Source: Bayer CropScience

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and Bayer CropScience announced that they will be providing funding to Brian Fowler, Ph.D., at the University of Saskatchewan for winter wheat research in the amount of $200,000 per year over the next three years. DUC and Bayer CropScience presented this information at the Saskatchewan Winter Cereals Development Commission AGM during the opening day of Crop Production Week.


"This important funding shows DU Canada's continued support in finding new and improved winter wheat varieties on the Prairies," said Paul Thoroughgood, regional agrologist for DUC. "We have a very good working relationship with Dr. Fowler and have been actively funding his winter wheat research since the early 90's. It isn't often that you get to work with someone who is recognized as a world leader in their field. Dr. Fowler's area of expertise is cold hardiness research."


Dr. Fowler's varieties have occupied the majority of winter wheat acres on the Prairies for more than 10 years. He is currently in the process of winding down his plant breeding program, shifting his energies to understanding winter hardiness in cereals; particularly wheat.


"Improving our understanding of how plants adapt to cold and which genes are responsible will help future plant breeders develop more winter hardy varieties," said Brian Fowler, Ph.D., professor, Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan. "Ducks Unlimited Canada has been a long-term supporter of winter wheat research at the University of Saskatchewan and without their ongoing support the program would have ceased to exist long ago. This latest funding made possible through their partnership with Bayer CropScience allows us to build on the successes of previous research."


"Through the Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action partnership, Ducks Unlimited Canada and Bayer CropScience also support winter wheat variety development at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Centre in Lethbridge and at various universities in the northern United States," said Paul Thiel, vice president innovation and public affairs for Bayer CropScience. "Investing in winter wheat is part of our efforts to make food production more sustainable in Prairie Canada."


When recommended management practices are employed, the risk of winter kill on the Canadian Prairies is not much different than primary winter wheat growing areas of the United States. However, non-winter wheat growers have said that winter survival is one of their main reasons for not growing winter wheat. By investing in Dr. Fowler's cold tolerance research at the University of Saskatchewan, DUC and Bayer CropScience are hopeful that in the near future growers will have a variety of choices that will address this concern. This will allow more growers to realize the sustainability benefits of including winter wheat in their cropping systems.


Winter wheat offers many benefits when included in cropping systems:



  • Increased profitability — winter wheat has consistently been one of the top net income producers in the recent past;

  • Increased yield — winter wheat out yields spring wheat by up to 40 percent;

  • Spreading out the workload by completing a portion of seeding in the fall and allowing an earlier start to harvest;

  • Self insurance against inclement weather during spring seeding and late season harvest; and

  • Habitat for wildlife — waterfowl that nest in winter wheat are 24 times more productive than those who nest in spring-sown cereals.



For more information on winter wheat and the Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action partnership, please visit www.wintercereals.ca.