SASKATOON, SASK. — Viterra Inc. is investing C$5 million ($4.6 million) to enhance wheat research and breeding at the Crop Development Centre in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan. The five-year agreement announced on Jan. 16 will focus on developing wheat and durum varieties with enhanced yield, improved resistance to disease and insect pests, and improved quality characteristics for the marketplace.

“Viterra’s long and successful history of collaboration with the C.D.C. has resulted in several innovative and high-performing seed varieties,” said Kyle Jeworski, president and chief executive officer for North America for Viterra, Regina, Sask. “By strengthening our relationship, we aim to support new wheat and durum varieties that have desirable quality specifications for our customers around the world, while providing farmers with more options to maximize the value of their crops.”

The estimated cost of developing a new single wheat variety is between C$500,000 and C$1 million. Wheat crops contribute C$11 billion annually to Canada’s economy.

“The C.D.C. is delighted with this level of investment from a great Saskatchewan company with whom we’ve enjoyed a 20-year successful history of wheat research collaboration,” said Kofi Agblor, managing director for the C.D.C., based in Saskatoon. “This funding affirms C.D.C.’s reputation for working effectively with private sector companies and is good news for Saskatchewan producers who will see the benefits of this research in improved wheat varieties on their farms.”