Research in Progress

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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

Development of healthy food products by combining proteins and dietary fibers from oats and pulse

  • 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.

Research Topic: Insect/Disease/Weeds

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: Paul Bullock (University of Manitoba) and Randy Kutcher (University of Saskatchewan)
  • Project Dates: April 2018 - March 2023
  • Abstract/Summary: Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a fungal disease affecting cereal crops in Canada that reduces productivity and produces mycotoxins in the grain. This fungal disease is caused by a number of Fusarium species of which Fusarium graminearum is considered the most important because of its abundance, its toxin producing ability and its impact on grain quality and yield. Currently the most important practices recommended to cereal growers for FHB management include non-host crops in the rotation, resistant cultivars, and application of fungicides.

    Cultural management of FHB of cereals, in particular crop rotation or the sequence of crops grown, can play a major role in an integrated management approach to FHB (Gilbert and Haber 2013), as well as many other pest and agronomic issues. However, there are no studies in Canada that clearly indicate the impact on FHB of various cereals due to the previous crop(s) cultivated.

    The goal of this research is to improve yield and quality in Canada through the implementation of effective crop sequences to mitigate FHB.
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Research Topic: Variety/Trials

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: Government of Alberta
  • Project Dates: 2018 - ongoing
  • Abstract/Summary: This Alberta Regional Variety trial is lead by the Government of Alberta. For any additional information please contact the Government of Alberta.
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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: Prairie Oat Breeding Consortium (POBC)
  • Project Dates: April 2018 –March 2023
  • Abstract/Summary: The objective of the Prairie Oat Breeding Consortium (POBC) is to develop new oat cultivars suited to production in western Canada and to end use markets identified by the Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA) and the milling industry. The cultivars developed will have end-use quality identified as important by the industry and will carry genetic resistance to major diseases, pests, and adverse environmental conditions prevalent in the planned production areas.
    The development of cultivars that are genetically resistant to pests and adaptable to various climatic conditionswill help producers be more resilient by reducing the cost of growing oats, the fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, and the amount of pesticides used in oat production.
    Risks to oat producers and the oat processing industry will be reduced by oat cultivars that perform better agronomically, are resistant to pests and produce reliably healthy products for human and animal consumption, in Canada and around the world.
    Project partners includeAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Austgrains, FP Genetics, General Mills, Grain Millers Canada, Emerson Milling, SeCan, Richardson International, and POGA.
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Research Topic: Nutrition/Product Creation

  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Principal Investigators: Dr. Lingyun Chen at the University of Alberta
  • Project Dates: March 2021 – Feb 2023
  • Abstract/Summary: The 2016-2019 project focused on the development of a ready-to-drink oat-based beverage that is fortified with omegas, vitamin D, and other nutritional ingredients that are essential to the diet of cancer patients.

    This project is a continuation of Dr. Chen’s previous work to address industry interest in using fractionated oat ingredients as a source of food product innovation. Research indicates that from a diabetic management perspective, a mere 1% decrease in glucose levels among diabetics can lead to a 21% decrease in death and a 37% decrease in heart attacks. Therefore, developing convenient diabetic-friendly drinks can help reduce the cost of treating people in Canada.

    The specific objectives in the next two years are to:
    1. Study competitive advantages of Canadian oats for development of healthy oat milk products; special emphasis will be placed on oat varieties that are high in yield, protein and beta-glucan.
    2. Optimize processing to enhance recovery of oat nutritional components into a nutritionally enhanced oat milk drink with significantly improved protein and beta-glucan content.
    3. Study peptides with anti-diabetic effects from oat protein for functional oat drink development and evaluate the drink hypoglycemic effect through in vivo test in diabetic animal model.
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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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