Government of Canada announces investment in research to promote more diverse crop rotations on farms

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Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Research activities are at the heart of innovation and progress, especially in agriculture, and can lead to long-term growth and success for the sector.

Today, Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced up to $5,733,852 to the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) through the AgriScience Program – Clusters Component, an initiative under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, to promote more diverse crop rotations on farms.

The Cropping Systems Cluster, led by CFCRA, will develop the characteristics and practices to encourage diverse crop rotations for soybean, corn and oat. The research aims to reduce business risk for farmers by developing crops that are resilient to climate change and weather stresses, protect against losses caused by diseases and insects, and are profitable for producers overall. This will be achieved by developing oat varieties with improved traits for Eastern and Western Canada, as well as improving soybean varieties for short-season production environments in Canada.

Research activities will also explore how diverse crop rotations can play a central role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and how better genetics, land management, and fertilizer use can improve nitrogen use efficiency to protect the environment.

Quotes

“With climate change having a direct impact on producers, crop diversity is vitally important to keeping our agriculture sector healthy, productive, and competitive. This funding will help researchers explore the benefits of crop rotations and encourage producers to integrate soybean, corn and oat crops into their farms.”

– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Research and innovation to improve crop rotations on farms is important to ensure producers can grow the most efficient and sustainable soybean, corn, and oat crops. With this funding to the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance, scientists will be focusing on issues important to farmers here in Guelph and systems that can benefit farmers across Canada.”

– Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament, Guelph

“The Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance applauds the Government of Canada’s investment in vital agricultural and food industry research. The Cropping Systems Cluster will target soybean, corn and oat, emphasizing disease resistance enhancement, crop variety improvement, and integration of cover crops. The research outcomes will support diverse crop rotations that can reduce GHG emissions, improve environmental resiliency and grow the economic stability of the Canadian grain sector.”

– Wade Hainstock, President, Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance

Quick facts

  • Soybeans contribute $4.6 billion to the Canadian economy and are the fourth most valuable crop due to their high prices.
  • Canadian corn production has risen incrementally since 2010, increasing export revenue to a record of $941 million in 2021-22.
  • In 2021-22, Canadian oat exports were valued at $558 million, with 93% of exports going to the United States.
  • Crop rotation is the practice of planting crops with diverse characteristics in sequence on the same field over time. It improves the ability of producers to manage the soil in a manner that optimizes soil health and nutrient use, prevents soil erosion, reduces pest infestations, and increases yields.
  • The AgriScience Program, under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, aims to accelerate innovation by providing funding and support for pre-commercial science activities and research that benefits the agriculture and agri-food sector, and Canadians.
  • The Clusters Component, under the AgriScience Program, supports projects intended to mobilize industry, government, and academia through partnerships and address priority national themes and horizontal issues.
  • The Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) is a not-for-profit entity founded in 2010 with an interest in advancing the genetic capacity of field crops in Canada, particularly barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat.