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Feds Give $1.8 million for Ag Bioeconomy Growth

The federal government has invested $1.8 million under the AgriAssurance Program to help Bioindustrial Innovation Canada further develop quality standards to accelerate growth of the agriculture sector bioeconomy, an Aug. 3 news release said.

“The bioeconomy will allow us to maximize the use of our agricultural resources, including leftover byproducts. By adding value to products once considered to be waste, and ensuring the quality of these bioproducts through strict quality standards, we will help strengthen Canada’s position as a leader in sustainable agriculture,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, said in the release.

The bioeconomy, which is part of the green economy, is based on the production and sale of products other than foodstuffs made from agricultural, aquatic and forestry resources, or even municipal waste, the release noted. This includes crops grown as alternatives to petroleum-based products, such as corn for ethanol, or using waste like stems and leaves to produce bioproducts such as packaging.

The government investment will allow for Bioindustrial Innovation Canada to work with Biomass Quality Network Canada to develop research-based standards for measuring and assessing the quality of bioproducts made from agricultural sources.The project will also help scientists continue to explore plant genetics and environmental factors that could lead to the development of new crop varieties to supply bioproducts production, the release said.

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In this video, Pioneer Field Agronomist Rex Brandon shows how to identify common smut in your corn fields, what smut is, and how it can be managed. Common smut is a fungus that can be found anywhere corn is grown. It can survive in the soil over winter and occurs more in fields with high nitrogen and high organic matter. Sand blasting from wind, or anything that can break down the leaf cells can allow smut to thrive. Good plant health and managing the amount of nitrogen applied to the corn can help manage and prevent common smut from propagating. Keeping corn healthy, injury free, and preventing stress can also help. Insect feeding is another entry point for common smut, so keeping insects off your corn can also help prevent it. Hybrid selection also plays a role, if you have high historical common smut pressure, consider selecting a hybrid that has higher tolerance for common smut.