Crop Production Research Priorities

Current research priorities for canola crop production

Every year, the Canola Council’s crop production and innovation team identifies the research areas with the most potential to increase yields and improve the sustainability and competitiveness of Canadian canola. These priorities are set through consultation with expert steering groups, the canola value chain and the annual Canola Week.

For more information about these priorities, contact the agronomy specialist listed under each heading.

This icon indicates a top research priority.


Contact: Ian Epp

  • Quantify the rate of nitrogen required to produce a bushel of canola and how to effectively limit and reduce nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions.
  • Determine the impact of climate change and landscape modification on canola production.
  • Investigate into nutrient and pesticide concentration in tile-drained effluent.
  • Evaluate and identify alternative management tactics and tools for major canola pests (ex. RNAi, genetic resistance, non-neonicotinoid treatments, enhancement of beneficial insects, etc.).

Integrated pest management

Insect pests

Contact: Keith Gabert

  • Re-assess and update pest control thresholds (with a focus on flea beetles) under modern canola densities (less than and within 50-80 plants/m2) and modelling for dynamic thresholds including beneficial insects and features enhancing or diminishing their impact.


Contact: Shawn Senko

  • Determine modern hybrid canola’s critical period of weed control among a range of plant densities and abiotic factors.
  • Predict weed species that will become more or less weedy and invasive in a changing climate.
  • Investigate and identify novel integrated weed management techniques for enhanced and diversified weed control methods.
  • Understand the socio-economic factors impacting on-farm agronomic decision making.


Contact: Clint Jurke

  • Identify and quantify practices to decrease inoculum from major canola diseases.
Sclerotinia stem rot

Contact: Clint Jurke

  • Evaluate and improve epidemiological models for forecasting sclerotinia stem rot of canola outbreaks on the Canadian Prairies.
  • Develop sclerotinia stem rot resistance in canola by incorporating resistance into parental lines and hybrids.
  • Identify genes and defense pathways underlying quantitative resistance to S. sclerotiorum in canola.
  • Develop S. sclerotiorum risk models based on real time weather data, crop rotation, crop sequence and historical weather/disease trends.
  • Develop rapid in-field S. sclerotiorum presence testing.
  • Investigate the sensitivity of fungicides in S. sclerotiorum
  • Optimize fungicide application in low plant stand and low yield potential scenarios.

Contact: Angela Brackenreed

  • Identify new methods to decrease clubroot spore/inoculum loads in the soil and to develop methods to maintain canola productivity in the face of clubroot.
  • Understand the genetics of clubroot resistance and the development of durable resistant sources.
  • Develop new techniques to aid in the prediction of avoidance of clubroot.
  • Improved methods for early detection and sampling of Plasmodiophora brassicae and specific pathotypes in the field.
  • Also see liming priorities

Contact: Clint Jurke

  • Determine the effectiveness of blackleg resistance post cultivar registration across the Prairies.
  • Can blackleg be prevented effectively when canola is grown frequently with cultivar resistance, seed/in-furrow fungicide treatment, and/or early strobilurin fungicide application?
  • Explore novel R genes in B genome and R genomes.
  • What is the impact of disease pressure with different rotation sequence of crop species?
  • What is the potential for blackleg root infection pathway in Western Canada?
Verticillium stripe

Contact: Clint Jurke

  • Determine cultural control methods & effectiveness for Verticillium longisporum.
  • Quantify the environmental conditions conducive for verticillium stripe infection in Western Canada.

Contact: Keith Gabert

  • Evaluate liming products for clubroot control, specifically for patch management strategies and the role of calcium versus pH.
  • Evaluate the impact of pH stratification and/or acid soils on crop returns across the rotation with emphasis on lime application and incorporation methods that may be compatible with zero tillage.

Harvest & Storage management


Contact: Shawn Senko

  • Determine swathed versus straight cut timing to harvest maturity.
  • Evaluate frost and pod damage impact on pod shatter tolerant canola.
  • Measure harvest performance and losses using auto drive features.
  • Improve upon and test combine loss and yield sensor technology.


Contact: Angela Brackenreed

  • Develop best management practices for storage of canola in large bins (greater than 10,000 bushels).
  • Evaluate alternative conditioning and drying methods/technologies.
  • Update canola’s equilibrium moisture content (EMC).
  • Develop airflow models to understand airflow rate and airflow uniformity within a bin.
  • Evaluate new technologies for fan monitoring and control.
  • Examine headspace ventilation to determine optimal system configurations.
  • Increase understanding of seed respiration/sweating in storage.
  • Malathion breakdown and uptake by canola seed in storage.
  • Investigate optimal supplemental heat systems for conditioning canola.
  • Impact on storability of elevated dockage, green seed, and immature seed.
  • Develop and evaluate temporary storage systems.

Plant establishment

Plant establishment

Contact: Jason Casselman

  • Examine and quantify factors impacting canola germination and emergence.
  • Investigate genetic factors conferring greater early season vigour and higher germination and/or emergence potential.
  • Field evaluation of seed placement and uniformity among different seeding implements, soil type, and environmental conditions.
  • Meta-analysis quantifying the impact of plant density on canola maturity.

Precision agriculture & Profitability

Precision agriculture

Contact: Jason Casselman

  • Evaluate proximal sensors/imaging techniques for optimization of zone management within a field to increase nutrient use efficiency, return on investment, and to reduce nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions in precision fertilizer management practices.
  • Optimize one-pass seeding systems for canola growers.
  • Analyze yield and return on investment of pod shatter technology.


Contact: Jason Casselman

  • Evaluate of incremental return on investment changes from the adoption of recommended best management practices.

Fertility management

Contact: Warren Ward

  • Identify the combination of 4R practices that have a measurable impact on farm profitability and environmental impact.
    • Quantify the benefits of nitrogen and phosphorus management using enhanced efficiency products, placement methods, appropriate rates, and timing of applications to optimize yields while reducing the impact on water and air quality.
    • What value can be placed on these 4R process improvements, at the farm level and on the environment?
  • Evaluate soil test results and lab recommendations for modern hybrid canola production on long term zero-till fields. Are the established recommendation models valid for current canola production?
  • Update the impact of abundant phosphorus and potassium nutrients (building soil phosphorous and potassium) on canola yield. 
  • Evaluate the need for increased micronutrients with higher yield targets.
  • New elemental sulphur products: Assess Prairie sulphate release over time from new product formulations.
  • Evaluate alternative methods of soil sampling and analysis that lead to efficient and accurate analysis.
  • Field and modelling exercises to evaluate soil carbon sequestration: what role can canola systems play in storing carbon in soil?
  • Understand the canola microbiome; what impact do agronomic management factors have on it?
  • What is the impact on soil health of frequent canola rotations?
  • Evaluate the effect of acidification of soils and incidence of manganese toxicity based on different soil properties.
  • Investigate fertility management options to improve yield stability under a changing climate.
  • Manage fertility for oil and fatty acid seed concentration for modern canola hybrids.
  • Evaluate nutrient based product claims: investigating the relationships between fertility and disease, and under what conditions will additive fertilizer products provide an economic benefit?


Agronomic research and innovation questions

Angela Brackenreed
Agronomy Specialist
(204) 720-6923

Research program administration

Angela Brackenreed
Research lead
(204) 720-6923

Ellen McNabb
CAP and CARP Administrator
(204) 982-2110