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USask researchers awarded funds to find best potato variety for Saskatchewan

One project aims to identify Saskatchewan potato varieties with improved nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiency to reduce grower inputs.

January 30, 2020
By Potatoes in Canada


Thirty University of Saskatchewan (USask) crop research projects have been awarded a total of more than $8 million through Saskatchewan’s Agricultural Development Fund (ADF), a program jointly supported by the federal and provincial governments and supplemented by industry partners.

“This major funding commitment from our partners will address critically important crop challenges to help create a prosperous and sustainable future for Saskatchewan producers and communities, while helping to strengthen Canada’s agricultural sector and feed a hungry world,” said Karen Chad, vice president of research at the University of Saskatchewan.

The ADF program is supported through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year $388 million investment by the federal and provincial governments in strategic initiatives for Saskatchewan agriculture.

One project aims to identify potato varieties that reduce environmental impact and cost.

USask plant scientist Kate Congreves will test modern potato cultivars for improved nitrogen and phosphorous efficiency. Potatoes are the single most important vegetable crop in Canada and comprise a third of all vegetable income for farmers nationally. By identifying the best potato varieties to grow in Saskatchewan, farmers can boost yields, increasing revenue, and reduce fertilizer use, decreasing costs and improving soil quality.

Other major projects announced Jan. 14 involving USask researchers include:

  • Using pulse proteins to replace animal products in the beverage industry: USask food research Supratim Ghosh will study new ways to extract proteins from pulses for use as beverage industry additives. Using plant proteins can improve digestibility and shelf-life for beverages. Ghosh’s proposed method could reduce both environmental impact and cost.
  • Adding value to Saskatchewan’s lentils, peas and oats: USask protein researcher Mike Nickerson will develop new meat alternatives by fermenting a combination of lentils, peas and oats. Tempeh, a protein-rich and cake-like food traditionally made from fermented soybeans, lacks some essential amino acids. Blending pulses with oats shows promise in creating a “complete” protein that is not only high in protein and fiber, gluten- and soy-free, but also tasty and commercially competitive.

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