present, 11 breeding projects are being funded, worth 25 per cent of the total research budget. For example, AAFC research scientists Deng-Jin Bing and Parthiba Balasubramanian are working on developing field pea and dry bean varieties, respectively, with improved disease resistance and harvestability as well as increased yields. “These scientists are continually putting out fantastic genetics that are very Alberta focused. Our industry is seeing the benefits of those varieties. It’s exciting to see that work in commercial production,” says Fischbuch. In the future, APG wants to see an increase in the number of varieties available to Alberta producers suited to the province’s growing conditions. Thus, the organization allocates generous funds for pre-commercialization research, says Hilgartner. “That’s where companies tend not to put money in because they don’t see a [return] next year or the year after. If it’s a new variety, it’s ready five to 10 years from now. That’s where we thought we’d look at putting our support,” he says. Last year, the APG board decided to end its agreement with Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG) whereby Alberta’s Select Status seed growers could access breeder seed through the SPG’s Variety Release Program. “We were in that agreement for numerous years where we provided some funding that allowed [Select Status] seed growers access to that program. When the program was initiated, there were indirect benefits to APG members via the Select Seed growers, and recent evaluation determined the program was no longer meeting the organization’s objectives,” says Fischbuch. “When we look at Alberta, we would like to see more pulse varieties targeted for Alberta growers focused on Alberta’s environment. So, testing in the province of Alberta and focusing on selections that would be key for our growers. We’re not the same environment as other parts of Canada,” she says. Furthermore, Fischbuch says SPG is currently reviewing the way it commercializes its pulse varieties outside of Saskatchewan, and is exploring options for marketing those varieties. “There will be opportunity to have varieties here from CDC and elsewhere. I think it’s all changing. There are many breeders out there and they’re producing great varieties. We want to see that benefit come to Alberta. And if there are CDC varieties that excel, that’s great — they’ll eventually be here,” she says. Fischbuch also believes the ratification of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV ’91) convention will also spur investment in varietal development. “With UPOV ’91, I think there’s opportunity to move forward and see more companies bring their genetics here for testing and establishment. Look at the numbers of varieties that have been introduced since the legislation passed. You’re getting a whole bunch of plant breeders protecting their varieties now when they’re bringing them into Canada,” says Fischbuch. “If the [varieties] are showing good yields, farmers will find them and use them. And we’ll continue with our investments in research because, really, that’s where we’re focusing and trying to make sure that our growers are able to grow their pulses, market their pulses, and really be profitable and sustainable for the industry.” D’Arcy Hilgartner, APG’s chair, says the organization tries to be reflective of the needs and wants of producers. Photo courtesy D’Arcy Hilgartner 34 | Advancing Seed in Alberta Faller Seed Depot is pleased to partner with its dealers to offer free seed to local grain growing projects. 120% yield of CWRS Lodging - Midrange 1 Day Earlier than Carberry I-MR to Leaf & Stem Rust * S rating for Stripe Rust Intermediate FHB Resistance 1.2% Less Protein than Glenn Semi Dwarf - 1” taller than Carberry Walt Smith 204-825-7810 Stamp’s Select Seeds 403-739-2233 Alberta Seed Depot dealer: