Researcher wins 2015 Seed of the Year award

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Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) Dr. Harvey Voldeng was honoured by SeCan, Canada's largest certified seed supplier, and the University of Guelph with the 2015 Seed of the Year award for the Maple Series of soybean. The presentation occurred in December 2015 at the Central Experimental Farm.

The Seed of the Year award is a competition designed to recognize a publicly developed Canadian field crop, forage, fruit, vegetable or herb variety that has made a significant contribution to the agri-food industry. Any publicly developed Canadian seed variety can be nominated.

In the 1970's, producers in areas with a short growing season did not have a good legume crop to grow in rotation with cereals and corn that would both mature and yield well. Dr. Voldeng's Maple Series was the solution.

The first variety in the series, Maple Arrow, was originally registered in 1976 and was designed to mature and yield well in the short growing seasons of Ontario, Quebec and parts of Manitoba.

Shortly after, the Maple Glen variety was registered and became the dominant soybean variety in Canada. Over 40,000 tonnes of Maple Glen seed was sold over its first 15 years, producing more than 1.5 million acres worth of Canadian soybeans.

Soybean production in Canada has increased more than eight-fold since the introduction of the Maple Series in the 1970's. Many of the early maturing soybean varieties grown in Canada today have the Maple Series as a genetic grandparent.

"We hoped soybeans would become a valuable and established crop in Canada, but never expected them to have the success they have since achieved. In addition to the long standing acres in Ontario and Quebec, soybeans are also grown on more than a million acres in Western Canada today and are even established in parts of Prince Edward Island. It's amazing.”

- Dr. Harvey Voldeng, Honorary Research Associate (retired), Ottawa Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Canadian soybean sector is an important part of Canada's agricultural landscape. Over 5.56 million acres were planted in 2014 resulting in over $2.2 billion in farm cash receipts.

Research of soybeans continues at AAFC with the next generation of scientists, leading to new and innovative varieties with improved nutritional characteristics, higher yield, improved disease-resistance, and marketability.

While Dr. Voldeng has retired from AAFC, he still works as an honorary research associate at the department's Ottawa Research and Development Centre, developing new crop varieties. His current research work is on spring wheat for bread.

AAFC congratulates Dr. Voldeng on winning the 2015 Seed of the Year award and for his many contributions to agricultural innovation in Canada.

Key discoveries (benefits)

  • AAFC’s Dr. Harvey Voldeng was honoured by SeCan and the University of Guelph with the 2015 Seed of the Year award for the Maple Series of soybean.
  • Maple Arrow soybean was registered in 1976 and was designed to mature and yield well in the short growing seasons of Ontario, Quebec, and parts of Manitoba.
  • Another variety, Maple Glen, became the dominate soybean variety for short season areas.

Photo gallery

Dr. Harvey Voldeng
Dr. Harvey Voldeng, AAFC
Maple Arrow soybeans
Maple Arrow soybeans
presentation of award
Left to right: Rene Van Acker (University of Guelph), Dr. Elroy Cober (AAFC), Dr. Harvey Voldeng (AAFC), and Martin Harry (SeCan)

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