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New Research Program Will Address Root Rot in Pulses with a Comprehensive Approach

Today Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG) announced funding for a new pulse-specific research program through the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture’s Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) under the Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership (Sustainable CAP). SPG’s investment of over $670,000 was leveraged for a total investment in pulse root rot research of over $4.4 million. This five-year, multi-disciplinary program with 15 collaborators and co-investigators from the University of Saskatchewan, the National Research Council of Canada – Saskatoon, and Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), will be led by Dr. Sabine Banniza, Professor of Plant Pathology at the Crop Development Centre, University of Saskatchewan.

This research will address:

  • Understanding the genetic mechanism of resistance for root rot complex, host-pathogen and between-pathogen interactions, and use of novel breeding strategies for developing cultivars with broad and combined resistance for the root rot complex.
  • Investigating root rot epidemiology and Saskatchewan conditions that impact root rot complex and pathogen spore survival.
  • Investigating effective sustainable management practices to minimize root rot severity and yield loss due to this disease.

This program will build on current knowledge to fill existing knowledge gaps and provide practical solutions to the real-world issue of root rot complex in peas and lentils.

“SPG applauds the ministry for elevating root rot in pulses to be the focus of the SRI. Root disease in peas and lentils is simply the greatest production challenge for pulse growers in Saskatchewan and one that SPG considers of the highest priority to producers,” SPG Board Chair Winston van Staveren said.

“Root rot is the biggest challenge for Saskatchewan pea and lentil growers, and this is why SPG is contributing to the SRI,” says Sherrilyn Phelps, SPG Research & Development Director.  “With a team of 15 collaborators dedicated to gaining a deeper understanding of root rot, there is hope for finding solutions to mitigate the risks.”

Other co-funders of the SRI program include the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Western Grains Research Foundation, Alberta Pulse Growers, RDAR, and Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers. The SRI provides targeted funding to advance priorities within the industry. Projects are expected to go beyond the scope and scale of work normally undertaken within the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF), to address complex challenges facing the industry.

Accountable to and funded by growers, SPG’s strategic direction is guided by a nine-member, grower-elected, Board of Directors. SPG’s mission is to provide leadership for profitable growth for Saskatchewan pulses.

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