How Research Helps Support Agri-Businesses
The results of agricultural research at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada contribute billions of dollars annually to the Canadian economy. Research is key to helping our agricultural and agri-food sectors remain competitive, continue to innovate and grow new markets. In 2009, Canada's agriculture and agri-food industry directly provided one in eight jobs, employing two million people and accounted for nearly 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our agri-food sector is now the leading manufacturing employer, with productivity having jumped by 300 per cent since the 1950s. As well, more than 85 per cent of Canadian agricultural products are now being exported.
- Industrial Program helps food companies develop and implement production management and quality control systems
- Through the Industrial Program, a client-focused cost recovery service, the Food Research and Development Centre in Sainte-Hyacnithe, Quebec has provided food companies access to food processing infrasture and personalized technical support and to help them develop new products and test new processes and formulations. The program includes access to three pilot plants including, some 250 pieces of equipment, as well as contact information for consultants and laboratories nationwide. Since 2002, the Crossroads for Food Innovation Technology program has welcomed startup companies that are making the transition toward industrial production. Four processing units with access to the pilot plants, four laboratories and the support of the Industrial Program has helped these newer companies develop and implement their own production management and quality control structures.
- New malting barley dominates market and is prized by growers, maltsters and brewers throughout the world
- AC Metcalfe, a new two-row malting barley developed by researchers in Manitoba at the Brandon Research Centre and Cereal Research Centre in Winnipeg was named
"Seed of the Year - West"in 2010. Registered in 1997, this variety has multiple end-use markets and is known for its consistency, high enzyme levels, rapid throughput in the matlhouse, and high levels of fermentable extract. Improved disease resistance allows it to be grown over a wider area with less risk. AAFC has built a worldwide reputation for its barley breeding efforts at the Brandon Research Centre and for its lineup of top-performing barley varieties. Since 1939, scientists at the Brandon Research Centre have developed and released 34 varieties for the malting, feed and hulless markets.
- Harovinton establishes Canada as preferred source of premium quality soy for tofu in Japan
- Scientists at the Greenhouse and Processing Crops Research Centre in Harrow, Ontario developed Harovinton, a high protein food grade soybean cultivar with excellent tofu making properties. Harovinton and food grade cultivars developed from it established Canada as a preferred source of premium quality food grade soybeans in Japan and other Pacific Rim nations. It became a foundation on which Canada's highly regarded Identity Preserved soybean production system was established and was instrumental in developing Canada's food grade soybean production, which now accounts for about one third of Canada's soybean production. Diversifying away from commodity oil-seed soybeans to food grade soybeans offered growers a higher value crop, supported greater soybean production, and improved the overall value of the crop. Harovinton was named Seed of the Year in 2006 for its critical role in developing the export industry.
- New cereal varieties provide farmers, Canadians and exporters with superior products to help maintain Canada's international recognition for high-quality cereal grains
- The release of close to 100 new wheat varieties from scientists at the Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, the Cereal Research Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba and the Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre in Ottawa, Ontario has helped give Canada a competitive edge in international markets. Today over 92 per cent of the durum wheat grown in western Canada traces its origins to varieties from Swift Current and nearly 75 per cent of the spring wheat grown in this region originates from Swift Current and Winnipeg. These varities have brought to makret a numbe rof important improvements including increased yield and quality, improved resistance to pre-harvest sprouting, leaf rust, and Fusarium head blight and the development of resistance t the orange wheat blossom midge. Canadian wheat is a much sought after commodity in international markets due to its high quality.
- HarvestWatchTM technology used internationally to improve storage conditions and extend shelf life of apples
- Researchers at the Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre in Kentville, Nova Scotia have developed a system that utilizes feedback control to organically maintain optimum storage atmospheres for apples and other fruit. These products may be stored for extended periods of time in optimal conditions, a process traditionally accomplished through the control of CO2 and O2 gas levels. The HarvestWatch system automatically detects low O2 gas levels and adjusts the controls as necessary. This system has been installed in over 40 apple packing houses in 7 countries world-wide and has been used to store fruit with an estimated total value of over $100M. In 2003 the innovation won a Technology Transfer Award from the Federal Partners of Technology Transfer.
- New late-ripening, high-quality sweet cherry varieties improve financial returns to growers, enhancing Canadian presence on world markets
- Scientists at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland, British Columbia have worked closely with growers and industry to developed new late-ripening cherry varieties with increased fruit quality. This relationship has ensured Canadian growers have unrestricted access to new cherry varieties and has accelerated the transfer of new cherries from the lab to orchards. The extended harvest season also allows growers to market their cherries when other sources of fruit are unavailable. As a result, the value of sweet cherry exports has skyrocketed over a fifteen year period, climbing more than twenty fold from around $1 million in 1994 to over $21 million in 2007. In 2009 the partnership won a Technology Transfer Award from the Federal Partners of Technology Transfer for these accomplishments.
- New classification models identify Potato Virus Y to help Canada respond to disease outbreaks and resolve important trade issues and the creation of new molecular tests for potato virus detection helps to avoid new outbreaks
- One of the most economically disastrous diseases that afflict Canadian potato crops is known as Potato Virus Y (PVY). Due to an outbreak of this virus in Prince Edward Island (PEI) in 1989-1991, a ban on PEI potatoes entering the USA was put in place for approximately two years. Scientists at the Potato Research Centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick have examined and characterized the molecular and pathological properties of various strains. They have identified the two basic parental strains of PVY and developed several formats of molecular approaches for simultaneous differentiate between PVY strains. These models have been widely cited and adopted worldwide for accurate detection/differentiation of PVY strains.
- A new technology to produce natural food colouring is transferred to industry
- Consumers want the most natural foods possible. A team at the Food Research and Development Centre in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, has developed a method for extracting colour from red cabbage. The procedure yields a colour that is resistant to light, heat and even acidic environments. It is so clear that it can be used with gelatines. It can be certified Kosher. And the best news of all: it does not smell like cabbage or any vegetable! This technology was used to start up a business that has been in operation for ten years.
- New methods and technologies extend the shelf life of cultivated blueberry crops helps growers capture a larger market share
- Scientists at the Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre in Kentville, Nova Scotia worked closely with local farmers and the National Research Council to develop a storage system to extend the shelf left of cultivated blueberry crops by as much as eight weeks. Scientists analayzed the blueberry varieties that are best suited for storage and developed storage containers with enhanced temperature controls and customized features to protect and maintain freshness during air shipment to overseas markets. Different handling methods and inspection procedures were also developed to ensure long-lasting freshness and a predictable shelf life. This allowed the industry to ship fresh produce further distances and thus expand their domestic and export markets. Namely, it helped market blueberries from Nova Scotia during November - a time when blueberry were not available from other sources. This collaboration was awarded a Technology Transfer Award from the Federal Partners in Technology Transfer in 2000.
- New high-yielding mustard varieties keep Canada on top of world's condiment mustard production
- As the world's largest producer of condiment mustard, the majority of Canadian mustard seed used in this delicious addition to your Canadian beef burger is grown in Saskatchewan. Recently, scientists at the Saskatoon Research Centre in Saskatchewan, have created several new yellow and brown mustard varieties which have been quickly adopted by industry representatives and producers. These new varieties have reduced oil content, and increased protein content which has led to many improvements in seed yield and quality. Current mustard research is focused on the development of hybrid cultivars to greatly improve the performance of future varieties.