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China is a top destination for Canadian barley, canola and wheat. Canada has typically had the largest market share for canola and been competitive in malting barley. Both of these crops have experienced the rollercoaster of Chinese trade policy. While market access for canola was restricted during the Huawei crisis, Canadian barley benefitted from China’s diplomatic spat with Australia. Generally unaffected by politics, Canada is China’s main source of high-quality wheat, primarily CWRS.

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It may be thought of as a disease of the past, but ergot still causes headaches for farmers across the Prairies. While its prevalence may be high, its threat level is typically low and often a non-issue. However, the fungus that’s been a fact of life since at least the Middles Ages, remains a concern. Downgrades at the elevator and contaminated screenings cause issues for grain farmers and feedlot owners alike.

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Two research projects funded by the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) have made significant advances in cereal crop genetics. Overseen by Pierre Hucl of the Crop Development Centre (CDC) at the University of Saskatchewan, the first of these examined the viability of a new dwarfing gene in bread wheat. Secondly, Nora Foroud of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) developed new wheat and barley lines with improved resistance to Fusarium head blight (FHB).

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As of June 1, 2020, Cereals Canada and the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) officially joined together as one organization. This amalgamation will facilitate the streamlining of functions and services.

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With early snowfalls having impacted harvests in recent years, the time couldn’t be better for Dean Spaner’s wheat breeding program to hit its stride. A University of Alberta professor and plant breeder, Spaner focuses on bringing high-yielding but early-maturing wheat varieties to market. It’s a natural fit for the northernmost wheat breeding program on the continent.

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