We’re barely through the first two months of 2019, but it’s safe to say this growing season is kicking off on a strong note – a welcomed sign after the tough conditions Canadian farmers experienced in 2018. Several significant announcements have been made these last few weeks in terms of investments and new products for the coming year; a sure indication that research, innovation and stewardship are alive and well in agriculture. Here’s a quick recap . . .
Producers across the country breathed a collective sigh of relief in early January when Health Canada announced that after careful vetting of eight objections, the re-evaluation decision made in 2017 that glyphosate is safe when used according to product label direction will stand. Health Canada, in a statement, says the scientists involved “left no stone unturned in conducting this review,” adding those scientists had access to all pertinent information from multiple sources.
This good news was preceded by the news that China has granted regulatory approval of Bayer’s TruFlex canola with Roundup Ready technology. In a statement, Bayer’s trait launch lead Jon Riley noted the company has waited five years to introduce this product to farmers in Canada and the United States. Despite being approved in Canada since 2012, seed developers cannot commercialize traits until they are approved in major markets in order to align with the Canola Council of Canada’s Market Access Policy.
Further into January, Syngenta announced it had received registration for Tavium Plus
VaporGrip Technology, a new herbicide for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. The company says the dicamba-based pre-mix herbicide will provide broad-spectrum control of weeds including glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane and common and giant ragweed. Corteva Agriscience also announced commercial sales of Enlist E3 soybeans to begin in 2019, introductory quantities of Qrome corn products through the United States Corn Belt, and the licensing of LibertyLink canola. And Nufarm’s GoldWing herbicide label expanded to include lentils, chickpeas, fababeans and other beans for pre-seed burndown control.
Plans for significant investments to Canadian agriculture research were also recently unveiled. Notably, the Alberta Wheat Commission announced more than $2.6 million in funding for 22 wheat research projects, aimed at improved farm profitability. These projects will be funded as part of the Canadian National Wheat Cluster, a five-year federal matching program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Additionally, the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance will receive an investment of $4.1 million over five years to support two national projects, one on oat and one on corn. This investment is funded under the AgriScience Program (Projects) and follows the Government of Canada’s investment of up to $5.4 million to the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance for a soybean project.
These events taking place within the first six weeks of the year, combined with the many novel projects we’ve covered in this issue, speak to the current state of Canadian agriculture: our innovation game is strong. Though spring may not be on the horizon quite yet, producers will have an array of tools at their disposal come planting time. Here’s hoping the rest of the year continues to ride this positive wave.