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Local and sustainable production of faba beans will strengthen green transition

A new project aims at developing new sorts of faba beans for a more sustainable production in Denmark for the purpose of decreasing the import of soya beans for animal feed. Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics (QGG) contributes to the project with its substantial expertise in large scale computations and statistical analyses.

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The IMFABA project is the top scorer among the new projects, for which GUDP (Ministerial Green Development and Demonstration Programme) has allocated grants in the latest round. It is an improvement project aiming at developing new sorts of faba beans for animal feed, suitable for the Danish climate and having a better protein quality than the sorts grown today. If the improvement effort succeeds, it will be possible to replace a larger amount of the imported soya content in livestock feed with faba beans produced in Denmark. The objective of the project is to develop technology and methods for the improvement of sustainable Danish faba beans, and thereby strengthen the green transition in the food sector.

Among other things, GUDP has emphasised the interaction between green and financial sustainability, as well as the news value and relevance of the project.

Professor Luc Janss, who is project responsible for QGG’s contribution to the project, is enthousiastic:

- QGG is very happy to contribute and work on this nice project. Faba beans can be the future Danish protein crop, but we need to improve its climate resilience. Under draught conditions, like we had in Denmark in 2018, the faba bean can lose nearly all its yield. This project fits very well in our work on modelling genotype-environment interactions and on developing breeding strategies to develop climate resilient crops.  

Project manager, associate professor Stig Uggerhøj Andersen from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, adds:

- IMFABA gives us the opportunity of building on the resources and knowledge from the Innovation fund Denmark project NORFAB, which kicked off the Danish improvement of faba beans, he says, and continues:

- With IMFABA we will be utilising the natural variation in protein quality and drought tolerance to improve the yield stability and feed value of faba beans, so that locally grown protein can compete better with imported soya on price and quality.

Faba beans are widely adapted to different climates, but yield especially well under moist temperate conditions. In Denmark, they can play a major role in substituting for soya imports and there is strong interest from both farmers and grain merchants.

GUDP is supporting the project with 15 million DKK (approx. 2 million €) in total over a 4-year period. Project manager is associate professor Stig Uggerhøj Andersen from Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University. Project responsible for QGG’s contribution is professor Luc Janss.

Project partners:

  • University of Copenhagen
  • Sejet Plant Breeding
  • Nordic Seed
  • Business Academy Aarhus

For further information:

Project manager, associate professor Stig Uggerhøj Andersen, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University. sua@mbg.au.dk

Professor Luc Janss, Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics, Aarhus University. luc.janss@qgg.au.dk

Link to the project description