Seed World

Dana Maxwell on the Importance of Informed Decision Making

Dana Maxwell, CEO of Manitoba’s Ag-Quest and chair of the Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale (PRCWRT), sits down with Marc Zienkiewicz in Banff, Alta. Feb. 28, to talk about this year’s Prairie Grain Development Committee (PGDC) meeting and what leadership lessons she’s learned leading the family business.

In wheat, rye and triticale, there were 19 lines recommended this year — nine Canadian Western Red Spring, three Canada Prairie Spring Red, two Canadian Western Amber Durum, one Soft White, one fall rye, one spring triticale and two winter triticale lines.
The PRCWRT is, at the moment, keeping status quo in regard to its merit assessment methodology for wheat diseases in Western Canada, but the committee is looking at potential changes or updates to the assessment.

“While there doesn’t seem to be any immediate pressure to shift the current merit definition or focus on different diseases, we’re always keeping an eye out for any new diseases that may arise,” Maxwell said.

The five priority diseases that the committee is currently focusing on are stem rust, leaf rust, stripe rust, common bunt and fusarium head blight. These are considered to be amongst the most important diseases facing wheat in Western Canada at the moment.

However, the committee is also facing a challenge in how to efficiently assess candidates for suitability for both western and national registration.

“This is particularly important if a line is supported by another geographical recommending committee and is seeking national registration. The committee wants to ensure that they have all the necessary information to make an informed decision and support what CFIA does as the registrar.”