From FCC Express, by Owen Roberts
Ontario’s $500-million winter wheat crop is poised to take a distinctly local twist.
Earlier this week, the federal government announced a grant of more than $400,000 for the Ontario Cereal Industry Research Council to support research into winter wheat gluten quality at the University of Guelph.
New Guelph food science faculty member Jayne Bock, an expert in wheat flour properties, will lead the research.
Ultimately, the results will help farmers benefit from what the federal government calls “locally adaptable winter wheat varieties that meet buyers’ changing preferences.”
Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux, who made the announcement in Guelph, says the research will, for example, help identify traits such as protein functionality that will lead to enhanced milling and more product uses.
“Winter wheat is a significant contributor to Ontario’s economy and innovative investments like this will drive growth and productivity in the sector,” says Lemieux. “This research is expected to increase the value of winter wheat and expand market opportunities for Canadian producers.”
Ontario grows more than 70 per cent of Canada’s winter wheat. Henry Olechowski, president of the cereal industry research council, says his members consider this research “strategically important” to stay ahead in the winter wheat market.
“Advancing our understanding and application of protein functionality in winter wheat will enable our sector to be more innovative in processes and products,” Olechowski says.
The project could help alleviate Ontario wheat farmers’ frustration over being unvalued by consumers for their role in local food production. In the past, they’ve pointed out their harvests are as local as any other Ontario-grown commodity, even though their commodity must be processed to be consumed.