Claire Cowan is chief executive officer of North American Plant Genetics, an Ontario company that sells corn seed to Ukrainian farmers.

Ontario company finds place in Ukraine

Independent seed company develops market to supply corn seed

Reading Time: 4 minutes Glacier FarmMedia – Ukraine, a country known for wheat and sunflowers, grows a surprising amount of corn. United States Department of Agriculture data shows Ukraine planted 13 million acres of corn in 2020. Canada had 4.5 million acres of corn in 2020, if silage corn is included. For the seed industry, 13 million acres is […] Read more

File photo of Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau speaking to media in Winnipeg in March 2019. (Dave Bedard photo)

Bibeau says government committed to federal plant breeding

Seed royalty consultations stalled

Reading Time: 2 minutes The Canadian government is committed to plant breeding, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau told members of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation on Tuesday. Some farmers and seed industry officials suspect Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) variety development work, along with many other programs, will be on the chopping block post-COVID-19 as the government tackles its […] Read more

Crop breeding enhanced through machine learning

Crop breeding enhanced through machine learning

Science Notes: Artificial intelligence analyzes large numbers of seeds from a single image

Reading Time: 2 minutes The establishment of a method to rapidly create elite crop varieties via selective breeding is a matter of urgency to maintain the food supply. In order to select such cultivars, it is necessary to define and evaluate how to identify superior varieties. The shape of seeds is a trait closely linked to the quality and […] Read more

Tests of potato genetic material, loaded onto an agarose gel, show the presence of an experimental gene. (Ken Hackman photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

USDA limits review requirements of some biotech farm products

Reading Time: 2 minutes Chicago | Reuters — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Thursday a rule that will simplify or waive agency reviews of certain biotech farm products, including plants and seeds that have been genetically modified or engineered. As a result, some products could be sold to farmers without a USDA review — a move that […] Read more

The illustration shows the distribution routes of wheat based on its genetic similarity patterns. They are similar to human migration routes over the same period.

Wheat evolution mapped

Wheat gene pools changed in part due to socio-economic factors

Reading Time: 2 minutes As the world population grows and climate change progresses, food resources could become scarce in the future. That has ramped up the pressure on plant breeders to improve the yield of our staple plants, giving rise to a key question: Can existing varieties be optimized through breeding? To help boost the yield of today’s sorts, […] Read more


Corn in a Waksman Institute of Microbiology field in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Pollen genes mutate naturally in only some strains of corn

Science notes: Breeders have reported some lines are more genetically stable than others

Reading Time: 2 minutes Pollen genes mutate naturally in only some strains of corn, according to Rutgers-led research that may lead to better breeding of corn and other crops. Scientists at Rutgers University–New Brunswick and Montclair State University looked at gene mutations that arise spontaneously in corn plant pollen. Pollen grains are the male gametes, or reproductive cells, in […] Read more

Martin Mau, a senior researcher at the University of Saskatchewan’s Global Institute for Food Security, examines mature boechera plants that are setting seeds in one of the institute’s climate chambers.

Game-changing breeding technique makes progress

University launches a four-year research project into apomixis, a ‘disruptive technology’ for plant breeding

Reading Time: 3 minutes University of Saskatchewan researchers are making good progress on a “disruptive technology” that will turn crop breeding on its head. Apomixis is a form of asexual seed production found in numerous wild plant species such as buttercups, Kentucky bluegrass and St. John’s wort. “The mother plant makes seeds that have embryos that are genetic clones […] Read more

It is important to know what key traits exist and the relationship between negative and positive traits when making changes to a cow herd.

Beef genomic selection finds its stride

Research is ongoing to find new traits and figure out genetic correlations to make the best breeding choice

Reading Time: 3 minutes Picking the best herd sire or selecting replacement heifers is getting easier for producers who use genomically enhanced expected progeny differences. The predictions of valuable traits like carcass merit, longevity and calving ease may not be 100 per cent accurate but new computing power is making the job easier. Why it matters: Genomics can be […] Read more


Two strategies aim to increase investment in wheat and breeding.

Can royalties grow investment in cereal breeding?

Proposals would mean levies on the use of cereal seed

Reading Time: 3 minutes In an effort to increase private-sector investment in cereals research, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have tabled two possible strategies designed to promote better returns for plant breeders. Private-sector investment in wheat and barley remains low in comparison to higher value crops such as corn, soybeans, and canola. Why it […] Read more

The Government of Canada believes gene edited crops can help farmers produce “safe and affordable food, feed, fibres, and energy in the 21st century.”

Canada joins group supporting gene editing

Twelve countries issued a joint statement in support of the plant breeding process

Reading Time: 3 minutes The federal government has come out in favour of gene editing. Or, more accurately, the Government of Canada believes gene edited crops can help farmers produce “safe and affordable food, feed, fibres, and energy in the 21st century.” The quote comes from a statement released in early November and was delivered during a World Trade […] Read more