The Canadian Wheat Research Coalition will administer the new $20 million Canadian National Wheat Cluster.

Coalition Chair Jake Leguee says the wheat cluster is critical to the development of wheat varieties, better economic systems and everything else that makes farmers in Western Canada grow wheat more profitable and sustainable. 

The previous cluster which ran from 2018 to 2023 focused on 14 projects including cultivar development, pre-breeding for future resistance to insects and disease, insect resistance in varieties to protect grain yield and quality, as well as crop management to capture full genetic potential and minimize the environmental footprint.

The Wheat Research Coalition is a collaboration between the Manitoba Crop Alliance, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, Alberta Grains. the Western Grains Research Foundation and the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance.

Through the coalition, $9.3 million is being invested with the largest portion of that almost $3 million coming from SaskWheat, as they represent the largest wheat growing area in Canada.

Leguee says the new funding for the wheat cluster will focus on 15 projects relating to wheat, durum, and winter wheat research.

"We have projects around cultivar development. So developing better wheat varieties, developing disease resistance traits like fusarium head blight resistance in durum, which has been an issue for a long time in that crop. We're also investing in projects that are really sort of pre-breeding projects like gene editing to deliver improved genetics. We're investing in winter wheat. We also have projects that are investing in nitrogen stabilizers and split fertilizer application to see the results of doing that on nitrous oxide emissions. So there's a there's a whole swath of projects that cover a lot of different things but all of it is in the name of making  farmers in Western Canada more profitable over the long run."

Some of the projects relating to durum focus on developing new cultivars that will have improved agronomics, yield and quality.

He points out that the investment in research through the wheat cluster will keep wheat profitable and sustainable for Canadian farmers.

"When they're seeking out economic advice on how to grow the best crops they can, the projects we're funding through this cluster will really help farmers achieve all of those goals."