Ag-West Bio, a leading organization in agricultural biotechnology, has announced the availability of 2018 to 2023 Diverse Field Crops Cluster (DFCC) Research Report. The report details the progress made over the past five years by Canadian scientists working on 16 special crops within the DFCC research program, including flax, camelina, canary seed, sunflower, hemp, quinoa, mustard, and carinata.
Diversification is vital for the sustainability of the agriculture sector. While canola, wheat, and pulses are high-value crops and staples in Canadian agriculture, including other crops in rotations is critical to maintaining soil health and productivity.
“The goal of DFCC is to increase the value of high-potential, special crops through research, to supply producers with more cropping options,” says Karen Churchill, President and CEO of Ag-West Bio. “This will break disease and pest cycles, help producers cope with changing weather patterns and volatile commodity prices, and provide market opportunities.”
The report showcases the 16 activities and highlights successes for crops within the DFCC program. These include improved new varieties of mustard, flax, and camelina; data demonstrating the efficacy and safety of hempseed meal for livestock feed; improved varieties of confection sunflower and quinoa that meet market demands; processes to make shelf-stable canary seed flours for the food industry, and more.
Carol Ann Patterson, DFCC Project Manager, says, “This cluster has been a tremendous success and showcased the diverse nature of research on special crops. I extend our sincerest appreciation to the public and private funding partners who believed in and supported this group of crops.”
The report includes quotes from various researchers involved in the DFCC program. Dr. Christina Eynck from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada highlighted the growing interest in camelina. At the same time, Dr. Kate Shoveller from the University of Guelph discussed the benefits of camelina oil in pet foods. Dr. Nancy Ames, also from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, emphasized the potential of canary seed in the food ingredient market. James Frey from Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development pointed out the potential of hemp fiber in industrial applications, including car panels, as a lightweight and durable alternative to plastics.
The full report is available on the DFCC website.