Canola Agriscience Research Cluster (2023-2028)

Call for letters of intent (LOI)

Due Date: Submissions are now closed.

The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) is preparing to build on the success of the past three Canola AgriScience Research Cluster programs and have accepted LOI submissions for the next Canola Cluster, anticipated to run from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2028.

The CCC is a not-for-profit organization funded by and representative of the canola industry value chain, from growers, life science companies, grain handling companies, exporters, processors, to food and feed manufacturers. The CCC is governed by a Board of Directors and takes a leadership role in several important areas including advocacy, market access, funding and administering canola research programs, and knowledge and technology transfer of research results.

Keep it Coming 2025 is the industry’s strategic plan with three priority areas: sustainable, reliable supply; differentiated value; and stable and open trade. A key goal of the strategic plan is to achieve an average canola yield of 52 bu/ac to meet global market demand of 26 million metric tonnes by 2025. The mandate is to increase yields, profitability, and sustainability, while reducing production risk. The canola industry has bold environmental sustainability goals to accompany the 2025 production goals.

Our Canola Innovation Strategy, developed in consultation with the value chain in 2021, will be fundamental to our industry as we work towards our 2025 goals and strive for future advancements. The Innovation Strategy is defined by four pillars that will represents the foundation of our 2023-2028 Canola AgriScience Research Cluster:

Performance: Increase canola productivity and meet current and future customer needs for oil and protein while remaining a top crop for Canadian producers, sequestering more carbon in the soil, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and increasing biodiversity.

Precision: Use current technology and adopt new innovations to increase productivity and reduce the environmental footprint of canola.

Protection: Protect the crop from pests and other threats to productivity, including climate change factors, while also protecting markets. Protecting markets means using approved crop protection products and seed traits, and demonstrating attention to sustainability – including economic, environmental, and social.

Product: Ensure Canada’s canola industry can supply current customers while also being flexible to adapt to changing domestic and global market demands for oil, meal, protein, and fuel.

AGRICULTURAL POLICY FRAMEWORK PRIORITIES

The next Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), outlined in The Guelph Statement, identifies five priority areas: climate change and environment; science, research, and innovation; building sector capacity, growth, and competitiveness; market development and trade; and resiliency and public trust.

The following three broad categories encompass the five priorities, listed above:

1. Climate Change and Environment

Research aimed at GHG emission reduction and improving carbon sequestration*; protecting and regenerating soil, water and air quality; improving biodiversity and protecting sensitive habitats.

Additional considerations for projects in this area:

  • Knowledge and Technology Transfer (KTT) to increase uptake of environmental practices
    • Projects that generate information on the on-farm costs and benefits of adopting environmental Best Management Practices (BMPs), accelerating technological adoption
    • Long-term perspective on how to advance the sector to meaningfully contribute to Government of Canada’s 2030 and 2050 climate targets*

*to meet the Government of Canada’s 2030 and 2050 targets of: GHG reduction of 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030; Reduce fertilizer emissions to 30% below 2020 level by 2030; Reach net zero by 2050

2. Economic Growth

Research to improve productivity and develop new or improved product attributes and production systems.

Additional considerations for projects in this area:

  • Focus on emerging technologies to address labour challenges, create more value-added products, and increase productivity and downstream coordination
  • Increasing market share or domestic and export sales targets
  • Efficiency improvements, reducing and recovering food and other wastes, and growing the bioeconomy

3. Sector Resilience

Research to improve sector resilience in response to market and societal pressures, including mental health, and to build resilience in the sector for the future of agriculture.

Additional considerations for projects in this area:

  • Examples of long-term sector resilience and emerging challenges: plant health, alternative production systems, artificial intelligence, and big data
  • Support and empower producers and agri-food workers to take care of their mental health
  • Foster awareness of the sectors commitment to the sustainable production of safe, high-quality food and building public trust while increasing sector awareness of the expectations of consumers

CANOLA INDUSTRY RESEARCH PRIORITIES

The canola industry’s research priorities, guided by the four pillars of the Canola Innovation Strategy, focus on the sustainable production of canola while improving yield, quality, and marketability through advancements in varietal traits, crop protection and agronomy; profitable canola production through reducing production risk and enhanced environmental stewardship; and the development of food, feed, fibre and fuel value-added products.

Industry research priorities are updated annually and are determined through consultations with expert steering groups, the canola value chain, and input from the annual Canola Discovery Forum.

Performance

Sustainability
  • Determine the economic and production impact of climate change and landscape modification
  • Model canola’s carbon sequestration potential and investigate areas for improvement
  • Evaluate and identify alternative management tactics and tools for major canola pests
  • Genetic solutions for nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), increased yield and yield stability, and abiotic stress tolerance
  • Understanding the production and environmental risks and benefits of tile drainage systems
  • Evaluate the economic, environmental, and production feasibility of cover crops to canola production systems
  • Discover water use efficiency improvements (ex. Genetic, agronomic, irrigation management)
  • Develop guidelines and economics for conversion of unproductive farmed land to non-cropped spaces
  • Evaluate the role of canola’s microbiome in carbon sequestration
Fertility, Nutrient Use Efficiency, and Soil Health
  • Evaluate the environmental and economic impact of 4R practices and strategies to improve adoption
  • Evaluate strategies to reduce N2O emissions
  • Investigate nutrient management options to improve yield stability under a changing climate
  • Evaluate validity of current fertility recommendation models for hybrid canola under long-term zero till production
  • Evaluate the need for increased micronutrients with higher yield targets
  • Evaluate the impact of frequent canola rotations on soil health
  • Quantify production impacts on soil organic matter depletion and accumulation

Precision

Harvest Management
  • Technology and strategies to effectively limit canola pod drop and shatter losses
  • Evaluate frost and pod damage impact on pod shatter tolerant canola cultivars
  • Evaluate harvest performance and threshing losses using auto drive features
  • Improve upon and test combine loss and yield sensor technology
Storage
  • Develop best management practices for storage of canola in large bins (greater than 10,000 bushels)
  • Evaluate alternative conditioning and drying methods/technologies and fan control systems
  • Update canola’s equilibrium moisture content (EMC)
  • Malathion breakdown and uptake by canola seed in storage
  • Strategies and technology to reduce energy requirements of conditioning and drying canola
  • Impact of seed respiration, elevated dockage, green seed, and immature seed on storability
Precision Agriculture and Dig Data
  • Evaluate proximal sensors/imaging techniques for optimization of zone management within a field to increase NUE, return on investment, and to reduce N2O emissions in precision fertilizer management practices
  • One-pass seeding system optimization
  • Identify alternative methods of soil sampling and analysis that are efficient and accurate
  • Manage field variability through big data, algorithms, and climate/weather prediction models
  • Evaluating technology to reduce reliance on foliar pesticides while improving productivity
  • Optimize irrigation for improved water use efficiency
  • Understanding of the socio-economic factors impacting on-farm agronomic decision making
Soil pH and Liming
  • Evaluate liming products and the role of calcium versus pH in clubroot management
  • Evaluate the impact of pH stratification and/or acid soils on crop production
  • Technology for pH amendment in zero-till production systems

Protection

Insect Pests *see Sustainability listing
  • Re-assess and update pest control thresholds under modern canola densities
  • Modelling for dynamic insect pest thresholds that includes beneficial insects
  • Technology and strategies to reduce off-target impacts of foliar insecticides and improve their efficacy
  • Insect pest monitoring and surveillance
Weeds *see Sustainability listing
  • Weed monitoring and surveillance, modelling of weed species shifts in a changing climate
  • Investigate and identify novel integrated weed management techniques for enhanced and diversified weed control methods
Clubroot *see liming and soil pH
  • Improve understanding of the genetics of clubroot resistance and the development of durable resistant sources
  • Identification of new methods to decrease P. brassicae inoculum loads in the soil and to develop methods to maintain canola productivity in the face of clubroot
  • Development of new techniques to help avoid and predict clubroot
  • Improved technology for early detection and sampling of P. brassicae and specific pathotypes in the field
Verticillium Stripe
  • Determination cultural control methods and effectiveness for V. longisporum
  • Expand knowledge of yield loss from Verticillium Stripe
Blackleg
  • Determination of the effectiveness of blackleg resistance currently deployed on the prairies
  • Evaluate the impact of disease pressure with different rotational sequences
  • Evaluate the potential of a root infection pathway for L. maculans
  • Evaluation of novel techniques and technologies to effectively manage blackleg in a typical canola rotation
  • Identify novel resistance genes
  • Identify and quantify practices to decrease inoculum from major canola diseases
Sclerotinia Stem Rot
  • Investigate the sensitivity of fungicides in S. sclerotiorum
  • Optimize foliar fungicide efficacy
  • Evaluate and improve epidemiological models for forecasting sclerotinia stem rot outbreaks and improve risks models based on real time data
  • Development of sclerotinia stem rot resistance in canola by incorporating resistance into parental lines & hybrids
  • Identification of genes and defense pathways underlying quantitative resistance to S. sclerotiorum in canola
  • Development of rapid in-field S. sclerotiorum presence testing
Plant Establishment
  • Examine and quantify factors impacting canola germination and emergence
  • Genetic solutions for early season vigor and improved germination and emergence

Product

Value Added
  • Encourage research on seed composition and yield to maximize seed oil content and improve protein functionality and bioavailability
  • Bioplastics and Biopolymers: Utilization of canola protein / fiber for production of biodegradable plastics / polymers
    • Single use plastics are a high priority for governments and industry but other uses are also encouraged
    • Research which emphasizes pilot-scale or pre-commercial production will be given highest priority
  • Bioprocessing: “Green” processing technology for oil extraction and protein fractionation
    • Priority will be given to technologies which reduce CO2 emissions, lower water consumption, “green” solvents, and other technologies which maintain or increase functionality and extraction efficiency of oil and protein while improving environmental footprint
Canola Meal for Livestock and Aquaculture
  • High levels of canola meal inclusion in dairy rations and its role in contributing to the reduction in the environmental footprint of the dairy industry:
    • Gaining a broader understanding of how high levels of canola meal inclusion promote rumen efficiency
    • Early lactation research has suggested that CM can alter anabolic hormones and gene expression, potentially leading to better milk and more efficient production. Increased understanding of how canola meal inclusion effects circulating hormones and gene expression, specifically those involved in increased production
    • Recent research has identified canola meal as a means of reducing GHG emissions in the diets of dairy cows when it replaces soybean meal.  Further research to understand potential synergies between canola meal and other strategies that are shown to reduce GHG emission is warranted
    • Recent research reviewed the Life Cycle Analysis of canola meal fed to dairy cows in Eastern and Western Canada. As large volumes of canola meal are exported to markets such as California, states in the Upper Mid-West and China, expanded models to understand LCAs in these markets is warranted
  • Gain a broader understanding of the true value of canola meal in aquaculture diets. Canola meal has an amino acid profile that is more consistent with the needs of aquaculture species than other vegetable proteins providing unique applications for this meal
    • focus on large volume species, such as carp, tilapia, salmonid as well as others such as blue shrimp and prawn, or seabass to best understand the following:
    • Digestibility and amino acid availability
    • Replacement ratio of canola meal for fish meal and other vegetable protein sources (soybean meal)
    • Canola meal physical properties in aqua feed processing
  • Exploration into novel processing methods and products for microbial control in canola meal

The provincial grower associations have objectives and priorities that guide their funding of research.  These can be found at the following webpages:

Manitoba Canola Growers Association

SaskCanola

Alberta Canola Producers Commission

GUIDELINES FOR RESEARCHERS AND LOI SUBMISSIONS

LOI submissions must align with a Canola Industry Research Priority and an APF priority.  For questions regarding alignment of your research area, please reach out to one of the listed contacts below.

Researchers from universities, not-for-profit research institutions, as well as federal and provincial research organizations are eligible to apply. 

  • Funding is available within the 5-year period: April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2028
  • Please consider effective measurements of project success (ex. economic evaluation)
    • It will be necessary to quantify the applicable social, environmental, and economic impacts of the project on the canola sector
  • Consider effective KTT strategies to advance adoption of best management practices
  • The priority areas being addressed must be made clear in the LOI submission
  • Collaborative research efforts and funding partnerships between crops, research organizations, and industry stakeholders are strongly encouraged
  • Annual reporting is required

The CCC reserves the right to share Letters of Intent with other appropriate funding agencies.

Please note that funding is dependent on AAFC’s approval and announcement of the next AgriScience Research Cluster program which is expected in the fall of 2022.

Letters of Intent are to be submitted using the CCC’s Letter of Intent template by March 7, 2022.  Successful candidates will be notified, and a full proposal will be requested in April.

Send completed LOI by email to:
Ellen McNabb, Research Administrator, CCC
mcnabbe@canolacouncil.org

FUNDING ORGANIZATION CONTACTS

Canola Council of Canada
Angela Brackenreed, Agronomy Specialist
Agronomy Specialist
brackenreeda@canolacouncil.org

Brittany Dyck
Senior Manager, Canola Utilization
dyckb@canolacouncil.org

Alberta Canola
Brittany Visscher
Research Director
brittany@albertacanola.com

SaskCanola
Doug Heath
Research Manager
dheath@saskcanola.com

Manitoba Canola Growers Association
Amy Mangin
Research Manager
amy@canolagrowers.com

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