The Future Field Crop Research Needs process was launched in January 2021 and completed in November, as part of WGRF’s 40th anniversary. The goal was for WGRF to establish priorities to guide the organization when funding cross-cutting crop research.

More than 300 farmers, agronomists, scientists, and WGRF members participated in the process that solidifies the type of cross-cutting crop research WGRF will fund in the future.

WGRF’s ‘Cross-Cutting Crop Research Priorities’ encompass issues that affect farmers no matter what crop they’re growing. In total, six themes, 17 associated issues and 66 research questions are outlined in the document that will be essential to scientists and institutions seeking funding from WGRF.

Collaborative process to establishing research priorities 

As a first step, WGRF contracted Drs. George Clayton and Stephen Morgan Jones of Amaethon to gather views on the future of western Canadian field crops. This resulted in the Amaethon Report “Survey on Future Changes in Crop Production on Prairie Farms and Implications for Research.”

Virtual workshops and member consultation

In summer 2021, WGRF embarked on step two of the process. This involved hosting three virtual workshops with the aim of identifying the implications for research associated with the issues identified in the Amaethon Report.

Workshop topics included: crop and soil management (weeds, diseases, insects, plant nutrition); precision agriculture (variable rate, soil management zones, data); and sustainability (cropping systems, diversified crops, climate change). The document WGRF-Research-Workshop-Summary captures the workshop discussions for each sub-theme.

In fall 2021, WGRF moved to the third phase of the project and consulted with its members to generate further discussion based on the previous steps and reports.