AWC - Funded Research

Spotlight on AWC-funded Research

AWC invests in research projects that maximize crop performance. Check out Spotlight on Research, our new publication that highlights AWC-funded projects aimed at boosting your bottom line.

Investing in research that makes sense for farmers 

Click the icons below or type a keyword in the search bar to view AWC-funded research related to your on-farm challenge. Visit our Why invest in research page to learn more about how AWC’s value-added research investments  result in better returns for farmers.    

Integrated management of stripe rust in wheat for Alberta (2019-2022)

Severe epidemics of stripe rust may cause up to 50% yield losses. Stripe rust has been observed every year in western Canada, with serious epidemics reported in 5 of last 10 years. Recent epidemics result from the pathogen overwintering in southern…

Expanding Albertan capacity for Hard Red Spring wheat breeding, and the education of future scientists

This project supports continued research and development activities of the Canadian Western Hard Red Spring (CWRS) wheat breeding program at the University of Alberta. We have released 11 CWRS cultivars and educated many scientists serving the Canadian…

Breeding Improved Canada Western Amber Durum Cultivars

Canada is the largest durum wheat exporter in the world, and exports 80% of its durum production annually. In most years, Canadian durum exports represent 50 to 70 % of world trade. Canadian durum wheat is marketed as the Canada Western…

Development of Canada Prairie Spring - Red (CPSR) Cultivars for Western Canada

Wheat is a major crop in western Canada, grown in rotation with pulses and canola, and is fundamental to sustainable production systems that minimize soil erosion risk and break disease cycles. Wheat production in western Canada is affected by a variety…

Development of Field-Ready Cultivars of Canada Western Soft White Spring (CWSWS) Wheat

Wheat production in western Canada is affected by a variety of diseases with ever-evolving dynamic populations, which causes significant economic losses every year. Due to population shifts and/or mutations, and the appearance of new more aggressive…

Breeding field ready Canada Western Red Spring cultivars for the Eastern Prairies

Wheat is one of the most ubiquitously grown and consumed food in the world. Wheat is a staple food for nearly a third of the world population, and is expected that demand will grow tremendously to feed approximately double the world population by…

Application of Biotechnological Tools to Wheat Breeding

Cultivar development is expensive, labour intensive, and time consuming; many years pass from the time a breeder makes an initial cross to new cultivar release. Applied biotechnology through molecular breeding and doubled haploid production improves…

Improving yield, yield stability and Grade protection in Western Canadian Spring and Durum Wheat Cultivars – An Integrated approach

Over the last 15 years, significant progress has been made at the Crop Development Centre (CDC) at the University of Saskatchewan in the development of high yielding, shorter, stronger-strawed cultivars that meet the needs of evolving crop production…

Pre-breeding and development of breeding tools to diversify disease resistance in bread wheat

There are many diseases of wheat that cause yield losses and reduce grain quality. One way to control diseases is to breed wheat varieties that carry disease resistance genes. Genetic resistance has the benefit of reducing input costs for producers,…

Development of improved winter wheat cultivars for western Canada

The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Lethbridge Research and Development Centre has a long history of developing superior winter wheat cultivars (primarily Canada Western Red Winter) that enhance competitiveness and reduce business risk for…

A pre-breeding platform for Canadian wheat improvement

Genetic resistance has long been proven to the best and most sustainable way to mitigate the damage caused to the wheat crop by diseases such as fusarium head blight (FHB), leaf rust (LR), stipe rust (YR) or powdery mildew (PM). For example, pyramiding…

Winter wheat breeding and germplasm development for disease resistance

The University of Manitoba winter wheat breeding program is well established. The primary objectives of the wheat breeding program are to develop Canada Western Special Purpose (CWSP) Winter (30% of material) and Canada Western Red Winter (CWRW) …

Evaluation and Breeding of Winter Durum Wheat for Southern Alberta

Winter durum wheat has the potential to be a high value, high yielding cereal crop for Alberta farmers. The research objective of this project is to evaluate existing winter durum lines and develop new winter durum populations. Germplasm evaluation…

Precision breeding in wheat mediated by engineered haploid inducers

Our aim is to develop a simple and reliable method of gene editing in wheat and to improve on the current method used by breeders to produce doubled haploids (DH). By having maize deliver gene editing machinery during the maize pollination procedure,…

A Comparative Genomics Approach to Improve Doubled Haploid Breeding for Common and Durum Wheat

Our aim is to develop a more efficient doubled haploid (DH) production process through utilization of isolated microspore culture. Comparative genomics will be applied to screen for important factors critical to the production of DH plants from microspores.…

Assessment and deployment of a new dwarfing gene in red spring wheat

Over the last decade an increasing portion of the Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) wheat cultivars released have carried height-reducing genes (Rht) while the majority of Canada Prairie Spring (CPS) cultivars have been semi dwarf in stature since…

Genetics and Improvement of Earliness in Canadian Spring Wheat

Early maturity in wheat is important for timely harvest to avoid frost damage and other harvest and post-harvest problems. A better understanding of maturity will help ensure higher and better quality wheat yields for consumers and growers alike.…

Breeding spring wheat for improved Nitrogen Use Efficiency and associated traits

High-nitrogen (N) fertilizer increases yield. It also increases production costs to wheat growers, and excess N fertilizer causes environmental and health risks. The proposed study furthers our previous work to examine the genetics needed to breed…

Best management practices to support the adoption of an ultra-early wheat seeding system across broad-acres in Western Canada

The development of an ultra-early wheat seeding system in western Canada began over five years ago with proof of concept and screening work in Guelph, Ontario and Lethbridge, Alberta. Since then the system has begun to take shape with several milestone…

Canadian Wheat-NAM (Can-NAM): Capturing genetic variation for Canadian wheat improvement

To increase the genetic diversity of the Canadian wheat pool, this research proposes to utilize a proven strategy, nested association mapping (NAM), a multiple-parental breeding population approach to explore synthetic hexaploid wheat (SHW) to enhance…

Genomic Strategies to Improve Field Survival of Winter Cereals and Stabilized Yield

Production of winter wheat on the Canadian Prairies is perceived risky as current cultivars have insufficient low temperature tolerance to guarantee consistent winter survival. Breeding for higher cold hardiness in winter wheat has become very difficult,…

Tweaking Stomatal Development to Improve Water Use Efficiency and Biomass Production of Wheat Under Drought Stress

Stomata are small openings found on plant surfaces that mediate gas exchange with the surrounding atmosphere. This structure is important for photosynthesis and water use efficiency as they control the amount of CO2 intake and water lost by opening…

Scale Up and Validation of a Low-Cost Paper-Based Test for Mycotoxins

A simple, paper based mycotoxin testing platform was created previously to detect mycotoxins that may contaminate major food crops. This 3 year research proposal aims to upgrade the platform for use in farms, grain elevators, and for processor testing.…

Integrated Management of Stripe Rust in Wheat for Alberta

This 3 year research project aims to monitor incidence and severity of stripe rust in Alberta through annual surveys, determining the virulence of prevalent wheat races, and identification and characterizing new sources of resistance including introgression…

Filling Gaps in Wheat Cultivar Development with Translational Research which pertains to activity 4.3.1 of the Genome Canada project entitled Canadian Triticum Applied Genomics (CTAG2)

This 4 year proposal aims to translate the latest innovative genomic technologies to the wheat breeding programs. The research will focus on the deployment of new innovative technologies including a DNA marker breeder chip as a new selection tool,…

Development of spring wheat (SWS and GP) with higher yield potential for Alberta's bio-economy

Increasing cereal competitiveness is an important priority to the grains and livestock sector of Alberta. New high yielding wheat lines can be developed specifically for various growing regions (north, central, and south) of Alberta if selection in…

The genetics of early maturity as it relates to high yield in the development and breeding of hard red spring wheat for Alberta

Understanding the basis of early maturity in wheat may lessen the use of herbicides through improved competition with weeds, and may also improve the quality of harvested wheat. This research will use techniques of both conventional quantitative and…

Genetics and improvement of FHB in spring wheat

Several management and cultural practices, host plant resistance, chemical and biological control measures have been suggested to control Fusarium head blight (FHB). However, genetic resistance is considered to be the most effective and environment…

Plant Growth Regulators: barley, oat, and wheat variety specificity and appropriate timing for new PGRs

This 3 year project will identify which varieties of wheat, oat, and barley are affected by Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs), and whether PGRs are useful applications for lodging resistance. Timing for PGR application will also be assessed. PGRs are…

Fighting rust fungal crop threats through integrated genomics research

This 4 year project will analyze 60 Canadian wheat genomes, combined with comparative analysis of available stem and stripe rust information, to select for important virulence factors against wheat. These genomic information will allow for future…

Improvement in wheat carbon flux for increased yield and harvest index

This 4 year project proposes to increase grain yield by manipulating the cellular carbon flux to improve productivity in wheat varieties. By using genome editing technology, the primary regulatory enzyme (mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase complex…

Identifying new genes in domesticated intermediate wheatgrass to improve biotic and abiotic stress resistance and grain quality for wheat

This research project evaluates intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium) for disease resistance genes that can be transferred to wheat. A combination of phenotypic evaluation, molecular analysis and intergeneric crossing will assist (1) breeders…

Nitrogen Fixation in Triticale

This two years proposal is a proof of concept for the introduction of the N2 biological fixation pathway into mitochondria of crops. The nitrogen fixation (Nif) cluster will be introduced into triticale mitochondria using short peptide nanocarrier…

Development of premium quality western Canadian winter wheat

This project will develop winter wheat varieties for Alberta and all of western Canada with CWRS-like quality characteristics while increasing/maintaining yield, winter survival and disease resistance. The goal is to reduce and ultimately eliminate…

The integration of spring wheat genetics and agronomics to mitigate risks associated with early plantings into cold soils

This investigation will determine if early plantings of cold tolerant cultivars coupled with optimum agronomics will extend the growing season and achieve or exceed attainable spring wheat yield with improved system stability.

In vitro selection: rapid screening and development of FHB and DON resistant wheat

Fusarium head blight (FHB), also known as ‘scab’, is a devastating disease of cereal crops caused by a necrotrophic fungus, Fusarium graminearum and related species. The fungus produces trichothecene toxins (including deoxynivalenol) that…

Developing new high yield wheat varieties (CPS and GP), for milling, the animal feed and ethanol industry in Alberta

This proposal provides stable funding to the high yield spring wheat breeding program at the UofA, supporting the long-term objectives of developing cultivars with high yield, early maturity and disease resistance. This funding is needed to provide…

Expanding Albertan capacity for HRS breeding and the education of future scientists

This project supports continued research and development activities of the Canadian Western Hard Red Spring (CWRS) wheat breeding program at the University of Alberta. The overall objectives of this research are to develop new CWRS cultivars selected…