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Abstract Detail


Blade, Stan [1].

Crop diversification in Canada: How can new crops be successfully introduced?

Contemporary Canadian agriculture is a significant economic engine, with $45B in exports (2014). Crop agriculture has always depended upon the introduction and successful adaptation of crop types into the various agro-ecological zones of the country (Blade et al, 2002). The catalyst for the successful introduction of crops (wheat, barley, oats, flax) has been the evaluation of germplasm and development of region-specific agronomic cropping systems. Canada has a strong history of identifying crop diversification opportunities and creating the capacity to ensure both production and market success. The introduction of new crops in Canada has made great progress in the last decade. Horticulture faces similar issues as new crops and plant types are introduced into the marketplace. Small (1995) defined crop diversification as programs dedicated to expanding the number of crops in a region, in the hope of increasing overall productivity and marketability. In addition to the introduction of novel crops, it is also possible to use “conventional” crops in new ways, such as: 1) adaptation of crops into new ecological zones-such as the movement of canola into short-season regions of northern Canada, 2) research and development to identify unique components which can be extracted from conventional crops-including the industrial extraction of beta-glucan from barley, or inulin from sugar beets, 3) identification of cultivars which are uniquely adapted to specific production systems, such as cereals and oilseeds which perform well under organic farming systems and 4) the use of transgenic technologies to develop new types of conventional crops with the capability to produce high-value constituents. Canada’s focus on crop diversification has resulted in significant successes-but also many new crop initiatives which have failed. Canadian examples for new crop development in grain legumes, oilseeds, spices, industrial species and medicinal crops will highlight challenges which the Canadian industry has faced in the areas of changing consumer interest, limited research and development programs, limited market knowledge, difficulty in “trouble-shooting” production problems, quality/processing issues as well as regulatory and policy constraints. The paper will describe the Canadian progress in building new market channels for biomass through research and development investment in industrial biorefining-the newest area of crop diversification opportunity. Canadian researchers, producers and processors continue to pursue the idea noted by American Thomas Jefferson, "The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its [agri]culture."

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1 - University of Alberta, Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science, Agriculture-Forestry Centre, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2P5, Canada

Crop Diversity.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 14
Location: Salon 19/20/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 1:30 PM
Number: 14001
Abstract ID:1430
Candidate for Awards:None

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