Canadian wheat groups say coordinating their efforts with farmers in other countries will ensure that Canadian wheat producers are not left behind.
Launch biotech wheat simultaneously
In an announcement released May 14, the Grain Growers of Canada, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and the Alberta Winter Wheat Producers Commission said that they had reached an accord with Australian and U.S. wheat producers on the need for the synchronized introduction of biotech wheat.
In a release on its website, the Grain Growers of Canada explained that wheat acreage in Canada will decline even more unless there is innovation in plant breeding.
Improve yield, quality
The application of biotechnology in wheat research could lead to the development of several traits to improve wheat yields and wheat quality.
Traits to improve yields could include those that deal with:
• Environmental factors, such as drought and cold tolerance
• Weed and insect infestations, such as midge and sawfly
• Improving disease resistance
• Improving the wheat plant’s use of nutrients
Traits to improve the quality attributes of wheat could include those that are designed to:
• Accommodate consumers with food allergies
• Help reduce obesity
• Improve the nutritional profile of wheat-based foods.
Wheat acreage in Western Canada has declined significantly over the past two decades in part because of its declining profitability, relative to canola and other crops, and because of increased competition from wheat producers in Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Argentina.
In a recent story on Food&DrinkEurope.com, the Canadian Wheat Board has said that it will not support genetically modified wheat until certain conditions are met.