Investing in scientific research means MPSG can deliver on our mission to provide production knowledge and market development support to Manitoba pulse and soybean farmers. MPSG’s board of directors have outlined a clear vision for MPSG’s research investment in our strategic plan. As a core activity, 50–60% of the annual budget is allocated to funding a collaborative and focused Research and Production (R&P) program.
RESEARCH & PRODUCTION STRATEGY
Research requires a network of professionals from various disciplines to explore the complexity of crops, production systems and market opportunities. MPSG’s R&P strategy utilizes five approaches to address specific priorities with appropriate resources.
These studies create the foundation of our R&P program and represent the largest portion of the annual R&P budget. MPSG provides financial support to researchers from public institutions to investigate:
- Novel products, practices or technologies to improve soybean and pulse crop yield, quality, production efficiency or resiliency
- Underlying mechanisms of crop behaviour (genomics, phenology, physiology) to improve crop performance
- Environmental (abiotic) and pest (biotic) stresses and diagnostic tools to prevent or manage outbreaks
- Pre-competitive processing or nutritional attributes to increase market demand
In 2017, $1,429,791 in MPSG check-off supported 17 new discovery-type research projects. For more detail on the annual investment in new and on-going research projects, check out the investment summary and project listings:
These studies deliver research results that are directly applicable on the farm. For example, MPSG provides financial support and coordination for soybean and pulse variety evaluation trials in partnership with applied research associations, Manitoba Agriculture and independent contractors.
To increase applied agronomic research capacity in our province, MPSG created a new Applied Soybean and Pulse Research program in partnership with the University of Manitoba (U of M). In 2017, MPSG Production Specialist, Kristen MacMillan joined the U of M as Agronomist-in-Residence and is currently leading the program. The primary purpose of the program is to validate production recommendations and test commercial products or equipment under local environments. The Research Agronomist also has responsibilities in extension and teaching, which will increase technology transfer between farmers, industry and researchers. The program is supported by MPSG, with matching funds provided by the Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba and in-kind contributions from the U of M.
In 2014, MPSG launched the On-Farm Network (OFN). The OFN provides support and empowers farmers to conduct scientifically sound on-farm validation of commercial products, practices or equipment. Results allow individual farmers assess the value of a particular input on their own farm, with their own equipment. When the results are aggregated, the results provide a robust dataset that helps MPSG validate production recommendations and observations from small plot research. Visit the OFN to learn more and to get involved.
In addition to investing in research, MPSG plays a role in interpreting research results and relaying relevant information to key stakeholders. MPSG’s R&P staff provide scientifically based, unbiased agronomic advice to farmers and their team of agronomic advisors. Results from Discovery, Applied and On-Farm Network research provide the foundation for our production recommendations.
Answering production inquiries and providing in-field production support means R&P staff can identify emerging production trends, opportunities and concerns. These priorities feed into and lead our investment in research.
Investing in research and production support means MPSG has a responsibility to ensure production and marketing information is accessible. Extension incorporates output of R&P into appropriate communication mediums and facilitates distribution. Examples of these initiatives include:
- SMART field day
- Getting it Right production meeting
- The Bean Report
- Production Resources
- The Bean App
- Variety Evaluation Guide
- Pulse Beat Science Edition
- Online research reports
- Online On-Farm Network reports
COLLABORATIONS AND LEVERAGED FUNDS
MPSG is committed to maximizing the investment in R&P made by pulse and soybean farmers through their check-off. MPSG staff actively seek leveraging opportunities through collaboration with other commodity groups and participate in provincial and federal government funding programs.
MPSG works very closely with other Manitoba commodity groups, co-funding cross-commodity research projects. In addition, MPSG looks to provincial pulse and soybean counterparts in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario to support projects that are national in scope. The Western Grains Research Foundation has generously partnered with MPSG to provided financial support for many agronomic research projects as well.
A large portion of leveraged funds for current research projects is provided by Growing Forward 2 (GF2). GF2 is a five-year (2013–2018) policy framework for Canada’s agricultural and agri-food sector. GF2 is a $3 billion dollar investment by federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments. At the federal level, MPSG research projects are supported through the Agri-Science Clusters and the Agri-Innovation Program; at the provincial level, the Agri-Food Research and Development Initiative and the Grain Innovation Hub. With the current agriculture policy framework ending in March 2018, MPSG, in collaborations with other commodity groups, has been preparing applications for the next Agri-Science Clusters.
Provincial GF2 programs offered also allowed MPSG to maximize leveraged funds in the areas of production support and extension. MPSG applied for and received funding through the Growing Competitiveness: Agri-Extension program to supplement the cost of creating laminated production resources, developing the MPSG Bean App and hosting the 2015 SMART Field Day and the 2017 Getting it Right Soybean Production Meeting.
With the growing demand on the R&P program, MPSG hired several new staff to manage the activities of the On-Farm Network and was also able to capitalize on the Career Focus Program and the Agricultural Youth Green Jobs Initiative offered by the Government of Canada.