Seed World

Ridgetown Campus Public Soybean Breeding Program Recognized at Seed of the Year Event

Ridgetown Campus recipients celebrate with Martin Harry, Eastern Canada Marketing Manager, SeCan.

Recognizing the contributions of public breeding, the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus soybean breeding program was honoured at a joint SeCan/ University of Guelph, Seed of the Year event on March 3rd, 2017. Both Ridgetown and Guelph campus research scientists, technicians, and industry colleagues gathered to celebrate the breeding programs four decades of success.

“Ontario farmers are expected to grow over 2.7 million acres of soybeans in 2017and they need a variety of seeds choices to meet their individual farm needs,” says, Martin Harry, Marketing Manager, Eastern Canada, SeCan. “Public breeding initiatives provide a critical role in Canada’s on-going soybean industry success.”

Ridgetown’s public program varieties were often named after the academic institution they were developed at, formerly Ridgetown College of Agriculture Technology; short-formed to RCAT. The Ridgetown breeding program first released RCAT Alliance in 1988, followed by over 50 further variety releases; all under the insightful and determined scientific leadership of the late Dr. Gary Ablett.

Today, the Ridgetown Campus soybean breeding program is led by Dr. Milad Eskandari, with a focus on the development of Ontario adapted high-yielding and SCN-resistant soybean cultivars with value-added traits (e.g., high protein with enhanced amino acid profiles, high oil with altered fatty acid compositions, high sucrose, high isoflavone, and lipoxygenase-free) that help farmers to maintain a competitive edge and improve the quality of soybeans for both food and industrial implications.

“We’re very pleased to be selected as the Seed of the Year recipient,” says, Ken McEwan, Campus Director. “The soybean research program at Ridgetown has a long history and today its primary objective remains the same: to develop superior soybean cultivars and germplasm that have highly marketable traits that will meet the demands for soybeans not only provincially, but globally as well. The knowledge coming out of this program has benefitted the Ontario soybean industry by expanding markets and increasing the value of identity preserved production systems.”

The Seed of the Year competition allows the research, agribusiness and the rural farm community to come together to celebrate public seed breeding achievements.