CFCRA Oat Project; Activity 1: Breeding, genomics and agronomy research to improve oat yield and quality

Principal Investigators: Weikai Yan and Nick Tinker
Research Institution: Ottawa Research & Development Centre, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
Project Start: April 2018
Project End: March 2023

Funding Partners: 
Funding for the Oat Project is provided by the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada AgriScience Program through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, with industry support from the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) whose members include: Atlantic Grains Council; Producteurs de grains du Quebec; Grain Farmers of Ontario; Manitoba Corn Growers Association; Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers; Saskatchewan Pulse Growers; Prairie Oat Growers Association; SeCan; and FP Genetics.  Additional industry funding beyond the core CFCRA members is provided by oat millers across Canada.


  • Develop new oat cultivars with improved grain yield and quality
  • Identify optimal agronomic practices to achieve high and stable grain yield and quality
  • Enhance current oat breeding procedures in both the Ottawa and Brandon breeding programs with genomic selection
  • Screen advanced oat breeding lines for crown rust resistance
  • Enhance information and germplasm exchange among North American oat breeding programs through a joint testing and genotyping network referred as ENCORE
  • Develop a multi-faceted approach to data and knowledge management that enhances all objectives of this project and benefits world-wide pre-competitive oat research


  • The development of new oat cultivars with improved resistance to crown rust will provide oat growers in eastern Canada with high yielding and reliable oat cultivars that can be used as food, feed, or cover crop.
  • The development of new oat cultivars that meet the desired levels of beta-glucan content will provide consumers with healthier and more nutritious oat products from the oat milling industry.
  • The development of agronomic recommendations (i.e., nitrogen management and seeding rate) for oat production areas across Canada

Activity Summary:
This project will improve Canadian oat grain yield and quality through a comprehensive set of objectives that will: develop new oat cultivars, enhance genomic selection processes in breeding programs, develop crown rust resistance methods and develop new germplasm for oats. This activity will also explore agronomic practices to achieve high and stable grain yields and quality across the entire country.

New partnership brings $5.7 million to research

THAMESVILLE, ON (September 13, 2010) – Grain Farmers of Ontario is excited about a new partnership that will provide $5.7 million for research in breeding and genetics in Eastern Canada.

The partnership is made possible through the Developing Innovative Agri-Products (DIAP) initiative from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) Growing Forward framework. The funding will be used to support 18 public breeding and genetics programs throughout Eastern Canada – from Manitoba to Prince Edward Island.

Covering six field crops – winter wheat, corn, soybeans, spring wheat, oats and barley – these projects will be managed by the newly formed Canadian Field Crops Research Alliance (CFCFRA). The alliance is a collaboration of seven organizations including Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO), SeCan, Fédération des producteurs de cultures du Québec, Manitoba Corn Growers Association, Manitoba Pulse Growers Association, PepsiCo Canada and the Atlantic Grains Council.

“We’re very excited about the possibilities that this new funding presents for breeding,” says Crosby Devitt, Manager of Market Development and Research at GFO and chair of the new alliance. “The projects will focus on advancing production efficiencies and insect and disease resistance as well as targeting new markets in the food, industrial and feed markets, both domestically and internationally,” continues Devitt.

DIAP is part of the larger Growing Canadian Agri-Innovations Program, a federally funded, $158 million five-year program that promotes industry-led innovation initiatives.

Of the $5.7 million, AAFC is contributing $4 million and the partners of the alliance are contributing the remaining $1.7 million. GFO is directly contributing $628,000.

“GFO has been working hard on this initiative over the past year and a half,” says Henry Van Ankum, Vice Chair of GFO. “As developing new varieties is integral to maintain a strong grain industry, we are very excited to see it come to fruition.”

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.


Barry Senft, CEO – 1-800-265-0550;