be licensed to seed companies and made available to farmers. In fact, some already are.
I write about the results of this initiative in my Urban Cowboy column in the Guelph Mercury. The soybean photo is from the Ontario Farm Animal Council agricultural photo library.