Seed World

Mitchell Japp on why the PGDC is so Important to the Health of Saskatchewan’s Barley Industry

Mitchell Japp, research & extension manager for SaskBarley, sits down with Marc Zienkiewicz at the annual meeting of the Prairie Grain Development Committee (PGDC) in Banff, Alta., where they discuss why the PGDC is so valuable to Saskatchewan’s barley industry, some cool new projects SaskBarley is taking part in, and how one of those projects could generate valuable data that goes beyond what has traditionally been communicated in printed seed guides.

“We’re about to enter into the third year of the Western Canadian Field Trials project led by the Canadian Malt Barley Technical Centre. The CMBTC project includes a wide selection of entries, including seven new malt varieties, across 25+ locations in three provinces, and focuses on characteristics such as germination, energy, and water sensitivity,” he explains.

This data can be used to promote newer varieties to the malt and brewing industry and facilitate a more rapid transition away from old malt varieties. Funding partners in this project are Alberta Barley and Manitoba Crop Alliance, as well as in-kind support from ARVAC, Saskatchewan Variety Performance Group, and Manitoba Crop Variety Evaluation Trials.

“The other project we’re supporting, led by Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation (IHARF), is focusing on variety-specific performance of varieties in Saskatchewan using alternate analytical methods. The crops being studied include wheat, durum, barley, canola, field peas, lentils, chickpeas, and flax. By analyzing the data collected from the regional variety trials, the project aims to provide more accurate and efficient evaluations of crop performance in different environments.”

By leveraging the existing yield data and using alternate analytical methods, the project can gain a more intensive perspective on evaluating environment-specific parental performance of various crops in Saskatchewan. This will allow for more robust results that go beyond the space constraints of a printed seed guide. Funding partners are Western Grains Research Foundation, Sask Wheat and SaskPulse.