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: Warren Ward

  • Evaluation and identification of alternative management tactics and tools for major canola pests (ex. RNAi, genetic resistance, non-neonicotinoid treatments, enhancement of beneficial insects, etc.)
  • Investigate the role of buffer strips in mitigating nutrient and pesticide runoff
  • Crop modelling to determine the impact of climate change and landscape modification on canola yield
  • Investigate nutrient and pesticide loads in tile-drained effluent
  • Also see insect pest priorities
  • Integrated pest management

Integrated Pest Management

Insect pests

Contact: Keith Gabert

  • Re-assess pest control thresholds 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: Ian Epp

  • Investigate and identify novel integrated weed management techniques for enhanced and diversified weed control methods
  • Understanding of the socio-economic factors impacting on-farm agronomic decision making
  • Modelling to determine weed species that will become more or less weedy and invasive in a changing climate
  • Determine modern hybrid canola’s “Critical Period of Weed Control” under a range of plant densities and abiotic factors

Sclerotinia stem rot

Contact: Clint Jurke

  • Improve sclerotinia stem rot forecasting. Evaluate the efficacy of forecasting tools and incorporate into the “Sclerotinia Checklist” (sclerotinia-control decision making matrix)
  • Investigate fungicide sensitivity to S. sclerotiorum to identify potential resistance development
  • Meta-analysis to determine phenology and biotic factors leading to high levels of sclerotinia infection


Contact: Autumn Barnes

  • Further understand the host – clubroot pathogen relationship
  • Development of reliable screening techniques to assess the durability of new forms of clubroot cultivar resistance
  • Identify and categorize new and existing clubroot pathotypes
  • Development and identification of new clubroot resistance sources
  • Also see liming priorities


Contact: Justine Cornelsen

  • Improve understanding of the blackleg resistance interaction with ascospores and pycnidiospores and how this impacts major and quantitative cultivar resistance
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of commercial blackleg resistance sources
  • Identification of novel blackleg resistance genes
  • Identify and evaluate blackleg management techniques and tools in tight canola rotations
  • Use of novel, non-GMO approaches, to integrate blackleg resistance genes into B. napus

Verticillium stripe

Contact: Justine Cornelsen

  • Identify and evaluate control options for V. longisporum
  • Determine environmental conditions conducive to V. longisporum infection and development on canola


Contact: Keith Gabert

  • Understand the effect of free calcium versus pH in managing clubroot with pH adjustment
  • Evaluate pH amendment products, pH targets for agronomic enhancement versus clubroot suppression, and physical incorporation strategies that include zero till
  • Evaluate the impact of liming across crops, including an economic analysis across the rotation

Harvest & storage management


Contact: Shawn Senko

  • Development of an industry standard for rating and evaluation of varietal pod drop and pod shatter
  • Determine swathed versus straight cut timing to “harvest maturity”
  • Evaluate frost and pod damage impact on shatter tolerant canola
  • Measure combine performance and losses using auto drive features
  • Improve upon and test combine loss and yield sensor technology


Contact: Nathaniel Ort

  • Improve understanding of canola respiration/sweating in storage and the influence of various factors (ex. preharvest and harvest methods, oil content, dockage, etc.)
  • Determine the impact of storability from elevated dockage and insect parts, green seed and immature seed
  • Evaluation of conditioning/drying technologies and methods (ex. Horizontal airflow, supplemental heat) and fan control strategies
  • Development of best management practices for storage of canola in large bins (10-25,000+ bushels)
  • Validate/update canola’s equilibrium moisture content (EMC) with modern hybrids of relevant oil content

Plant establishment

Contact: Shawn Senko

  • Understand and quantify biological factors impacting non-germination and non-emergence
  • Investigate genetic factors conferring greater early season vigour and higher germination and/or emergence potential
  • Field evaluation of seed placement and uniformity across seeding implements, soil types and environmental conditions
  • Meta-analysis to quantify the impact of plant density on canola maturity

Fertility management

Contact: Warren Ward

  • Investigate “Soil Health” tests and their usefulness and validity for canola production
  • Investigate nutrient sensors/proximal sensors and their ability to accurately predict nutrient availability
  • Evaluate 4R nutrient stewardship under modern farming practices
  • Evaluate the need for increased micronutrients for high yielding canola
  • Evaluate the impact of high soil reserves of phosphorous and potassium on canola yield
  • Also see liming priorities


Agronomic research and innovation questions

Nathaniel Ort
Agronomy Specialist
(204) 720-6923

Research program administration

Nathaniel Ort
CARP contact
(204) 720-6923

Ellen McNabb
CAP Research Administrator
(204) 982-2110