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

  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Evaluate the role of canola’s microbiome in carbon sequestration.

Integrated pest management

Insect pests

Contact: Keith Gabert

  • Evaluate and identify alternative management tactics and tools for major canola pests.
  • Technology and strategies to reduce off-target impacts of foliar insecticides and improve their efficacy.
  • Insect pest monitoring and surveillance.


Contact: Shawn Senko

  • 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.
Sclerotinia stem rot

Contact: Chris Manchur

  • 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.
  • Evaluate and improve epidemiological models for forecasting sclerotinia stem rot outbreaks and improve risks models based on real time data.
  • Development of rapid in-field S. sclerotiorum presence testing.
  • Measure new fungicides and other sclerotinia management products for placement on a comprehensive universal sclerotinia control scale/label.
  • Optimize foliar fungicide efficacy for control of sclerotinia stem rot. Evaluate economic threshold of application.

Contact: Marissa Robitaille

  • Develop a plan to maintain the utility of clubroot resistance in the long term.
  • Understand the genetics of resistance and develop durable resistance sources.
  • Identify new methods to decrease P. brassicae spore/inoculum loads in the soil and develop methods to maintain canola productivity in face of clubroot.
  • Improvements to producing, purifying, and distributing P. brassicae single spore isolates.
  • Improved methods of early detection, sampling, and identification of P. brassicae specific pathotypes in a field.

Contact: Clint Jurke

  • Testing the effectiveness of resistant varieties post-registration across the prairies.
  • Exploration of novel resistance genes in B genome and resistance genomes.
  • Evaluation of novel techniques and technologies to effectively manage blackleg in a typical canola rotation.
  • Using novel technologies that transfer resistance genes from B or resistance genome efficiently into B. napus canola without relying on conventional GMO approaches.
  • Quantifying the impact of crop rotation and crop species on inoculum pressure and disease severity.
Verticillium stripe

Contact: Courtney Boyachek

  • Standardized protocol for molecular diagnostics of V. longisporum.
  • Cultural controls for effective management of V. longisporum.

Contact: Keith Gabert

  • Evaluate the impact of pH stratification and/or acid soils on crop production.
  • Technology for pH amendment in zero till production systems.

Harvest & Storage management

Harvest management

Contact: Shawn Senko

  • Improve upon and test combine loss and yield sensor technology.


Contact: Courtney Boyachek

  • Development of best management practices for storage of canola in large bins (>10,000 bushel).
  • Evaluation of alternative conditioning and drying methods/technologies and fan control systems for reduced energy requirements.
  • Malathion breakdown and uptake by canola seeds in storage.
  • Impact of seed respiration, elevated dockage, green seed, and immature seed on storability.

Plant Establishment

Plant establishment

Contact: Jason Casselman

  • Investigate and quantify agronomic and management factors impacting canola germination and yield potential (ex. harrowing and micro-tillage operations).
  • Understand and quantify soil microbiological factors that impact B. napus germination and emergence.

Precision Agriculture and Profitability

Precision agriculture

Contact: Jason Casselman

  • One-pass seeding system optimization and design.
  • Survey and understanding of commercial precision agricultural tools available to producers to make better predictions of weather and pest impacts.
  • Feasibility of polarimetric LiDAR and Landsat data to provide crop growth information to aid in growing season decision making.
  • Evaluation of technology and tools to reduce reliance on foliar pesticides while improving productivity.
  • Feasibility of managing field variability through big data, algorithms, and climate / weather prediction models.


Contact: Jason Casselman

  • Regional assessment and comparison on canola profitability.
  • Reassess the “5% Rule” for canola production.
  • Evaluation on incremental ROI from recommended agronomic practices.
  • Strategies to improve profitability with increased production costs.

Crop Nutrition and Fertility Management

Contact: Warren Ward

  • Quantify the opportunities for improved yield with enhanced efficiency fertilizer sources.
  • Quantify societal, environmental, and on-farm economics of 4R management adoption.
  • Update the impact of background P2O5 and Potassium levels on canola yield. 
  • Investigate nutrient management opportunities to improve yield stability with a changing climate.
  • Evaluate the need for / role of micronutrients in very high-yielding canola.
  • Assessment of sulphate release over time from new elemental sulphur formulations.
  • Evaluate validity of current fertility recommendation models for hybrid canola under long-term zero till production.
  • Evaluate alternative methods of soil sampling and analysis that lead to efficient and accurate analysis.
  • Evaluate utility of proximal sensors/ imaging techniques for nutrient availability predictions and improved precision fertilization.
  • Evaluate and optimize biological nitrogen fixation regime in canola.
  • Evaluate the impact of frequent canola rotations on soil health.
  • Evaluate the effect of acidification of soils and incidence of Mn toxicity based on different soil properties.
  • Quantify production impacts on soil organic matter depletion and accumulation.


Agronomic research and innovation questions

Research program administration

Chris Manchur
Agronomy Specialist
(204) 647-2010

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

Please contact the Agronomy Specialist listed for each lead area for questions specific to that area, and general agronomic research and innovation questions to:

Chris Manchur
Agronomy Specialist
Canola Council of Canada
(204) 647-2010


Ellen McNabb
Research Administrator
Canola Council of Canada
(204) 982-2110