Seed World

Alberta’s Barley Program Moving to Olds College

Agriculture and Forestry’s field crop development centre will now be housed at Olds College, leveraging research capacity and creating new teaching opportunities.

An initial $10.5-million grant over three years will fund the program at Olds College. The college will take ownership of the program, providing it the capacity to support more world-leading research, according to a news release.

Alberta’s barley breeding program has successfully developed and introduced several new varieties of barley to both domestic and international markets. Some examples include:

  • AB Advantage, AB Wrangler and AB Tofield, and a highly sought after (but yet unnamed) variety, which are for feeding domestic livestock
  • AB Lowe and AB Brewnet, which are now used for the growing craft brewing market

This announcement helps Alberta’s agriculture industry build upon its track record of global applied research collaboration, according to a news release. It will enhance learning opportunities for students, supporting skills for jobs.

Since 1973, the program has been developing enhanced cereal varieties for feed, malt, food and bio-industrial uses.

“Olds College welcomes the addition of the Barley/Triticale Research Program to our applied research portfolio. Olds College is focused on delivering research programming that is centred on the needs of producers and industry partners and we are committed to collaborating with key stakeholders throughout the sector in order to sustainably position and grow barley/triticale research here in Alberta,” said Stuart Cullum, president of Olds College.

Added Dave Bishop, chair, Alberta Barley Commission: “Barley is an important crop in Alberta for both the livestock sector and the brewing industry. We are pleased to see the continuation of a barley breeding centre in our province where over half of Canada’s barley is grown and look forward to working with Olds College in bringing new varieties to market that improve the bottom lines of Alberta farmers.”