Plant breeding companies KWS and Syngenta Inc. have partnered with the Canadian Wheat Alliance (CWA) with the aim of improving wheat breeding efficiency.

The partners are planning to work together over the next four years to develop high-quality wheat plants by improving existing doubled haploid technologies. These methods expose immature grains to treatments that double the genetic material and reduce the length of crop improvement cycles.

According to the National Research Council of Canada, currently used methods of developing doubled haploid wheat plants can be costly, inconsistent and time-consuming. In this initiative the partners will seek to increase efficiency in the production of fertile doubled haploid wheat plants. They then plan to leverage the new and more efficient doubled haploid technology platform in their respective wheat breeding programs, to the benefit of agriculture industries in Canada and abroad.

The overall investment in the doubled haploid wheat initiative will come to an estimated C$2.5 million, with the majority funded by CWA participants and the Western Grains Research Foundation, alongside a significant contribution from the private sector partners.

The CWA is a collaboration between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the University of Saskatchewan, the Government of Saskatchewan and the National Research Council of Canada. Its aim is to support and advance research and subsequently benefit Canadian and European wheat farmers.