Sask Wheat and SeCan to invest up to $3.5 million in CDC durum program

Saskatoon (January 13, 2016) – The development of durum varieties through the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre (CDC) will take a major step forward thanks to a commitment to invest up to $3.5 million over ten years by the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat) and SeCan.

The funding will allow the CDC to enhance and expand on the research and variety development it is conducting through its world-leading program for Canada Western Amber Durum (CWAD). This commitment to the CDC’s durum program will help develop varieties that are resistant to fusarium head blight, produce higher yields and contain traits desirable by mills and pasta processors.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Saskatchewan wheat producers to invest in research that will benefit producers, processors, breeders and several others along the value chain,” says Regina-area producer and Sask Wheat Chair Bill Gehl. “The research being conducted by the CDC’s durum program has the potential to open new markets and strengthen Saskatchewan’s position as a world-leader in the production of quality, high-grade durum. Farmers have been investing in the CDC for several years through the Western Canadian Deduction and WGRF. The additional investment by Sask Wheat and SeCan will allow the CDC to expand the durum program and address issues critical to producers and end users.”

“As the leading supplier of cereal seed to Canadian farmers, SeCan has an extensive track record of successful public-private partnerships, several of which involve the Crop Development Centre,” says SeCan General Manager Jeff Reid. “Clearly the durum wheat breeding program at the CDC is poised for tremendous success in the next decade, and we are thrilled to be a partner in delivering this innovation to Canadian durum growers. We believe engaging producer groups like the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, alongside our private investment, will create a long-term winning formula for agriculture in Canada.”

“The CDC has a long history of working collaboratively with industry partners in developing crop varieties,” says CDC Managing Director Kofi Agblor. “This investment further strengthens our relationship with the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and SeCan for durum wheat development and the end result will be durum varieties that provide value to both our growers and end use customers.”

With a mandate to improve the economic returns for farmers and the agricultural industry of Western Canada, the CDC conducts research and development to improve existing crops, create new uses for traditional crops, and develop new crops. Created in 1971, the CDC has released over 440 commercial crop varieties and is recognized nationally and internationally for basic and applied crop research and development and successful field crop breeding.

SeCan is a consortium of over 700 independent Canadian seed businesses engaged in seed production, processing and marketing. As “Canada’s Seed Partner”, SeCan actively seeks partnerships that promote success in Canadian agriculture. SeCan is the largest supplier of certified seed to Canadian farmers, with more than 480 varieties in 27 crop types developed by public and private sector breeding programs. Collectively, SeCan members are major supporters of seed variety research and development, returning more than $90 million in royalties and research funding since inception in 1976.

Established in June 2013, Sask Wheat is a producer-led organization with a platform for growth in the province's wheat industry. Check-off dollars administered by Sask Wheat go toward research, market development and promotion initiatives that will lead to improved wheat varieties, growing their marketability and providing higher value to producers.

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For more information, please contact:

Dallas Carpenter
Communications Manager
Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
P: 306.220.7003

Brenda Trask Communications Manager
P: 613.720.7528