Brandon Research and Development Centre
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
2701 Grand Valley Road,
P.O. Box 1000A, Rural Route #3
The Brandon Research and Development Centre is one of the original five experimental farms established by the Government of Canada in 1886 under The Experimental Farm Station Act.
There are three satellite locations associated with the Centre:
- the Cereal Quality Lab in Winnipeg
- the Canada-Manitoba-Crop Diversification Centre in Carberry
- the Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre in Portage la Prairie
The Brandon Research and Development Centre conducts research in two key areas:
- Sustainable and Profitable Agri-systems and Agroecosystem Productivity and Health for the prairie climate focusing on systems which are economically viable and environmentally sound
- Cereal (wheat, barley, and oats) germplasm enhancement
Facilities at the Brandon Research and Development Centre
- Irrigation, greenhouse and phytotron facilities
- Land base of 890 hectares plus 100 hectares leased
- Facilities and equipment for seeding, management harvesting, grain drying and handling of seeds and biomass of grains and oilseeds
- Unique Cereal quality lab in support of the breeding programs
- Co-located with the
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency
- Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives
Current research activities
- Conducting research on manure management, including composting and rates of application to land, that permit producers to improve soil quality and plant nutrients, while reducing nitrogen and phosphorous losses from the soil, and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Developing innovative fertilizer management based on variable and appropriate application of nutrients and precision agriculture that enable agricultural producers to improve soil health and maximize the efficient use of nutrients by crops.
- Identifying the environmental impact of inputs and rotations on nitrogen and phosphorus at the field and watershed scale in the context of climate change.
- Identifying new scientific principles and methods to improve nutrient use efficiency by crops.
- Advancing knowledge on soil processes, particularly those that control emission of greenhouse gases, sequestration of carbon in soil organic matter, replenishment of exhausted nutrient supplying capacity, and improvement of soil physical properties.
- Improving knowledge and understanding the effects of crop rotations and crop succession on carbon sequestration, of legume crop contributions to soil N accumulation and plant diseases.
- Developing tools for advanced range management in agricultural landscapes.
- Assessing the use of beetles to control leafy spurge.
- Developing an edge-of-field data capture tool to gather field scale agricultural information for use in landscape and watershed based resource management.
Farm Profitability through Innovative Systems
- Breeding cereals (wheat, barley and oats) and researching new germplasm and varieties for western Canada that are more resistant to disease, have higher yield, better malting quality, and higher nutritive value for cattle and human consumption.
- Evaluating wheat, barley and oat lines for milling and baking quality, and barley malting quality. Studying system for improving efficient use of land and water resources, including crop rotations, nutrient application to soils (commercial fertilizers, animal wastes, and other sources), weather conditions within the crop canopy (micrometeorology), and plant biochemistry and physiology. Knowledge developed in these studies forms the basis of management practices that minimize production cost, minimize risks, and stabilize returns at the farm gate.
- Researching crop management methods that minimize the adverse effect of crop diseases through the adoption of crop rotations, and determining strategies to improve the efficient use of fungicides, or similar farm inputs.
Results of our research
Agro-ecosystem productivity and health
- Assessed crop inputs and diversity of rotations to mitigate the effects of climate change on yield and soil properties.
- Quantified field scale variability of greenhouse gas emissions for glacial till soils in hummocky terrain.
- Developed alternative methods for statistical analysis of greenhouse gas fluxes.
- Evaluated the effect of variable management on crop yield based on the form, time of application and location of nitrogen fertilizer in the landscape.
- Demonstrated new tools to help land managers assess agri-environmental resource management issues and adopt beneficial management practices.
- Improved and refined tools to use aerial and satellite imagery to classify land cover, evaluate riparian areas and measure soil moisture.
- Demonstrated grass alfalfa grazing system (low bloat risk) with improved animal gain (by 50 kilograms a hectare).
- Extended grazing systems using annual forages in mid-summer and crops such as small grains, Golden German millet, hairy vetch and forage brassicas.
- Classified ecological sites in Manitoba Range land based on geography, soil and topography to identify the optimum plant communities for environmental and agricultural stewardship.
- Improved nitrogen (N) effectiveness and reduced N losses in collaborative research with scientists from universities and industry at the national and international level.
- Improved phosphorus (P) management and reduced P loss from different forms and sources of nutrient (including compost/swine manure) on different cropping systems on the Prairies.
- Improved cadmium (Cd) control through crop management (organic nutrients, improved cultivars, reduced tillage and low Cd phosphorus fertilizers).
- Developed and used information management tools to support range and other resource management in agricultural landscapes.
- Studied the use of beetles to control leafy spurge.
- Developed an edge-of-field data capture tool to gather field scale agricultural information for use in landscape and watershed based resource management.
Cereal and pulses
- Released three two-row malting barley varieties and two forage barley varieties with improved resistance to Fusarium head blight.
- Released more than 25 bread wheat varieties mostly for Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) and some Canada Western Hard White (CWHW) class wheat (with resistance to orange blossom wheat midge, improved resistance to Fusarium head blight, and enhanced pre-harvest sprouting resistance). Five oat varieties, some with improved resistance to crown rust disease, were also released.
- Developed and validated single nucleotide polymorphic markers for marker assisted selection, quantitative trait loci mapping, association mapping, and genomic selection in Canadian bread wheat germplasm.
- Developed selection techniques for low cadmium accumulating durum wheat cultivars, exempting Canada from trade restrictions due to high levels.
- Discovered that planting winter wheat into canola grain and barley silage is best; planting into canola stubble is not always timely; planting into pea stubble can result in winter wheat death due to low snow trapping.
- Discovered that planting oat early increases yield; high seeding rates suppress weeds.
- Bred cereals (wheat, barley and oats) and researched new germplasm and varieties for western Canada that are more resistant to disease, have higher yield, better malting quality, and higher nutritive value for cattle and human consumption.
- Discovered that 30 cm row spacing for flax allows conventional grain seeding equipment for fibre production; high seeding rates and delayed planting create higher fiber yields.
- Customized production practices for Manitoba to improve profitability and management of environmental risks for high input crops such as potatoes.
- Discovered that two-year rotations for potato are unprofitable due to increased disease.
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