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Posted at: Jun 21, 2016, 1:26 AM; last updated: Jun 21, 2016, 1:26 AM (IST)

AAFC honours PAU alumnus

8 spring wheat cultivars, highest yielding variety for Canada
AAFC honours PAU alumnus
Dr Harpinder Singh Randhawa receives Gold Harvest Award from Dr Gilles Saindon, ADM, Science and Technology, AAFC, in Canada. A Tribune photograph

Charanjit Singh Teja

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20

Dr Harpinder Singh Randhawa, an alumnus of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and eminent wheat breeder, received the Gold Harvest Award from Dr Gilles Saindon, Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Technology Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) during the National Public Service Week in Canada.

Dr Randhawa’s passion for wheat breeding developed during his childhood when he worked alongside his parents on the family farm in Kala Afghana, Punjab. He did his BSc Agriculture (Honours) in 1990 and MSc with a specialisation in plant breeding in 1993 from PAU, Ludhiana.

In 1994, he was appointed Assistant Rice Breeder at PAU, where he was a part of the team whose objective was to develop high yielding cultivars of rice.

He later migrated to Canada and completed his PhD in Plant Science at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada in 2002 and worked at the Washington State University, Pullman, USA.

Since 2007, Dr Randhawa has been working as a Research Scientist with the AAFC at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, Alberta.

The prime focus of his research is to develop spring wheat cultivars that have better agronomic performance, excellent end use quality and resistance to various biotic and abiotic stresses in western Canada. He has developed eight spring wheat cultivars and co-developed four triticale cultivars for general production in western Canada. Most recently, he has developed the highest yielding spring wheat variety (AAC Awesome) for western Canada.

He has published over 50 research articles in international journals; supervised many undergraduates, graduates and post-doctoral fellows and attended over 30 national and international conferences.

Dr Randhawa’s wheat breeding programme is funded through a unique P4 partnership, involving the Alberta Wheat Commission, the Canterra Seeds and the AAFC. Last year, Federal Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz announced a total contribution of $3.4 million through this partnership aimed at combining the strength of producers, along with the public and private sectors, to create improved Canada Prairie Spring Red wheat varieties for farmers. For this endeavour, Dr Randhawa along with his team was recognised with this award for innovation, collaboration and service excellence.

The Gold Harvest Award (Prix Moisson D’or), the highest recognition by the Agriculture and Agri-Food Department, honours exceptional and significant contributions made by the employees and partners through the excellence of work they perform, the exemplary behaviour they demonstrate and the positive results they achieve.

Dr Randhawa’s wheet breeding programme

Funding: a P4 partnership of the Alberta Wheat Commission, the Canterra Seeds and the AAFC 

A contribution of $3.4 million through this partnership by Federal Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz

Aims: Combine strength of producers with the public and private sectors to improve Canada Prairie Spring Red wheat varieties for farmers

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