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Value Added Flax Production in Manitoba through Breeding and Agronomy and Pathology Research

Value Added Flax Production in Manitoba through Breeding and Agronomy and Pathology Research

  • Start date: 2012
  • Project Length: 2012-2014
  • Project Status: Complete


This project will build upon a successful foundation in flax breeding, agronomy and pathology researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Research Centres in Manitoba (Brandon, Morden and Winnipeg) that develop new varieties that will meet customer demands and perform well for growers, and processors of Manitoba. It will build upon using facilities within Manitoba such as the Diversification Centres throughout the province of Manitoba. Augment research already ongoing at the Richardson Centre for Functional Food and Nutraceuticals, Composites Innovation Centre, and Schweitzer Mauduit. It will also build upon the strategic plan laid out by Flax Canada 2015 and research ongoing within Natural Fibres for the Green Economy Network (NAFGEN) and Total Utilization Flax Genomics (TUFGEN). The development of new flax cultivars in response to consumer demands are largely based upon quality parameters such as oil content, content of alpha linolenic acid, protein content, and fibre content of the straw. In a perfectly competitive environment, producers have little control over price however specialized flax programs that utilize identity preservation may increase premiums for producers. In addition, better yielding varieties can help producers achieve greater productivity. Factors that can increase yield over the accepted standard are also sought after goals.

Flax production in Manitoba must also be cost effective. New flax cultivars must be able to mitigate the threats from diseases, weeds and other environmental factors and help producers reduce production expenses, while maximizing their revenue. As such, it is important that new flax varieties have improved resistance to traditional diseases and respond to new disease pressures. In addition, agronomic factors such as vigour, straw strength, maturity, height, stress tolerance and yield stability are also desired traits in new flax cultivars. While providing producers with additional yield and reduced costs, the production of flax is also the backbone to a supply chain management system that produces value added products.

The flax crop can be segmented into different uses, seed and fibre, which each serve different end user markets. Although each of these market segments has their unique opportunities and threats, the goal of this project is to accelerate the development of flax varieties for total utilization, seed and straw, through the adoption of best practice technology, agronomic methods, and breeding techniques, while being responsive to demand drivers in both domestic and global markets.

Total Funding Approved:

$40,000 annually for a total of $80,000