Pulse Beat

Agri-Science Clusters – Now, That’s Collaboration!

Daryl Domitruk, PhD, PAg, Director of Research and Production, MPSG

LOOKING AHEAD TO the summer edition of Pulse Beat, readers can expect a summary of the current projects receiving funding from MPSG. At this point in the cycle the list is lengthy. In this issue we would like to highlight a specific batch of projects that are underway in conjunction with our sister organizations across Canada. These organizations have been brought together under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Agri-Science Clusters program, which is funded by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP). The program enables grower organizations and other private sector players to pool their funds in order to access federal funds, researchers and research facilities. The federal government matches industry dollars on a 70/30 or 50/50 (federal government/industry) basis. Projects are conducted within the five-year CAP timeframe 2018–2023.

MPSG has signed on to three Agri-Science Clusters with one more being finalized. Each one links researchers across Canada to work on issues important to Manitoba. For example, an AAFC plant pathologist in one prairie province may be linked with a plant breeder in Ontario who is enabled to work with an agronomist at a third location back on the prairies. For individual farmer organizations such connections are cumbersome to make flying solo. Plus, farmers can achieve much greater leverage of their funds. The following defines the focus of each Agri-Science Cluster, as well as the combined funding from AAFC and industry.

SOYBEAN CLUSTER
Focus – root diseases, breeding short-season non-GMO varieties, improving protein content
Total cluster funding – $8,400,000. MPSG funding: $568,000
Partners – Grain Farmers of Ontario, Producteurs de grains du Québec, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, Atlantic Grains Council, SECAN

PULSE CLUSTER
Focus – dry bean breeding, pea breeding, root and foliar diseases, pulse food ingredients
Total cluster funding – $18,300,000. MPSG funding: $1,418,000
Partners – Alberta Pulse Growers. Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, Ontario Bean Growers

INTEGRATED CROP AGRONOMY CLUSTER
Focus – weed, insect and disease surveys, glyphosate-resistant Kochia, cover crops, economics of crop rotations
Total cluster funding – $9,000,000. MPSG funding: $228,000
Partners – Western Grains Research Foundation, Alberta Pulse Growers, Alberta Wheat Commission, Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute, Manitoba Canola Growers Association, Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association, Prairie Oat Growers Association, Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission.

ORGANIC SCIENCE CLUSTER
Focus – breeding organic soybeans, weed-insect-disease management, crop nutrition, soil health, ecosystem services, integrating crop and livestock production
Total cluster funding – $12,600,000. MPSG funding: $20,000
Partners – Organic Federation of Canada, Western Grains Research Foundation, Organic Council of Ontario, Grain Farmers of Ontario and over 66 other partners.