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APG Commits $3 Million over Five Years to Research Aimed at Reducing the Risk of Root Rot

The Alberta Pulse Growers Commission (APG) recently approved an investment of $3 million over five years for research projects that reduce the risk of root rot, which continues to be a major issue for Alberta pea and lentil farmers.

“Research funded by this $3 million investment of grower dollars is expected to improve the bottom line for Alberta pulse farms,” said APG Chair Shane Strydhorst. “APG has invested in root rot research projects since the disease became an issue 10 years ago. This research resulted in more being known about the disease, but root rot remains a threat that we need to mitigate for our farmers.”

APG was first introduced to the pathogen Aphanomyces eutiches in 2013, and it was immediately identified as a serious threat to pulse production. This discovery was a catalyst to research efforts aimed at managing this and other root diseases.

Over the last 10 years, APG has invested $3.7 million in projects relevant to root rots, including more than $2 million for projects directly aimed at root rots. Significant effort has been made to understand the disease, correctly diagnose it and address the intricacies of the complex interaction between plant, pathogen and environment. Research has resulted in farmers having the knowledge to better assess the risk, but there haven’t been any significant breakthroughs for farmers who want to plant pulses for the crop’s economic and sustainability benefits.

The $3 million APG is committing over the next five years has the potential to be amplified by matching from other funding sources.

“A commitment of this magnitude signals to researchers and other funders that this is an area where they should focus more time and resources to reduce the risk of root rot,” Strydhorst explained. “If scientists have ideas for potential projects, please talk to us. We want to hear your ideas on how to reduce the risk for Alberta pulse farmers.”

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