Ariel photo of USask's Kernen Crop Research Farm. (Photo submitted)
Ariel photo of USask's Kernen Crop Research Farm. (Photo submitted)

USask College of Agriculture and Bioresources awarded $16.9 million for crop-related research

With investments from the provincial and federal governments, and industry partners through Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF), the University of Saskatchewan (USask) College of Agriculture and Bioresources has been awarded $16.9 million for crop-related research.

Twenty-seven crop-based projects led by researchers in the college were awarded, with $7.2 million allocated to operating the Crop Development Centre (CDC) for the next five years.

The funding was part of an announcement by the Government of Saskatchewan on January 11.  

Industry co-funders include Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Association (SaskPulse), Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (SaskWheat), Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA), Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission (SaskCanola), Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley), Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association (SCA), Saskatchewan Forage Seed Development Commission, and Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions.

Projects range fromdeveloping pulse protein-based whipped cream with healthy vegetable fat as a high-value dairy alternative, to developing soybean cultivars for profitable, sustainable prairie cropping systems, to using plant-derived ethanol and biodiesel to reduce plastic waste.

The college has a long history of developing innovative products and solutions that have shaped agriculture in Saskatchewan and around the world.

“Funding from our government and industry partners is an integral part of our research program. It provides our researchers the support and resources they need to develop sustainable agriculture solutions and value-added products that benefit Saskatchewan and the world,” said Dr. Angela Bedard-Haughn (PhD), dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. 

“It is through these investments and partnerships that we create a sustainable world for future generations.”

The ADF is supported through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial, and territorial governments to strengthen Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector. This includes a $2-billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 percent federally and 40 percent provincially/territorially, with a $388-million investment in strategic initiatives for Saskatchewan agriculture. 


College of Agriculture and Bioresources ADF funding recipients for crop-related research:

Yongfeng Ai, $208,500 (ADF) for investigating the use of infrared heating to improve functional and nutritional attributes of pea flours in prototype food products; and $359,400 (ADF) for the development, characterization, and food use of novel whole-cell flours from Canadian pulses. 

Sabine Banniza, $485,793 (ADF, SaskPulse, WGRF) for exploring the diversity of Fusarium solani and F. Oxysporum infecting pulse crops; and $905,184 (ADF, SaskPulse) to develop molecular tools for Fusarium avenaceum root rot resistance in lentil with different seed coat pigmentation.

Jonathan Bennett, $530,064 (ADF, MCA, SaskBarley, WGRF) for identifying microbial inocula to increase salt tolerance in barley. 

Kirstin Bett, $278,126 (ADF, SaskPulse) for identifying genetic tools to ensure Saskatchewan dry beans are protected from anthracnose. 

Maryse Bourgault, $508,964 (ADF, SCA) for investigating livestock re-integration in cropping systems for soil health improvement; and $557,115 (WGRF, SaskCanola) for investigating the need for deep banding of phosphorus in no-till systems in Canadian Prairies.

Supratim Ghosh, $210,000 (ADF) for developing pulse protein-based whipped cream with healthy vegetable fat as a high-value dairy alternative.

Pierre Hucl, $207,533 (ADF, WGRF) for increasing the efficiency of canary seed breeding and enhancing herbicide tolerance; and $214,963 (ADF, MCA, SaskWheat) for combining higher anthocyanin levels, enhanced quality, and improved disease resistance in the purple wheat. 

Darren Korber, $297,000 (ADF, SaskPulse) for investigating commercially ready vegan protein-based entrapment systems for probiotics for inclusion in plant-based foods. 

Randy Kutcher, $373,719 (ADF, MCA, SaskWheat) for developing an accelerated disease phenotyping system to select wheat germplasm resistant to FHB and stripe rust; $338,100 (ADF, SaskPulse) for evaluating flax-chickpea intercropping for disease management – fungicide regime and variety selection; and $224,901 (MCA, SaskBarley, SaskWheat, WGRF) for investigating resistance to bacterial leaf streak in wheat and barley.

Mike Nickerson, $305,000 (ADF) to develop a more nutritionally balanced milk alternative. 

Curtis Pozniak, $418,351 (AB Wheat and Barley, MCA, SaskWheat, WGRF) for marker-assisted pre-breeding for alternative semi-dwarfing genes and anther extrusion in durum and bread wheat. 

Sean Prager, $313,325 (ADF, SaskPulse) for examining potential threats from pea seed-born mosaic virus and developing PSbMV-based tools to study legume seed development. 

Martin Reaney, $260,000 (ADF) for investigating vegan soft cheese and yogurt replacement products from pulses; and $360,000 (ADF) to develop technology to degrade plastics to reusable forms by using Saskatchewan-produced biodiesel and ethanol. 

Jeff Schoenau, $144,844 (ADF, MCA, SCA, Sask. Forage Seed Development Commission) for straw harvesting strategies to provide feedstock while maintaining soil and environmental quality. 

Takuji Tanaka, $218,000 (ADF) for development of applications of legume protein enriched fraction derivatives: combinations of proteolysis and conjugation.

Albert Vandenberg, $225,000 (ADF) for breeding high value lentils for future consumer trends; and $250,000 (ADF) for 3F2B - fast forward faba bean breeding. 

Tom Warkentin, $581,038 (ADF, SaskPulse) for developing soybean cultivars for profitable, sustainable prairie cropping systems; and $599,582 (ADF, SaskPulse, WGRF) for increasing protein-yield in pea using nested association mapping; and $288,857 (ADF, SaskPulse, WGRF) for the development of SNP markers for marker-assisted selection of pea for water use efficiency and micronutrients.


Click here for a full list of USask ADF funded crop-related projects.

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