GFM Network News


Bibeau says government committed to federal plant breeding

Seed royalty consultations stalled

The Canadian government is committed to plant breeding, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau told members of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation on Tuesday. Some farmers and seed industry officials suspect Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) variety development work, along with many other programs, will be on the chopping block post-COVID-19 as the government tackles its […] Read more



Dr. Annick Bertrand checks on the progress of cross-pollinated alfalfa plants selected for winter hardiness.

Creating a cold-tolerant alfalfa

Canadian scientists are pioneering new methods to speed development of more productive, cold-tolerant alfalfa varieties

Rows and rows of white metal cabinets resembling refrigerators line the basement of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Research Centre in Quebec City. In fact, they are plant growth chambers that contain bright grow lights and potted alfalfa plants at different stages of maturity. In another area of the building there is a large […] Read more

One of two new cold-tolerant clovers, FIXatioN Balansa will come into Canada as a cover first, then as a forage.

New cold-tolerant clovers

The first arrivals are cover crops, but forages are on their way

When it comes to trying something new, it’s common for growers who rely on their forages to stick with what works. That’s understandable, given the demands for consistency, especially by dairy producers. Yet standing still is rarely a path to success on the farm. Now, in spite of growing concerns surrounding climate change, one seed […] Read more


The Canadian milkvetch nursery as seen during a tour of the Swift Current forage trials this summer.

Giving birth to new native grasses

Forages: News Roundup from the November 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Native forage breeders at Swift Current Research and Development Centre spend their careers attempting to capture and transfer the diversity of native forages into new composite varieties that offer better health and productivity than the originals. “It takes multiple years to identify what we want and then make sure that a characteristic we are highlighting […] Read more

university of Manitoba forage breeder doug Cattani says there’s not much incentive for private companies to invest in perennial crops for which they can’t sell seed every year.

Who will breed the next generation?

Forages aren’t only suffering from a shortage of research dollars, but a shortage of researchers to do the work if the money were available

See if you can answer these two skill-testing agricultural questions. What is the largest crop in Canada? Which crop has one of the poorest records for funding research and breeding programs? If you answered “forages” to both, you’re right. You’ve also put your finger on a chronic problem in Canada’s forage industry. Statistics show the […] Read more


Forage breeding faces funding challenges

Government has cut back, private companies are not keen on crops that don’t need to be reseeded every year, and you can’t check off sales to farmers’ own livestock

Forages are Canada’s biggest crop but you wouldn’t know it because of the few resources that go into breeding them. You’d think that, given its size, forage would be a giant in the world of plant breeding. Unfortunately, it’s more of a midget. Canada has only four major publicly funded programs for breeding tame forages, […] Read more

CDC Haymaker is a new forage oat and one of the first SeCan varieties protected by the breeder under the provisions of PBR 91.

Beefed-up plant breeders’ rights

Plant breeders’ rights may not be at the top of your need-to-know list, but taking a few moments to acquaint yourself with the new regulations could save a lot of grief in the long run. Todd Hyra, SeCan’s business manager for Western Canada, explains what plant breeders’ rights (PBR) are all about and why this […] Read more


Who owns you?

As I stood in the massive greenhouse in Holland it was easy to see that farming had changed. The trays of herbs that generated 40 million euros (C$58 million) for this one glasshouse were vigorously growing under LED lights. It was the first step in the development of the “black box” where the plants’ environment […] Read more