Robert J. Graf, Ph.D., P.Ag.

Image Robert Graf
Principal Research Scientist, Winter Wheat Breeding

Development of field-ready cultivars of winter wheat germplasm adapted to western Canada

Current research and/or projects

Mandate: The development of winter wheat cultivars for the various agri-climatic regions of western Canada that combine high yield and cold tolerance with superior productivity traits, enhanced disease and pest resistance, and end-use quality profiles that serve traditional and emerging markets.

Research and/or project statements

Principal Investigator

  1. Enhancing the stability of recent yield advances in western Canadian winter wheat. Western Winter Wheat Initiative, 2016-2020.  To breed improved disease and pest resistance into new higher yielding CWRW wheat cultivars to enhance the long term durability of the yield gains that have been recently been achieved.
  2. Development of improved wnter wheat cultivars for western Canada. Canadian National Wheat Cluster, 2018-2023.  To develop improved field-ready cultivars of winter wheat for western Canada.
  3. Premium quality hard red winter wheat for western Canada. Agriculture Funding Consortium, 2019-2022.  To develop over the medium term, winter wheat cultivars with CWRS-like end-use quality with yield, agronomics, and disease resistance competitive with current cultivars at the time of registration.

Education and awards


  • PhD, Plant Breeding & Agronomy, University of Saskatchewan (1989)
  • BSA (Great Distinction), Agronomy, University of Saskatchewan (1982)


  • 2020     Canadian Plant Breeding and Genetics Award
  • 2016     ASTech Leadership Foundation Award for Innovation in Agricultural Science
  • 2015     AAFC Gold Harvest Award for Innovation, Collaboration & Service Excellence
  • 2015     Canadian Society of Agronomy Best Paper Award (co-author)
  • 2012     Canadian Seed Growers Association, Honorary Life Membership
  • 2010     Alberta Seed Growers Association, Honorary Life Membership

Key publications

  1. Harvey C, Araujo GT, Frick M, Laroche A, Laurie JD, Graf RJ, Bilichak A. A genetic approach to improve wheat resilience to emerging stripe rust isolates using novel R gene sequences from Thinopyrum intermedium. Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Meeting (Virtual) of the Plant Pathology Society of Alberta, Edmonton, AB 2021/11/04 - 2020/11/05. Oral presentation T1.

    2021 - View publication details

  2. Frick M, Bodell K, Masic T, Harvey C, Cradduck M, Jiang F, Foroud F, Graf RJ, Laurie JD, Laroche A. 2021. The circadian clock and regulation of plant growth factors in wheat Plant Biology 2021 Worldwide Summit Virtual Meeting. Poster # 404377

    2021 - View publication details

  3. Frick M, Bodell K, Masic T, Harvey C, Cradduck M, Jiang F, Foroud F, Graf RJ, Laurie JD, Laroche A. 2021. Identification of circadian clock regulated immune response genes in wheat. Canadian Society of Plant Biologists – Société canadienne de biologie végétale 2021 Virtual Meeting. Invited Oral presentation Abstract #101

    2021 - View publication details

  4. A Year of Firsts for PGDC -

    2021 - View publication details

  5. A Year of Firsts for PGDC. M. Zienkiewicz. Germination Magazine. 1 March 2021.

    2021 - View publication details

  6. Winter Wheat Genetic Gains. T. Bacque. The Focal Point. Spring 2021. Pp. 20-22.

    2021 - View publication details

  7. M. Frick, G.T. Araujo, K. Fujita, D. Van Essen, C. Harvey, J.D. Laurie, R.J. Graf and A. Laroche. 2021. Remodeling the functionality of the stripe rust resistance gene Yr10 against current virulent fungal isolates. UBC-STEM Appreciation Night, January 21, 2021.

    2021 - View publication details

  8. New Winter Wheat Varieties: 2021 Update. Saskatchewan Winter Cereals Development Commission Virtual Annual General Meeting. 11 January 2021.

    2021 - View publication details

  9. Wheat Breeding: Intellectual Property & Commercialization Considerations. OIPC Group. 20 October 2020

    2020 - View publication details

  10. Regional Variety Trials in Alberta & Winter Wheat Virtual Tour. Battle River Research Group. 29 July 2020.

    2020 - View publication details

  11. Aboukhaddour, R., Fetch, T., McCallum, B. D., Harding, M. W., Beres, B. L., & Graf, R. J. (2020). Wheat diseases on the prairies: A canadian story. Plant Pathology, 69(3), 418-432. doi:10.1111/ppa.13147

    2020 - View publication details

  12. Graf, R.J., Larsen, R.J., Beres, B.L., Aboukhaddour, R., Laroche, A., Randhawa, H.S., Foroud, N.A. (2020). AAC network hard red winter wheat. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, [online] 100(6), 737-746.

    2020 - View publication details

  13. Bahrani, H., Thoms, K., Båga, M., Larsen, J., Graf, R., Laroche, A., Sammynaiken, R., Chibbar, R.N. (2019). Preferential accumulation of glycosylated cyanidins in winter-hardy rye (Secale cereale L.) genotypes during cold acclimation. Environmental and Experimental Botany, [online] 164 203-212.

    2019 - View publication details

  14. Whittal, A., Kaviani, M., Graf, R., Humphreys, G., Navabi, A. (2018). Allelic variation of vernalization and photoperiod response genes in a diverse set of North American high latitude winter wheat genotypes. PLoS ONE, [online] 13(8),

    2018 - View publication details

  15. Beres, B.L., Brûlé-Babel, A.L., Ye, Z., Graf, R.J., Turkington, T.K., Harding, M.W., Kutcher, H.R., Hooker, D.C. (2018). Exploring Genotype × Environment × Management synergies to manage fusarium head blight in wheat. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology, [online] 40(2), 179-188.

    2018 - View publication details

  16. Laroche, A., G.T. Araujo, W. Lu, E. Amundsen, N.K. Newlands, R. Aboukhaddour, J. Larsen, H. Rhandawa, R. Graf, D.A. Gaudet, B.L. Selinger, M. Frick. 2018. Aerobiological Surveillance of Wheat Pathogens. Conference Proceedings of Agronomy Update 2018. January 9-10 Red Deer, AB.pp52

    2018 - View publication details

  17. Graf, R.J., Beres, B.L., Larsen, R.J., Randhawa, H.S., Gaudet, D.A., Laroche, A., Eudes, F., Foroud, N.A. (2017). AAC goldrush hard red winter wheat. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, [online] 98(2), 467-474.

    2017 - View publication details

  18. Brar, G.S., Graf, R., Knox, R., Campbell, H., Kutcher, H.R. (2017). Reaction of differential wheat and triticale genotypes to natural stripe rust [Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici] infection in Saskatchewan, Canada. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology, [online] 39(2), 138-148.

    2017 - View publication details

  19. Nilsen, K.T., N'Diaye, A., MacLachlan, P.R., Clarke, J.M., Ruan, Y., Cuthbert, R.D., Knox, R.E., Wiebe, K., Cory, A.T., Walkowiak, S., Beres, B.L., Graf, R.J., Clarke, F.R., Sharpe, A.G., Distelfeld, A., Pozniak, C.J. (2017). High density mapping and haplotype analysis of the major stem-solidness locus SSt1 in durum and common wheat. PLoS ONE, [online] 12(4),

    2017 - View publication details

  20. Ye, Z., Brûlé-Babel, A.L., Graf, R.J., Mohr, R., Beres, B.L. (2017). The role of genetics, growth habit, and cultural practices in the mitigation of Fusarium head blight. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, [online] 97(2), 316-328.

    2017 - View publication details

Research facility

5403 1st Avenue South
Lethbridge, AB T1J 4B1


Alberta Institute of Agrology

Canadian Society of Agronomy

Adjunct Professor, University of Manitoba

Adjunct Professor, University of Guelph

Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale (voting member)

Canadian Seed Growers Association (associate member)