WGRF Members Update August 2023

New Strategic Plan

The WGRF Board approved a new Strategic Plan for 2023 to 2026. Over the next three years, WGRF plans to invest more than $35 million dollars into crop research and capacity with the goal to deliver significant gains for Western Canadian farmers.  This new 3-year plan was developed following consultation with WGRF Member Organizations and Directors. 

The new plan addresses strategic priorities in research, communication, our research fund and governance. All areas that have been the foundation of WGRF’s sustained success.

• A long-term sustainable research funder, highly respected for our governance and decision-making process with a sound strategic plan.

• Fund research that provides the greatest impact (short and long-term profitability) to the western Canadian grain farmer.

• Ongoing strong relationships with other funders and research community.

• Western Canadian grain farmer directed with diverse farmer representation.

• Operational excellence and efficiency.

• Effective communication and knowledge transfer to stakeholders.

• Responsive to changing production/funding challenges with a proactive approach to addressing research gaps.

• Passionate and engaged staff and Board members.

With more than four decades of research investment behind us, WGRF is well positioned to continue to be a long-term sustainable funder of crop research in Western Canada.

The WGRF Strategic plan can be found here: https://wgrf.ca/about/strategic-plan/

WGRF Tours the University of Alberta

The WGRF Board had the opportunity to tour plots and meet with researchers at the University of Alberta prior to their Board Meeting on July 20th in Leduc, AB.

Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster Research Summary

The Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster (ICAC) wrapped up in March 2023. WGRF created a summary document highlighting the people and projects that made ICAC so successful. The results from ICAC include the development of a number of insights and tools including websites, factsheets, and risk models are available to agronomists and farmers as they tackle widespread agronomic challenges.

WGRF would like to acknowledge all the funders of ICAC including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada,  Alberta Pulse Growers, Alberta Wheat Commission, Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute, Manitoba Canola Growers Association, Manitoba Crop Alliance, Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers, Prairie Oat Growers Association, Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, and Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission.

The report can be found here https://wgrf.ca/uncategorized/integrated-crop-agronomy-cluster-research-summary/

WGRF Research Chairs Making a big Impact on Prairie Agriculture

Through our Phase 1 Capacity Initiative, WGRF has committed more that $8 Million to help establish Research Chair’s at the Universities of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

We recently did an updated profile article on three of the WGRF funded Research Chairs highlighting their programs and progress to date. You can read the articles here: 

Homegrown Data Drives New Online Nutrient Calculator

WGRF was excited to help communicate the release of a new Prairie Nutrient Removal Calculator. Researchers Fran Walley and Rich Farrell from the University of Saskatchewan led the three-year project that drew collaboration from numerous producer groups and industry.

It is an online tool that provides a critical piece of information to help make on-farm fertilizer decisions. It’s not a new concept, but the calculator is fueled by new, local data collected from commercial farms in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The calculator can be found here: Prairie Nutrient Removal Calculator

Funding for this project was provided by WGRF, Alberta Wheat Commission, Prairie Oat Growers Association, Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, with logistical support provided by Nutrien Ag Solutions, and Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development.

Field Heroes

The Beneficial Insect campaign continues to be a successful project for WGRF by providing tools for growers and agronomists to identify the most common beneficial insects found across western Canada. We successfully season 4 of the Pest and Predators podcast with Shaun Haney this summer on Real Agriculture. All six new episodes can found here: https://fieldheroes.ca/resources/.

The Pest and Predators field guide continues to be very popular, so far this year an additional 500 guides have been ordered, bringing the total to over 3000 hardcopy guides requested and delivered.

Special thank you to Dr. Tyler Wist, AAFC Field Crop Entomologist for the Field Heroes display at the Saskatchewan Crop Diagnostic School.

Research Funding Highlights

WGRF continues to participate in processes at the Agriculture Funding Consortium (AFC), Agriculture Development Fund (ADF),Manitoba Agriculture – Research & Innovation, Canola Agronomy Program (CARP) and others.

In 2023, there were 273 Letters of Intent (LOI) submitted via the ADF call, 226 via the AFC call, and 64 via the CARP call. In May, the WGRF Research Committee  reviewed 113 Production proposals and 55 Variety Development proposals from the ADF and AFC calls.  A total of 53 Production and 32 Variety Development LOI’s were supported by the Research Committee to move to full proposals. Full proposals will be reviewed by the Research Committee, with recommendations for funding to be considered by the Board in November 2023.