REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA — Viterra Inc. and the Crop Development Centre (CDC) at the University of Saskatchewan announced on May 2 a long-term collaborative agreement to develop improved wheat and durum varieties for Western Canada.

Through this joint effort, Viterra will provide funding to the CDC to support its breeding program, and access to Viterra's prairie wide research network for conducting crop trials.

The focus is to develop hard red spring wheat suited to the Western Prairies, with a special emphasis on issues such as fusarium, wheat midge and sawfly resistance. In durum, the goal is to develop low-cadmium, solid-stemmed, strong gluten varieties with a special emphasis on semolina color.

"Viterra has a long history of successful collaboration with the Crop Development Centre in wheat and durum development, including well known varieties such as CDC Imagine and CDC Abound. These new agreements will allow Viterra to continue to work with the University, sharing our knowledge and resources to create tailored seed products that help producers maximize their crop investment, resulting in food ingredients that match the exacting specifications of our end use customers," said Doug Wonnacott, Viterra's senior vice-president, agri-products.

Dorothy Murrell, the CDC's managing director, said, "The CDC and Viterra have worked together for many years on wheat development and plant breeding, and our agreement respecting wheat and durum is a renewal of this long-term relationship. We are delighted to work with Viterra in both wheat and durum variety development - Viterra's funding, and our access to their extensive field testing network, will provide great strength to our ability to develop the genetically-improved varieties which Canadian grain producers and the entire agricultural community rely upon for long-term profitability".

Viterra has a 30-year history of direct involvement in seed research and development, investing 5% of its gross seed sales annually. These research efforts combine Viterra's own breeding capabilities and partnerships with leading seed companies and research institutions. The result is a pipeline of proprietary products marketed under the VT Genetics brand, along with plant varieties available to the farmers of Western Canada through Viterra.