The Diverse Field Crops Cluster (DFCC) is an agri-science cluster led by Ag-West Bio with funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Agricultural Partnership program and industry partners. The DFCC program ran from 2018 to 2023 and included 16 activities. Researchers from across Canada participated. DFCC supports the research and development of high potential, special crops: flax, camelina, canary seed, sunflower, hemp, quinoa, mustard and carinata.

The DFCC’s primary goal is to benefit producers and industry through research by accelerating acreage and market returns for these crops, making them viable options to add to the rotational mix.

A few of the results:

  • A carinata hybrid, Nujet 400, was launched as the first international, commercial industrial biofuel feedstock, targeted towards the transportation industry.• New yellow and brown flax oilseed varieties will become available for growers in 2025.
  • Two new mustard varieties (the first Canadian hybrid brown mustard and composite yellow condiment mustard) were commercialized and adopted by producers. AAC Yellow 80 has shown a nine per cent increase in yield and AAC Brown 18 has shown a 20 per cent increase. For Western Canadian farmers, these are varieties with the first significant yield increases in three decades!
  • Continued development of winter-type camelina varieties and successful development of spring varieties with increased seed size – a boon to producers for seed establishment and harvestability.
  • The upcoming release of quinoa varieties adapted to Canadian conditions, with higher yields, earlier maturity, increased protein levels, and lower saponin content. Some varieties show unique functionalities for specific food applications.
  • Camelina oil was proven to be a safe and efficacious ingredient in dog food and as a horse supplement. It is now available throughout North America for the companion animal industry.
  • Hempseed meal has proven potential as a livestock feed and is nutritionally comparable to canola meal.
  • Successful development of longtype confection sunflowers will lead to increased access to the European confection market.
  • Processes were developed to make shelf-stable Canary seed flours for the food industry. A final research report is available with details about each activity. I encourage you to reach out to the DFCC partners and researchers to learn more about opportunities for these special crops.

Photo: iStock Photo

This article is from Ag-West Bio’s 2022-23 Annual Report.

Contact us if you would like a printed copy


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