Research in Progress

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Research Topic: Nutrition/Product Creation / New

Dried Oat Oil Emulsion Powders Stabilized by Oat Hull-Derived Nanocellulose

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: Dr. Emily Cranston, University of British Columbia
  • Project Dates: 2024
  • Abstract/Summary: This project will aim to contribute to the development of novel oat oil emulsions (wet) and oat oil powders (dry), which could be suitable for food/beverage, personal care and cosmetics, and household product development. These new products would extend the shelf-life of oat oils (and products made from them), which would enable cost savings for transportation and logistics management to move them to processing facilities.

    The objective of this study is to explore the isolation of cellulose-based nanomaterials from oat hulls and to use these as stabilizers in dried oat oil powders and oat milk powders.

Research Topic: Insect/Disease/Weeds

The Prairie Weed Monitoring Network (PWMN): Building a Strong Biovigilance Foundation

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: Dr. Charles Geddes
  • Project Dates: 2023 – 2028
  • Abstract/Summary: As every farmer knows, weeds are one of the major pests on farms. That’s why POGA has agreed to help fund a project to monitor new weeds and herbicide resistance on current weeds in western Canada so hopefully producers, scientists and chemical companies can stay ahead of the curve.

    Objectives are to:

    - Establish the Prairie Weed Monitoring Network (PWMN), a network of federal researchers, provincial specialists, and academics guiding weed biovigilance for the prairie region.
    - Complete the seventh set of weed abundance surveys in the prairie provinces since this series of provincial surveys began in the mid-1970s.
    - Complete the fifth set of pre-harvest herbicide-resistant weed surveys in the prairie provinces since this series of provincial resistance surveys began in the early-2000s.
    - Complete the third set of post-harvest herbicide-resistant kochia and Russian thistle surveys in the prairie provinces since this set of provincial surveys began in the early-2010s.
    - Complete a spatial risk assessment for the evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds in prairie cropping systems by integrating data from weed surveys, species-specific biology, cropping systems, and herbicide sales/use.
    - Develop tools to forecast weed community behaviour and range shifts in response to management factors and climate change.

    This project aims to develop the Prairie Weed Monitoring Network (PWMN) and to implement a
    comprehensive weed biovigilance strategy, including: weed monitoring, risk assessment, and
    forecasting for the prairie region of Canada. It will include detailed assessments of (i) weed
    abundance in 4000 fields, (ii) herbicide-resistant (HR) weeds pre-harvest in 800 fields, and (iii)
    HR kochia and Russian thistle post-harvest in 800 fields, across the prairie provinces. These data,
    and those of past surveys, will be leveraged along with other open data resources to conduct
    spatial risk analyses for the evolution of HR weed biotypes of greatest concern and where they are
    most likely to occur, in addition to the development of a tool to forecast weed community shifts in
    response to management factors and climate change. Overall, this coordinated suite of objectives
    will provide farmers, agronomists, agricultural industry, researchers, and policy makers with
    information required to manage weeds effectively, anticipate new weed threats to farming
    systems, and mitigate selection pressure for HR weeds.

Research Topic: Insect/Disease/Weeds

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: Dr. Thomas Turkington
  • Project Dates: April 1, 2023 – March 31, 2028
  • Abstract/Summary: The goal is to further develop and formalize the Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network (PCDMN), including annual in-person and/or online meetings. The group also will look to further develop and refine survey protocols, and continue work on disease information and awareness initiatives for a wider range of crops and diseases.
    The PCDMN Quick Disease Reporter Tool will be refined, and work will be done to develop disease assessment and risk assessment tools, as well as blackleg pathogen mapping. The network is also continuing their weekly cereal rust risk forecasts from mid-May to early June; new for 2023 is the addition of oat crown rust.
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Research Topic: Insect/Disease/Weeds

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: Dr. Christian Willenborg
  • Project Dates: April 2018 - March 2023
  • Abstract/Summary: Wild oat management is perhaps most challenging in oat crops because the genetic similarity between the two species precludes selective control with herbicides. However, it may be possible to utilize new technology with current herbicides to better manage wild in oat crops. This project sought to assess the competitive ability of modern oat cultivars, as well as to test whether combining inter-row spraying with weed wicking could improve wild oat control.

    Multiple inter-row and wicking applications of herbicides at the 2- and 4-leaf crop stages provided the best combination of crop yield and minimum wild oat in the harvested sample. By employing inter-row spraying with modern competitive oat cultivars, growers should improve wild oat management in tame oat production.
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Research Topic: Nutrition/Product Creation

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: Dr. Lingyun Chen
  • Project Dates: March 2022 - February 2024
  • Abstract/Summary: A dietary pattern that provides plant protein, dietary fiber and low fat has been shown to decrease the risks of chronic diseases (obesity, cardiovascular disease). The high-quality milling oats in Canada are good sources of both dietary fiber and plant protein. The long-term goal of this research is to develop high quality protein and fiber ingredients from oats for healthy food development.
    The short-term objectives in the next 2 years are to develop technology innovations to combine protein and dietary fiber from oats and pulse to fabricate:
    1. Fat replacers for low fat dairy/dairy substitute product development; and
    2. Texturized vegetable protein products for meat analogue applications.
    This research will provide opportunities to add value to oats and pulses as two major crops in western Canada. The food products high in both plant protein and dietary fiber will provide consumers with healthy choices, and help control the prevalence of obesity in the society and lower the risks of chronic disease.
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Research Topic: Variety/Trials

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: Government of Alberta
  • Project Dates: 2018 - ongoing
  • Abstract/Summary: This on-going project is managed by Alberta Wheat and Barley Commission. This variety trial information is published annually in the Alberta Seed Guide (https://www.seed.ab.ca/) to provide growers up-to-date information on varieties and yields in one easy to use location.
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Research Topic: Insect/Disease/Weeds

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: Dr. Aaron Beattie Crop Development Centre (CDC) - Saskatoon, SK
  • Project Dates: April 2019 - March 2023
  • Abstract/Summary: To build on Western Canada’s position as a supplier of premium quality oats to the current US markets, and developing markets like Mexico and China, requires developing varieties with a strong disease resistance package (of which crown rust resistance is a critical component). This will provide value to growers, through improved yield and reduced input costs (i.e. reduced fungicide use) which will help oat remain a viable crop within a grower’s rotation, and to millers/food processors, through higher selectability (i.e. good plumpness and test weight).
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Research Topic: Oat Breeding

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: Dr. Aaron Beattie, Crop Development Centre (CDC) - Saskatoon, SK
  • Project Dates: April 2019 –March 2024
  • Abstract/Summary: Oat is considered a healthy cereal due to a number of nutritional compounds found within the grain, including beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber that has been shown to lower plasma cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Oat grain also contains a number of antioxidant compounds, including the polyphenolic avenanthramides, which have anti- inflammatory effects. Oat contains 12-20% protein which is rich in globulins and contains more lysine and threonine than other cereals and provides a better balance of essential amino acids.

    Oats is able to be consumed by most people suffering from celiac disease and is thus considered to be gluten-free. As a result of these desirable attributes, oats remain a significant Canadian crop.

    To build on Saskatchewan’s (and Canada’s) position as a supplier of premium quality oats to current and developing markets, requires developing varieties with improved agronomic, quality and disease resistance.

    The CDC is exploring new traits for incorporation into future Canadian oat varieties that may add value to the crop.
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Research Topic: Marketing

Keep It Clean Cereals (KIC)

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Abstract/Summary: Keep It Clean Cereals (KIC) is a program that shows Canada’s commitment to delivering consistently superior agricultural products to markets around the world. Keep it Clean is an established program started by the Canola Council of Canada and expanded with Cereals Canada, Barley Council of Canada and POGA to share best practices required for export-quality cereals and canola. The overall goal of the KIC program is to help prevent market access issues and maintain Canada’s international reputation for reliability and quality. Each importing country has different standards and qualities that must be met for that market. The KIC program best management practices checklist contains five items, accompanied by explanations of each item. This list was created to be used by growers, but it also serves as the Canadian value chain’s commitment to quality, cleanliness, and consistency.

Research Topic: Marketing

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: funded in part by AAFC and Manitoba Ag in Action, and directed by POGA through Emerging Ag
  • Project Dates: April 2021 – March 2023
  • Abstract/Summary: POGA sought to target domestic consumers in this campaign to further diversify the demand for Canadian oats. Canadian consumption of oats has been steadily increasing over the years. However oats are still perceived as a breakfast cereal rather than an ingredient to be used in food for the rest of the day. It is important to educate Canadians on the health benefits for things such as heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes to name a few. There is an increasing desire to eat “local” as well to reduce the environmental footprint related to the transportation of goods. The website “Oats Everyday”, which was developed as a promotional campaign to the USA, is reactivated and geared to Canadian consumers (and materials will be supplied in both French and English).
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Research Topic: Marketing

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: Funded in part by AAFC and directed by POGA through Emerging Ag
  • Project Dates: April 2021 – March 2023
  • Abstract/Summary: The intent is to increase demand for Canadian oats by promoting the health benefits of oats to the Japanese market. Japan is the fourth largest importer of oats globally, and Canada has been the leading exporter of oats in recent years. Canada is the largest supplier of raw oats in Japan; however the goal is to gain market share in the human-consumption arena. The campaign is focused on trade advocacy, as well as social media outreach to highlight the nutrition and health benefits of oats in daily diets
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Research Topic: Marketing

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: Funded in part by AAFC and directed by POGA through Emerging Ag
  • Project Dates: April 2021 – March 2023
  • Abstract/Summary: Mexico is the third largest importer of oats globally and several other Latin American countries who import oats could offer additional opportunities for Canadian exports. A long-term strategy for POGA is to make use of the proximity to these markets, and build on the strong Canadian reputation for products in Mexico which would support the efforts to differentiate Canadian oats. This project focuses on diversification of Canadian oat exports to Mexico. The activities aim to increase per capita consumption of oats, increase Canadian oat exports to Mexico, and increase consumer awareness of the health benefits of oats. Since this project began in 2015, Canada has been able to more than triple its oat exports to Mexico.
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