Previously Funded Research

Research progress through major funding partnerships

For decades, the canola value chain has worked together to advance research that helps improve canola yields, production efficiency and value.

Through Growing Forward 1 (2009-2013) and Growing Forward 2 (2013-2018), the canola industry partnered with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to fund nearly $50 million worth of research in three major program areas – the Canadian AgriScience Clusters, Developing Innovative Agri-Products and Agri-Science Programs.

Since 1985, the Canola Agronomic Research Program (CARP) has supported canola agronomic research focused on increasing yield and profitability, reducing production risk and enhancing sustainability with effective technology transfer. CARP is funded by the three provincial canola grower organizations – Alberta Canola, SaskCanola and the Manitoba Canola Growers — and is administered by the Canola Council of Canada.

Click on the headings below to see research projects funded by these programs. For full details and results of these and other studies, visit the Canola Research Hub (agronomy research), Canolamazing Research Library (meal research) and Canola Oil Research Directory.

Growing Forward 1 (2009-2013)

Canola/Flax Agriscience Cluster

Theme 1: Oil nutrition

1.1.1 Canola oil multi-centre intervention trial (COMIT)

Objective: To examine how the consumption of different dietary oils affects a broad range of metabolic responses that are important in the development of cardiovascular diseases. This study will examine the relationship between dietary oil consumption and arterial function, blood fat content, and blood markers of cardiovascular disease risk. Additionally, the efficiency of the body in converting fat from dietary oils into other specific fat compounds with known health benefits will be examined. Also, the correlation between psychosocial parameters and vascular function will be studied.

Research Team: Dr. Peter Jones (University of Manitoba) – Principal Investigator; Dr. David Jenkins (University of Toronto); Dr. Benoît Lamarche (Laval University); Drs. Penny-Kris-Etherton and Sheila West (Penn State)

1.2.1. Effect of canola oil as part of a low glycemic load diet on glucose control and coronary heart disease risk factors in type 2 diabetes

Objective: Large observational studies have shown cereal fiber and low glycemic load diets to protect from diabetes and heart disease. The use of low glycemic load diets containing healthy fats (i.e. canola oil) and low glycemic index foods still remains to be established. This research aims to build on these earlier findings by establishing canola oil as an effective means to lower the glycemic load of the diet and establish its health benefits.

Research Team: Drs. David Jenkins and Cyril Kendall (University of Toronto)

1.2.2 Effects of canola oil fatty acid composition on insulin resistance and obesity

Objective: The objective of this research is to investigate the effects of canola oil and its fatty acid composition for prevention and treatment of insulin resistance, inflammation and obesity using a rodent model of diet-induced obesity. This research will fill an important gap in knowledge regarding the effects of canola oil for the prevention and management of insulin resistance, inflammation and obesity.

Research Team: Drs. Carla Taylor and Peter Zahradka (Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine)

1.2.3 Effects of canola oil on blood vessel function in peripheral arterial disease (PA)

Objective: Several types of studies indicate that dietary fatty acid composition modulates blood vessel function, but there have been no studies focussing on canola oil. The objective of this study is to assess the effects of canola oil consumption on blood vessel function in both acute and chronic (8 week) studies with healthy participants and individuals with PAD.

Research Team: Drs. Carla Taylor and Peter Zahradka (Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine)

Theme 2: Meal nutrition

2.1.1 Maximize use of canola meal in high value dairy feeds

Objective: This is a multi-institution co-ordinated series of studies looking at protein, amino acid and energy metabolism influencing milk production and composition. The end objective is to provide information about canola meal amino acid utilization by dairy cows to feed industry nutritionists so that it can be accurately formulated into dairy cow diets.

Research Team: Dr. Tim Mutsvangwa (University of Saskatchewan); Dr. Ed DePeters (University of California Davis); Dr. David Schingoethe (South Dakota State University); Dr. Lou Armentano (University of Wisconsin); Dr. Hélène Lapierre (AAFC Sherbrooke)

2.2.1 High inclusion levels of regular and high energy canola meal in animal feeds

Objective: The objective of this research is to fully investigate the practical feeding of canola juncea meal. Some aspects of this evaluation include: high inclusion levels in swine and poultry diets, enzyme work in poultry diets, and ensuring that canola juncea meal still meets the nutritional needs for ruminants despite the lower fibre content.

Research Team: Drs. Ruurd Zjilstra and Eduardo Beltranena (University of Alberta); Drs. Bogdan Slominski and Martin Nyachoti (University of Manitoba); Dr. Derek Anderson, (Nova Scotia Agricultural College); Dr. Tim McAllister (AAFC Lethbridge)

2.2.2 Improving carbohydrate composition of canola meal to increase energy content

Objective: To determine what the important energy yielding and energy detracting carbohydrate components of canola meal are with the objective of providing information to canola breeders to develop high energy canola varieties.

Research Team: Dr. Gerhard Rakow (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Bogdan Slominski (University of Manitoba)

Theme 3: Crop establishment

3.1.1 Management practices for optimum canola emergence

Objective: To determine critical seeding factors that affect canola stand establishment.

Research Team: Dr. Bob Blackshaw (AAFC Lethbridge) – Principal Investigator; Drs. Mike Bevans, Blanie Metzger and Lawrence Papworth (AGTech Centre, Lethbridge); Dr. Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe); Dr. Eric Johnson (AAFC Scott); Dr. Randy Kutcher (AAFC Melfort); Dr. Byron Irvine (AAFC Brandon); CCC Agronomy Specialists

3.1.2 Impact of management and environment on canola establishment based on survey data

Objectives: To conduct a field survey of randomly selected canola fields to provide a complete and unbiased assessment of crop stands in the Prairie Provinces, a first for this type of critical assessment. To determine the impact of the environment, management and weeds on crop establishment.

Research Team: Julia Leeson (AAFC Saskatoon) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Christoph Neeser (AARD Brooks)

3.1.3 Enhancing canola emergence with innovative stubble management practices and use of crop establishment aids

Objective: To enhance canola establishment by manipulating stubble height and use of companion crops to assist with canola emergence from a deeper depth.

Research Team: Dr. Aaron Glen (AAFC Brandon) – Principal Investigator; Drs. William May and Guy Lafond (AAFC Indian Head); Dr. Herb Cutforth (AAFC Swift Current); Dr. Paul Bullock (University of Manitoba); Dr. Chris Holzapfel (Agriculture Research Foundation, Indian Head)

3.1.4 Improving canola establishment and uniformity across various soil-climatic zones of Western Canada

Objective: To determine the effect of various degrees of uniformity in plant stand on crop development, seed yield and quality of canola in various soil-climatic zones, and to evaluate the effect of seed vigour and straw management options on establishment and crop yield.

Research Team: Dr. Yantai Gan (AAFC Swift Current) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Randy Kutcher (AAFC Melfort); Dr. Eric Johnson (AAFC Scott); Drs. Bill May and Guy Lafond (AAFC Indian Head); Dr. Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe); Dr. Byron Irvine (AAFC Brandon); Dr. Rob Gulden (University of Manitoba)

3.1.5 Farm gate investigation of best management practices in canola establishment and production systems

Objective: To conduct a comprehensive farm gate investigation of the best management practices producers have been using in canola production across the major canola production zones of Western Canada.

Research Team: Dr. Yantai Gan (AAFC Swift Current) – Principal Investigator

3.1.6 Factors influencing canola emergence

Objective: To determine the impact of seeding speed, seeding depth and canola seed type on canola emergence.

Research Team: Dr. Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Bob Blackshaw (AAFC Lethbridge); Dr. Eric Johnson (AAFC Scott); Drs. Bill May and Guy Lafond (AAFC Indian Head); Dr. Elwin Smith (AAFC Lethbridge)

Theme 4: Crop nutrition

3.2.1 Improving nutrient management in canola and canola-based cropping systems

Objectives: To improve the safety and effectiveness of seed-placed N, P and S by evaluating seedling damage, crop yield, and quality as affected by varying sources of conventional and enhanced efficiency fertilizers applied alone and in blends across a range of environments. To determine the effect of the preceding crop (flax, wheat or canola) on yield, nutrient response, and soil quality parameters (aggregation, microbial activity, penetration resistance) in the following canola or wheat crop. To determine the effect of various methods of S fertilizer management on quantity and quality of canola for biodiesel production.

Research Team: Dr. Cynthia Grant (AAFC Brandon) – Principal Investigator; Drs. Jeff Schoenau and Fran Walley (University of Saskatchewan); Drs. Jean Lafond and Denis Pageau (AAFC Normandin); Dr. Sukhdev Malhi (AAFC Melfort); Dr. Brian Beres (AAFC Lethbridge); Dr. Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe); Dr. John Heard (MAFRI); Dr. Don Flaten (University of Manitoba); Dr. Tarlok Sahota (Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Center)

3.2.2 Enhancing nitrogen management for canola production: addressing field, spatial and temporal variability with in-crop variable rate applications of nitrogen fertilizer

Objectives: To validate the refining N rate choices in canola using the delta-yield approach of Kachanoski (University of Alberta) for specific fields. To validate in-crop, variable rate applications of N using optical sensors in canola over a wide geographical area using on-farm field trials. To determine the implications of the repeated use of optical sensors over the same area relative to the current methods of N rate determinations on overall performance and risk management using detailed small plot research trials.

Research Team: Dr. Guy Lafond (AAFC Indian Head) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Byron Irvine (AAFC Brandon; Dr. Chris Holzapfel (Agriculture Research Foundation, Indian Head); Miles Dyck (University of Alberta) 

3.2.3 Nitrogen dynamics

Objective: To determine fertilization and crop production practices that would reduce greenhouse gas (nitrous oxide) emissions while simultaneously attaining canola with high yield and quality.

Research Team: Dr. Bob Blackshaw (AAFC Lethbridge) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Xiying Hao (AAFC Lethbridge); Drs. Neil Harker and John O’Donovan (AAFC Lacombe); Dr. Eric Johnson (AAFC Scott); Dr. Randy Kutcher (AAFC Melfort)

3.2.4 Phosphorous fertilizer and canola oil analyses

Objective: To determine best application rates, timings, and formulations of phosphorus fertilizer for high quality canola oil production. With the recent increase in phosphorous prices, farmers are tempted to cut back on rates and depend on soil reserves to produce the canola crop. A better understanding of the implication of phosphorous management on canola yield and quality is needed.

Research Team: Dr. Cynthia Grant (AAFC Brandon) – Principal Investigator

Theme 5: Crop protection

3.3.1 Facilitating the delivery of practical sclerotinia stem rot risk forecasts based on improved assessment of canola petal infestation

Objectives: To develop a rapid method of pathogen detection on flower petals and relate this to field incidence of sclerotinia and weather/crop modelling. To collaborate with private seed testing labs with Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) capabilities, universities, industry and provincial staff to deploy a commercially available test related to sclerotinia stem rot risk forecasts.

Research Team: Dr. Kelly Turkington (AAFC Lacombe) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Stephen Strelkov (University of Alberta); Dr. Gary Peng (AAFC Melfort); Dr. Bruce Gossen (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Debbie McLaren (AAFC Brandon); Dr. Khalid Rashid (AAFC Morden); Dr. Faye Dokken (SAF Regina); Dr. David Kaminski (MAFRI Carman); Dr. Jim Broatch (AARD Lacombe); Derwyn Hammond (CCC, Brandon)

3.3. Weather-based assessment of sclerotinia stem rot risk

Objective: To quantify the influence of fundamental weather factors on sclerotinia severity and correlate these factors to pathogen incidence in order to develop weather-based assessments of sclerotinia stem rot disease risk. Ultimately, the goal is improved efficiency and efficacy of disease control methods while enhancing the predictability of the disease forecast model.

Research Team: Dr. Paul Bullock (University of Manitoba) – Principal Investigator; Andy Nadler (MAFRI, Carman) 

3.3.3 Defining populations of the L. maculans pathogen in test sites used for canola blackleg resistance trials

Objectives: To develop a tool for defining populations of the Leptosphaeria maculans pathogen at canola blackleg-resistance trial sites. To develop a set of single blackleg-resistance-gene substitution lines for B. napus canola. To evaluate the effectiveness of these lines for monitoring blackleg populations in the field and for testing L. maculans isolates in the laboratory.

Research Team: Dr. Hossein Borhan (AAFC Saskatoon) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Fengqun Yu (AAFC Saskatoon)

Theme 6: Crop protection

3.4.1 Evaluation of on-farm harvest losses in canola across Western Canada

Objective: To quantify on-farm canola yield losses and to understand the contributing factors.

Research Team: Dr. Robert Gulden (University of Manitoba) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe); Dr. Steve Shirtliffe (University of Saskatchewan); Dr. Linda Hall (University of Alberta)

3.4.2 Developing methods to estimate pod drop and pod shatter in canola

Objective: To develop a quantitative or semi-quantitative method for easy and reliable estimation of pod drop and pod shatter in a maturing canola stand.

Research Team: Robert Gulden (University of Manitoba) – Principal Investigator

Theme 7: Storage management

3.5.1 Storage and handling characteristics of new varieties of high oil content canola

Objective: To develop safe storage guidelines for high oil content canola cultivars. This project will help to store the new high oil content canola varieties in a safe and efficient manner, preventing spoilage.

Research Team: Dr. Digvir Jayas (University of Manitoba) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Noel White (AAFC Winnipeg); Dr. Fuji Jian and Chelladurai Vellaichamy (University of Manitoba)

3.5.2 Feasibility of bag storage system for canola under prairie conditions

Objective: To quantify the changes in seed quality of canola during bag storage. This study will give detailed information about the feasibility of using harvest bags to store canola in the prairie regions, examining both high and lower oil content varieties.

Research Team: Dr. Digvir Jayas (University of Manitoba) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Noel White (AAFC Winnipeg); Dr. Fuji Jian and Chelladurai Vellaichamy (University of Manitoba)

Theme 8: Integrated crop management

3.6.1 Integrated crop management systems for wild oat control

Objective: To determine innovative agronomic practices for superior wild oat control in field crops in Canada.

Research Team: Dr. Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe) – Principal Investigator; Drs. Kelly Turkington and Vern Baron (AAFC Lacombe); Drs. Bob Blackshaw, Newton Lupwayi and Elwin Smith (AAFC Lethbridge); Dr. Eric Johnson (AAFC Scott); Dr. Denis Pageau (AAFC Normandin); Dr. Linda Hall (University of Alberta); Dr. Steve Shirtliffe (University of Saskatchewan); Dr. Rob Gulden (University of Manitoba); Dr. John Rowsell (University of Guelph)

3.6.2 Improved integrated crop management with beneficial insects

Objective: To determine aspects of the biology of Diadegma insulare in canola in Western Canada with a focus on its role as a parasitoid for diamondback moth. The information gained will be utilized to train agronomists and farmers to monitor and sample crops for this insect and so reduce insecticide use where possible.

Research Team: Dr. Lloyd Dosdall (University of Alberta) – Principal Investigator; Drs. Owen Olfert and Julie Soroka (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe)

3.6.3 Input study and recovery

Objective: To determine how many years it takes to recover from zero and 50% fertilizer and herbicide inputs.

Research Team: Dr. Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe) – Principal Investigator; Drs. Bob Blackshaw and Elwin Smith (AAFC Lethbridge); Dr. Eric Johnson (AAFC Scott); Dr. Randy Kutcher (AAFC Melfort); Dr. John O’Donovan (AAFC Lacombe)

3.6.4 Legumes before canola

Objective: To determine the agronomic and economic merits of growing legume crops in the year preceding canola to reduce the amount of fertilizer required in canola production.

Research Team: Dr. John O’Donovan (AAFC Lacombe) – Principal Investigator; Drs. Bob Blackshaw, Newton Lupwayi and Elwin Smith (AAFC Lethbridge); Drs. Cynthia Grant and Byron Irvine (AAFC Brandon); Drs. Kelly Turkington and Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe); Dr. Eric Johnson (AAFC Scott); Dr. Randy Kutcher (AAFC Melfort); Drs. Bill May and Guy Lafond (AAFC Indian Head); Dr. Yantai Gan (AAFC Swift Current)

Theme 9: Sustainability

3.7.1 Determining arthropod biodiversity in canola cropping systems as a key to improved sustainability of production

Objective: This project will develop strategic foundation information on the biodiversity of arthropods in canola agro-ecosystems. The ultimate goal is to develop a new database of information on arthropod biodiversity in genetically modified and conventional cropping systems that can assist other realms of canola integrated crop management research for improving sustainability of canola cropping systems.

Research Team: Dr. Lloyd Dosdall (University of Alberta) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Hector Carcamo (AAFC Lethbridge); Dr. John Spence (University of Alberta); Dr. Jim Broatch (AARD Lacombe)

3.7.2 Economic profitability and sustainability of canola production systems in Western Canada

Objective: The objective of the proposed economic analyses is to evaluate canola production systems, primarily at the farm-level, to determine profitability of systems, economic trade-offs within the systems, and associated financial risk. Three studies will include: input study (initiate 2010), frequency of canola in rotation (initiate 2010), and canola emergence (initiate 2011). The analyses will integrate physical production factors with profitability, providing producers and the industry with economic information on which to make better production decisions and increase profitability.

Research Team: Dr. Elwin Smith (AAFC Lethbridge) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Scott Jeffrey (University of Alberta); Dr. Danny LeRoy (University of Lethbridge); Dr. Neil Harker and John O’Donovan (AAFC Lacombe); Dr. Stewart Brandt and Eric Johnson (AAFC Scott); Dr. Bob Blackshaw (AAFC Lethbridge); Dr. Randy Kutcher (AAFC Melfort)

3.7.3 The environmental footprint of canola and canola-based products

Objectives: To determine the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of primary canola production through intensive field measurements and use of survey data of canola production practices and marketing. To calculate the GHG life-cycle of canola seed and key canola based products of canola meal, canola oil, and biodiesel from canola. To develop relative assessments of environmental impact of canola-based products with respect to potentially competing products.

Research Team: Dr. Vern Baron (AAFC Lacombe) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe); Dr. Brian McConkey (AAFC Swift Current); Dr. Reynald Lemke (AAFC Saskatoon)

3.7.4 Evaluation of adaptability and ecological performance of Brassica juncea canola in diverse growing environments

Objective: To evaluate the adaptability of Brassica juncea canola in various environments across Western Canada, ranging from the drier, hotter areas of southwest Saskatchewan and southeast Alberta to more humid, central prairies, and expand to high-yielding areas of south Manitoba.

Research Team: Dr. Yantai Gan (AAFC Swift Current) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Eric Johnson (AAFC Scott); Dr. Cecil Vera (AAFC Melfort); Drs. Bill May and Guy Lafond (AAFC Indian Head); Dr. Bob Blackshaw (AAFC Lethbridge)

3.7.5 Exploring the ecological impact of canola-inclusive cropping systems in Western Canada

Objectives: To identify weed species associated with canola production and determine if shifts in species abundance and community composition have occurred over time in farmer fields. To evaluate the effects of management practices on weed species richness and diversity. To assess the impact of increased rotational frequency of canola on weed community composition and population shifts.

Research Team: Dr. Christian Willenborg (University of Alberta) – Principal Investigator; Julia Leeson (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe); Dr. Bob Blackshaw (AAFC Lethbridge); Dr. Eric Johnson (AAFC Scott)

3.7.6 Consistent and environmentally sound canola production

Objective: To determine best management practices for consistent and environmentally sound production of high-quality canola for the oil and meal markets.

Research Team: Dr. Bob Blackshaw (AAFC Lethbridge) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe); Drs. Hector Carcamo, Newton Lupwayi, Xiying Hao, Elwin Smith and Bernie Hill (AAFC Lethbridge); Drs. John O’Donovan and Kelly Turkington (AAFC Lacombe); Drs. Eric Johnson and Stewart Brandt (AAFC Scott); Dr. Kevin Falk (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Randy Kutcher (AAFC Melfort)

3.7.7 Canola biodiesel sustainability

Objective: To enhance on-going biodiesel studies (ABIP) and conduct more detailed oil profile and biodiesel sample analyses in long-term canola rotation studies.

Research Team: Dr. Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe) – Principal Investigator; Drs. John O’Donovan and Kelly Turkington (AAFC Lacombe); Drs. Bob Blackshaw, Newton Lupwayi and Elwin Smith (AAFC Lethbridge); Dr. Eric Johnson (AAFC Scott); Dr. Byron Irvine (AAFC Brandon); Dr. Yantai Gan (AAFC Swift Current); Dr. Randy Kutcher (AAFC Melfort)

3.7.8 Detection, surveillance and management of weed, insect and disease pests that threaten the economic viability of crop production and the environmental health of prairie agro-ecosystems

Objectives: To develop & implement field surveillance technologies and laboratory assays for weeds, insects and plant diseases. To develop novel forecast & risk assessment technologies. To determine ecological, biological, climatological and crop management relationships that influence pest status. To develop new alternative integrated control and mitigation tactics.

Research Team: Dr. Owen Olfert (AAFC Saskatoon) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Hector Carcamo (AAFC Lethbridge); Dr. Kelly Turkington (AAFC Lacombe); Jennifer Otani (AAFC Beaverlodge); Dr. Bob Elliott, Dr. Julie Soroka, Dr. Chrystel Olivier and Julia Leeson (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Randy Kutcher (AAFC Melfort); Dr. Debbie McLaren (AAFC Brandon)

3.7.9 Top Canola Grower survey

Objective: To measure the impact of the Canola/Flax Agri-Science Cluster research projects and communication efforts on growers’ crop production practices, behaviours and knowledge. The initial assessment will be used as the baseline measure and provide insight into the specific messages that the Canola Council of Canada needs to communicate to canola growers. Follow-up measurement would then determine the extent to which production practices have improved as a result of the Canola Council’s research projects and extension efforts. To establish the production practices that result in top yields and characterize a ‘Top Canola Grower.’

Research Team: Dr. Elwin Smith (AAFC Lethbridge) – Principal Investigator; Dr. Richard Carew (AAFC Summerland)

SaskCanola – Developing Innovative Agri-Products (DIAP)

Activity 1: Development of sclerotinia resistant Brassica napus lines and molecular markers for marker-assisted breeding.

Objectives: The long-term objective is to provide the canola industry with resistance genes and molecular markers linked to resistance for developing stem rot resistant canola. In the short term, the objectives are: (1) To develop molecular markers linked to sclerotinia resistance in new B. napus accessions recently identified in the PGRC collection; (2) To identify genes associated with resistance to sclerotinia stem rot resistance in a Chinese B. napus cultivar (ZhongYou 821); (3) To assess the genetic and pathogenic variation of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum isolates on the Canadian prairies.

Research Team: Drs. Lone Buchwaldt, Dwayne Hegedus and Isobel Parkin (AAFC Saskatoon)

Activity 2: Improving the durability of resistance to blackleg in Brassica napus using the novel LepR4 gene

Objective: The overall objective is to provide canola breeders with canola donor lines containing the LepR4, LepR5 and LepR6 blackleg resistance genes, genetic map locations for each gene and molecular markers linked to each gene for marker-assisted selection in advanced canola breeding material.

Research Team: Dr. Derek Lydiate (AAFC Saskatoon)

Activity 3: Transfer of pod shatter resistance from yellow seeded B. napus and B. juncea to canola

Objective: This study is focusing on the genetic control and field analysis of pod shatter in yellow seeded Brassica napus and Brassica juncea in an attempt to improve shatter resistance in conventional canola.

Research Team: Vicky Roslinsky, Drs. Sally Vail and Kevin Falk (AAFC Saskatoon)

Activity 4: Development of molecular genetic resources for Camelina sativa an alternative oilseed for the Prairies.

Objective: The overall objective of this activity is to provide resources for breeders to expedite the selection process and facilitate the development of Camelina sativa as an alternative oilseed for the bio-products industry and as a viable choice for producers on the Prairies.

Research Team: Drs. Isobel Parkin, Kevin Falk and Richard Gugel (AAFC Saskatoon)

Growing Forward 2 (2013-2018)

Canola Agri-Science Cluster: Partnership for an innovative and competitive industry

Theme 1: Oil nutrition

1.1 Canola oil multi-centre intervention trial (COMIT II)

Objective: To examine the health benefits of dietary canola oils on body composition, specifically on android fat, and weight management. COMIT II will also include analysis of fatty acid ethanolamides (FAEs) to elucidate the mechanisms by which canola oil may be modifying body composition. Measurement of endothelial function, inflammatory, adiposity, and insulin sensitivity biomarkers will be done to determine the positive health impact of the changes in body composition achieved through canola oil consumption.

Research Team: Dr. Peter Jones (University of Manitoba) – Principal Investigator; Dr. David Jenkins (University of Toronto); Dr. Benoît Lamarche( Laval University); Drs. Penny-Kris-Etherton and Sheila West (Penn State): Dr. Todd Rideout (University at Buffalo); Dr. Carla Taylor and Peter Zahradka (Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine)

1.2 Canola oil enriched Mediterranean type weight loss diet in type 2 diabetes

Objective: To assess whether a Mediterranean-type weight-loss diet, enriched with canola oil, high in plant protein and low in carbohydrates will produce blood sugar control, reduce coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors and maximize weight loss, better than conventional higher carbohydrate diets in overweight diabetic patients.

Research Team: Drs. David Jenkins and Cyril Kendall (University of Toronto); Dr. Peter Jones (University of Manitoba); Dr. Benoît Lamarche (Laval University)

Theme 2: Meal nutrition

2.1 Maximizing use of canola meal in dairy diets

Objective: To better understand how the protein and fibre profile of canola meal is utilized by the cow in an effort to understand the mechanism by which dairy cows fed canola meal consistently produce more milk than cows fed other protein sources.

Research Team: Drs. Hélène Lapierre and Daniel Ouellet (AAFC Sherbrooke); Dr. Tim Mutsvangwa (University of Saskatchewan); Drs. Glen Broderick and Antonio Faciola (University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Nevada-Reno); Dr. Kenneth Kalscheur (South Dakota State University); Dr. Peter Robinson (Cloverdale Dairy)

2.2 High inclusion levels of regular and high energy canola meal in monogastric rations

Objective: To address the issues associated with high canola meal feed inclusion levels and to demonstrate that canola meal can effectively be used at very high inclusion levels in swine and poultry feeds.

Research Team: Drs. Ruurd Zjilstra and Eduardo Beltranena (University of Alberta); Drs. Bogdan Slominski and Martin Nyachoti (University of Manitoba)

2.3 Canola meal quality survey

Objective: To characterize nutritional differences in canola meal received from various Canadian crushing plants and determine the impact that these differences on diet formulation for all livestock species. Continued sampling and analysis over a 5 year period will create a strong profile of nutrient composition of products between and with processing facilities. Results of the analysis may determine potential for development or marketability of products with higher value for monogastric or ruminant species.

Research Team: Dr. Bogdan Slominski (University of Manitoba); Drs. Glen Broderick and Antonio Faciola (University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Nevada-Reno)

2.4 Canola meal processing

Objective: To develop and optimize methodology to produce protein- and fiber-enriched fractions from defatted canola meals by using fine milling, air-classification technology in a response-surface model experimental design. Work will be done to characterize the structure and functional properties of thermoplastic protein with the end goal of developing a bioplastic film from protein-enriched canola defatted meal fraction.

Research Team: Dr. Yachaun Zhang (Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals)

Theme 3: Canola health & integrated pest management

3.1 Characterization and development of new resistant sources for sustainable management of clubroot in canola

Objective: The study will investigate resistance mechanisms with selected clubroot resistance (CR) genes based on transcriptional, proteomic, phenotypical, and biochemical analyses, develop segregating populations for mapping of clubroot resistance genes, develop robust markers tightly linked to the CR genes or from the gene it-self for marker-assisted selection (MAS), pyramid different resistance genes for the development of elite canola B. napus lines, and assess clubroot resistance and other agronomic and seed quality traits under varying field conditions.

Research Team: Drs. Gary Peng – Principal Investigator, Sally Vail, Kevin Falk, and Fengqun Yu (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Genyi Li (University of Manitoba); Dr. Habibur Rahman (University of Alberta)

3.2 The host-pathogen interaction of Plasmodiophora brassicae and canola

Objective: This research aims to fully understand the pathogenic and molecular diversity of P. brassicae populations, mechanisms of pathogenicity, infection processes, and the role of primary and secondary pathogen zoospores in disease development. The proposed work will build on the major advances achieved under the Clubroot Risk Mitigation Initiative and related projects, and will provide the information needed to help focus resistance breeding efforts and enable the knowledge-based management of clubroot in canola.

Research Team: Drs. Sheau-Fang Hwang – Principal Investigator (Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development); Dr. Stephen Strelkov (University of Alberta); Drs. Bruce Gossen and Hossein Borhan (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Mary Ruth McDonald (University of Guelph); Dr. Peta Bonham-Smith (University of Saskatchewan)

3.3 Management of clubroot in a dynamic environment

Objective: This research aims to continue to provide the tools and information necessary to successfully manage clubroot in Western Canada, by answering a number of important questions: (1) can soil fumigants be used economically and effectively to eradicate localized clubroot infestations, thereby slowing disease spread and preventing clubroot establishment in new areas; (2) what impact will cropping rotations that include clubroot-resistant canola cultivars have on pathogen population dynamics in the soil and the subsequent impact on yield; and (3) what are the optimal practical strategies for disinfesting agricultural and industrial equipment that has been contaminated with clubroot-infected plant material and/or soil containing spores.

Research Team: Drs. Sheau-Fang Hwang – Principal Investigator, Ron Howard, Mike Harding (Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development); Dr. Stephen Strelkov (University of Alberta); Drs. Bruce Gossen and Gary Peng (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Mary Ruth McDonald (University of Guelph); Denis Pageau (AAFC Normandin)

3.4 Clubroot surveillance and epidemiology: staying ahead of an important canola issue

Objective: This research aims to provide the canola industry with up to date information on clubroot prevalence and spread in the prairie region. This information will help to evaluate the rates of pathogen dissemination and will help to guide management approaches. Critical information on pathotype composition and the performance of clubroot-resistant varieties will also be made available and will help in resistance breeding and stewardship efforts.

Research Team: Dr. Stephen Strelkov – Principal Investigator (University of Alberta); Drs. Sheau-Fang Hwang and Mike Harding (Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development); Dr. Bruce Gossen, (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Debra McLaren (AAFC Brandon); (Dr. Kelly Turkington (AAFC Lacombe)

3.5 Aster yellows and Swede midge – new threats to prairie canola production

Objectives: The objectives of this project are to determine the extent of infestation, evaluate the yield losses, develop economic thresholds and forecast warnings, and identify resistant canola lines for two canola pests increasing in severity on the prairies – aster yellows and Swede midge. The project will generate knowledge of factors influencing biology of the pests in canola, provide the canola industry with means of assessing the economic impact, appropriate management strategies, and tools for forecast potential yield losses, and help to develop or identify aster yellows-resistant cultivars in collaboration with breeders.

Research Team: Drs. Chrystel Olivier – Principal Investigator, Julie Soroka and Owen Olfert (AAFC Saskatoon); Scott Hartley (Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture); Scott Meers (Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development); Dr. Rebecca H. Hallett (University of Guelph); Dr. John Gavloski (Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development); Jennifer Otani (AAFC Beaverlodge)

3.6 Development of pest management decision-making protocols for the Swede midge in canola

Objectives: This research will contribute to the development of effective integrated pest management practices for Swede midge in canola through the following specific objectives: (1) to evaluate insecticide efficacy and timing of insecticide applications for reducing Swede midge damage in spring canola; (2) to evaluate the use of pheromone-based action thresholds in determining the timing of insecticide applications against the Swede midge; (3) to develop decision-making protocols for the timing of insecticide applications against the Swede midge, based on crop stage and/or pheromone-based action thresholds.

Research Team: Dr. Rebecca H. Hallett – Principal Investigator (University of Guelph); Julie Soroka (AAFC Saskatoon)

3.7 Improved integrated crop management with beneficial insects

Objectives: This study will determine the extent of the biological control complex on diamondback moth on the prairies. Other goals include conducting phylogenetic analysis of diamondback moths collected from different prairie locations and from source areas to determine if overwintering is occurring in Canada; clarifying cues used by D. insulare and diamondback moth in host-seeking and host acceptance; and developing climate models to predict the responses of both insects to irregular patterns of global climatic change. A Dymex model will be developed to predict the responses of both insects to irregular patterns of global climatic change.

Research Team: Drs. Julie Soroka and Owen Olfert (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Lloyd Dosdall (University of Alberta)

Theme 4: Canola yield & quality optimization

4.1 Seed size and seeding rate effects on canola yield and quality

Objectives: This study will investigate the influence of seed size on seedling emergence proportion, and canola yield and quality. This study will further investigate influence of seed size on seeding rate as well as size x rate interactions on seedling emergence and canola yield and quality. The results of this research will provide canola growers with knowledge that will assist them in making seeding rate decisions related to maintaining yield under stressful abiotic (drought, frost, flooding, hail, etc.) and biotic (weeds, insects, disease) conditions common in Western Canada.

Research Team: Drs. K. Neil Harker – Principal Investigator and John O’Donovan (AAFC Lacombe); Dr. Gary Peng (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Kabal Gill (Smoky Applied Research & Demonstration Association); Dr. Chris Willenborg (University of Saskatchewan); Dr. Rob Gulden (University of Manitoba); Drs. Robert Blackshaw and Elwin Smith (AAFC Lethbridge); Dr. Eric Johnson (AAFC Scott); Dr. Ramona Mohr (AAFC Brandon); Dr. Gary Peng (AAFC Melfort)

4.3 Variable N fertility management of canola at the field scale, based on analysis of yield maps and spatial and statistical variability of soil test N and P

Objectives: This study will investigate:

(i) Whether the variable rate N management based on management zones derived from a temporal series of yield maps increase canola yield in areas with consistently high production and low variability;

(ii) Economic return and efficiency of fertilizer use from variable rate management of N;

(iii) Relationship between the spatial and statistical variability of canola yield and soil test N and P at the field scale;

(iv) Variability related to current soil test recommendations; and

(v) Digital elevation, landform and remote sensing data correlated with canola yield.

Research Team: Drs. Alan Moulin, Principal Investigator and Mohammad Khakbazan (AAFC Brandon); Rejean Picard (Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives); Steve Sager (AAFC Morden); Don Cruickshank (Deerwood Soil and Water Management Association); Ken Coles (Farming Smarter); Dr. Stu Brandt (Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation)

4.4 Investigating tolerance of canola genotypes to heat and drought stresses, and root traits estimation by electrical capacitance

Objectives: This study aims (i) to develop an electrical capacitance method for estimating canola root traits and root phenotyping, (ii) to assess the relationships between capacitance-estimated root traits and canola yield and seed quality traits, (iii) to identify critical period of canola genotypes sensitive to heat stress and the critical temperatures causing flower abortion, and (iv) to identify usable traits for selection of canola genotypes with better tolerance to heat and drought stresses.

Research Team: Dr. Bao-Luo Ma – Principal Investigator (AAFC-ECORC); Dr. Rob Duncan (University of Manitoba)

4.7 Feasibility of bag storage system for canola storage system for canola storage under Prairie conditions (Extension GF1-3.5.2)

Objective: This study is a continuation from Growing Forward 1 and will develop guidelines and recommendations of canola storage inside silo bags under Western Canadian prairie conditions.

Research Team: Drs. Digvir Jayas – Principal Investigator and Fuji Jian (University of Manitoba); Dr. Noel White (AAFC Winnipeg)

4.8 On-farm canola storage in large bins

Objective: The primary objective of this project is to determine whether existing recommendations for safe canola storage developed 20-30 years ago are still the same when the average bin size in the prairies has increased to 25,000 bu. The project will consider the effect of peaked vs. level grain in the bins as an initial phase.

Research Team: Lorne Grieger (Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute)

Theme 5: Integrated crop management & sustainability of canola production

5.1 Canola sustainability – risk mitigation

Objective: This research will determine if some new strategies can maintain the lower yield plateau or even reverse the yield decline consistently observed in continuous canola. Practices that may mitigate or even reverse yield decline in continuous canola include: extra nitrogen as ESN, higher seeding rates, enhanced seed treatments, chaff removal to remove autoallelopathy threat, and specific combinations of those treatments.

Research Team: Drs. K. Neil Harker – Principal Investigator and John O’Donovan (AAFC Lacombe); Drs. Robert Blackshaw, Elwin Smith and Newton Lupwayi (AAFC Lethbridge); Dr. Ramona Mohr (AAFC Brandon); Dr. Kelly Turkington (AAFC Lacombe)

5.2 Canola rotation studies – canola, cereal (corn), soy (oilseed)

Objectives: The objectives of this study are to define the effect of canola on other crops (wheat/corn/soybean) in the rotation and the effects of those crops on canola performance across Eastern Canada, to calculate the economic benefit of growing canola as well as nutrient utilization efficiency and carbon footprints in different cropping systems through the collection of soil, crop growth, yield and tissue N concentration data, to investigate major diseases and insects of canola production in different cropping systems, and to identify and establish a sustainable cropping system for canola production in Eastern Canada.

Research Team: Dr. Claude Caldwell – Principal Investigator and Doug McDonald (Dalhousie University); Dr. Donald Smith (McGill University); Drs. Bao-Luo Ma and Peter Masson (AAFC-ECORC)

5.4 The environmental footprint of canola and canola-based products (extension of GF1-3.7.3)

Objectives: This project has two components: 1. Life cycle assessment of “on farm” canola production as affected by management change. 2. Determination of an “on farm” carbon footprint for canola in a high yield and input region (Lacombe, AB).

Research Team: Drs. Vern Baron – Principal Investigator, Neil Harker and John O’Donovan (AAFC Lacombe); Brian McConkey (AAFC Swift Current); AAFC Indian Head (Drs. Reynald Lemke and Guy Lafond)

5.5 Economic profitability and sustainability of canola project (extension of GF1-3.7.2)

Objective: The objective of this study is to assess the degree to which environmental stewardship activities (e.g., adoption of BMPs) affects efficiency of canola production in Western Canada.

Research Team: Dr. Scott Jeffrey – Principal Investigator (University of Alberta); Dr. Elwin Smith (AAFC Lethbridge)

Theme 6: Canola supply surveillance & forecasting

6.1 Operational models to forecast canola growth stage, sclerotinia risk, and yield in Western Canada

Objectives: This study (1) will develop and validate a canola phenology model to identify and forecast key development stages of the crop, (2) a weather-based sclerotinia stem rot (SSR) risk model to aid producers with fungicide treatment decisions and (3) a yield model to forecast canola production at local and regional scales.

Research Team: Dr. Rishi Burlakoti – Principal Investigator and Andy Nadler (Weather INnovations); Dr. Paul Bullock (University of Manitoba); Dr. Kelly Turkington (AAFC Lacombe); Dr. Aston Chipanshi (AAFC Regina); Dr. Nathaniel Newlands (AAFC Lethbridge)

Theme 7: Science cluster tech transfer

Theme 7: Science cluster tech transfer [click to open accordion]

7.1 Canola Research Hub: Top Science for the Bottom Line

Barb Chabih (Canola Council of Canada)

AIP-P032 Canola disease management tools for the prairies – blackleg and sclerotinia [click to open accordion]

Activity 2: Improving canola resistance against blackleg disease through incorporation of novel resistance genes sourced from B. napus, B. rapa and B. oleracea

Objective: To identify new major resistance genes for blackleg disease through the phenotypic screening of 500 accessions of Brassica napus, B. rapa and B. oleracea with a differential set of Leptosphaeria maculans isolates.

Principal Investigator: Dr. M. Hossein Borhan (AAFC Saskatoon)

Activity 3: Identifying novel resistance genes from canola relatives and developing canola germplasm with multiple resistance genes sourced from B. nigra, B. juncea, and B. carinata

Objectives: To use cloned blackleg resistance genes (1) to identify the effective resistance genes, (2) to monitor the changing of pathogen isolates in canola fields, (3) to guide pyramiding effective resistance genes in the development of canola cultivars, (4) to guide the deployment of canola cultivars with various blackleg resistance genes; and (5) to identify novel blackleg resistance genes in canola relative species.

Principal Investigators: Drs. Genyi Li and Dilantha Fernando (University of Manitoba)

Activity 4: Genome-wide association mapping of quantitative resistance against blackleg in Brassica napus

Objectives: (1) To identify tightly-associated genetic markers for controlling adult plant resistance to blackleg; and (2) to define the underlying genetic architecture of this durable resistance to blackleg in B. napus.

Principal Investigator: Dr. M. Hossein Borhan (AAFC Saskatoon)

Activity 5: Transcriptomic analysis of the Leptosphaeria maculans- (blackleg-canola) interaction to identify resistance genes in canola and avirulence factors in L. maculans

Objectives: (1) To identify effectors and evaluate the comparative transcriptomic response of susceptible and resistant canola lines to virulent isolates of Leptosphaeria maculans (blackleg); and (2) to identify specific resistant genes in canola involved in the expression of an incompatible interaction with L. maculans.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Bélanger (Université Laval)

Activity 6: Durable blackleg resistance stewardship through knowledge of blackleg pathogen population, resistance genes and crop sequence towards the development of a cultivar rotation program in the Prairie Provinces

Objective: To analyze Avr gene diversity and frequency of different Avr genes in different farms.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Dilantha Fernando (University of Manitoba)

Activity 7: Investigating the Resistance (R-gene) durability of canola cultivars and emergence of virulent blackleg isolates in farmers’ fields

Objectives: (1) To assess which cultivar resistance genes are most durable to disease pressure and make recommendations on when and how often to rotate cultivars studied; and (2) to examine the potential of emergence of virulent isolates when a new cultivar without corresponding virulent isolates is introduced.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Dilantha Fernando (University of Manitoba)

Activity 8: Rapid field diagnostics of the blackleg pathogen races through the identification of pathogen avirulence (Avr) genes and the development of Avr-specific markers

Objective: To develop molecular markers as an efficient tool for genotyping and monitoring L. maculans populations in canola fields across Western Canada.

Principal Investigator: Dr. M. Hossein Borhan (AAFC Saskatoon)

Activity 9: Development of a blackleg yield loss model and assessment of fungicide resistance in Western Canadian populations of Leptosphaeria maculans

Objectives: (1) To develop a yield loss model to relate the severity of blackleg on canola with the corresponding yield losses; and (2) to evaluate representative populations of L. maculans from Western Canada for the occurrence of fungicide resistance.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Stephen Strelkov (University of Alberta)

Activity 10: Characterization of defense genes underlying quantitative resistance loci (QRL) to Sclerotinia stem rot in Asian Brassica napus and transfer of resistance to Canadian spring type canola

Objectives: (1) To identify molecular markers linked to sclerotinia resistance and identification of underlying defense genes; and (2) to transfer of sclerotinia resistance to elite open-pollinated spring type canola.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Lone Buchwaldt (AAFC Saskatoon)

Activity 11: Resistance to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum necrosis inducing proteins in canola

Objectives: (1) To identify proteins secreted by S. sclerotiorum that cause or contribute to necrosis; and (2) to develop a method to screen B. napus lines for resistance to their effects.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Dwayne Hegedus (AAFC Saskatoon)

In Pursuit of 52 by 2025 – AgriScience Project

2015.6 Identification and genetic mapping of Brassica napus for resistance to pathotype 5X of Plasmodiophora brassicae

Objectives: To identify new sources of B. napus for resistance to pathotype 5X. To study the inheritance of clubroot resistance (CR) in the new sources of B. napus. To map CR genes genetically in the new sources of B. napus. To develop robust SNP markers tightly linked to the CR genes for use in marker assisted breeding and facilitate the rapid incorporation of multiple CR genes into elite canola breeding lines.

Research Team: Drs. Fengqun Yu – Principal Investigator, Gary Peng and Bruce Gossen (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Sheau-Fang Hwang (Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development); Dr. Stephen Strelkov (University of Alberta)

2015.12 Understanding the mechanisms for race-specific and non-specific resistance for effective use of cultivar resistance against blackleg of canola in Western Canada

Objective: The overall goal is to understand the mechanisms of blackleg resistance associated with specific and non-specific resistance genes in representative canola cultivars/germplasms to provide science-based guidelines for accurate assessment and optimal use of different types of host resistance against blackleg disease of canola in Western Canada.

Research Team: Drs. Gary Peng – Principal Investigator, Fengqun Yu, Linda McGregor, Xunjian Liu, Zhai Chun (AAFC Saskatoon); Drs. Chithra Karunakaran and Rachid Lahlali (Canadian Light Source)

2015.14 Characterization of the new strains of the clubroot pathogen in Alberta

Objective: The primary objective of this project is to mitigate the risk posed to the agricultural industry by the emergence of new strains of Plasmodiophora brassicae able to overcome the resistance in “clubroot resistant” canola. The project will identify and characterize the strains of P. brassicae that can overcome resistance and identify genetic resources that are not prone to this resistance breakdown. Molecular markers will be developed that can distinguish P. brassicae strains and, if possible, identify pathogen populations based on pathotype.

Research Team: Dr. Sheau-Fang Hwang – Principal Investigator (Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development); Dr. Stephen Strelkov (University of Alberta)

2015.15 Using SNP markers to assess genetic variability of Plasmodiophora brassicae in Canada

Objective: The objective of the project is to use assessment of genetic relatedness (based on SNP markers) to answer several important questions related to introduction of lines of P. brassicae that were pathogenic on canola onto the Canadian prairies. First, does this introduction represent a single event, or multiple introductions, and where did the introduction originate from? Second, is the pathogen population in Alberta as diverse as those studied elsewhere, and does this high / low diversity have implications for durability of resistance against this pathogen? Third, are the new virulent collections (colloquially referred to as 5X) genetically similar, and which pathogen lines are they derived from?

Research Team: Drs. Bruce Gossen – Principal Investigator, Fengqun Yu and Gary Peng (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Stephen Strelkov (University of Alberta); Dr. Mary Ruth McDonald (University of Guelph)

2015.17 Integrated approaches for flea beetle control – Economic thresholds, prediction models, landscape effects and natural enemies

Objective: Our overall objective is to develop a holistic and sustainable approach to flea beetle control. The objectives are to: (1) develop descriptive economic thresholds for flea beetles (2) identify the suite of natural enemies of flea beetles using innovative molecular methods (3) define landscape characteristics that limit flea beetle populations and increase mortality of flea beetles by natural enemies; (4) develop models to predict flea beetle emergence and major seasonal activity based on abiotic environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, precipitation, wind, soil temperature); and (5) incorporate all these components into a comprehensive tool and set of management guidelines for canola producers.

Research Team: Dr. Alejandro Costamagna (University of Manitoba); Dr. Barb Sharanowski (University of Manitoba); Dr. John Gavlovski (Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development); Dr. Rishi Burlakoti and Andy Nadler (Weather Innovations); Dr. Hector Carcamo (AAFC Lethbridge); Jennifer Otani (AAFC Beaverlodge); Dr. Tyler Wist (AAFC Saskatoon)

2015.27 To germinate or not to germinate? – Towards understanding the role dormancy plays in canola seed and seedling vigour and stand establishment

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) Establish the relative degree of pod shatter susceptibility or resistance in commercial canola breeding lines or hybrids relative to a diverse set of spring Brassica napus (Bn) lines;  ii)  Define the regions of the spring Bn genome that contribute to both shatter tolerance and shatter susceptibility and investigate the underlying pod physiological structural and biochemistry contributors; iii)  Explore methodology for characterizing and quantifying in-field shattering, focusing on methods amenable for high-throughput analyses of large mapping or breeding populations.

Research Team: Dr. Sally Vail (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Isobel Parkin (AAFC Saskatoon); Steve Robinson (AAFC Saskatoon); Robert Gulden (University of Manitoba); Steve Shirtliffe (University of Manitoba)

Canola Agronomic Research Program – CARP (2015-2019)

2015 CARP funded projects

2015.6 Identification and genetic mapping of Brassica napus for resistance to pathotype 5X of Plasmodiophora brassicae (April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2019)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) identify new sources of B. napus for resistance to pathotype 5X; ii) study the inheritance of clubroot resistance (CR) in the new sources of B. napus; iii) map CR genes genetically in the new sources of B. napus; iv) develop robust SNP markers tightly linked to the CR genes for use in marker assisted breeding; v) facilitate the rapid incorporation of multiple CR genes into elite canola breeding lines.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Fengqun Yu (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola, AAFC

2015.12 Understanding the mechanisms for race-specific and non-specific resistance for effective use of cultivar resistance against blackleg of canola in Western Canada (April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2018)

Objective: The overall goal is to understand the mechanisms of blackleg resistance associated with specific and non-specific resistance genes in representative canola cultivars/germplasms to provide science-based guidelines for accurate assessment and optimal use of different types of host resistance against blackleg disease of canola in Western Canada.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Gary Peng (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola, AAFC

2015.14 Characterization of the new strains of the clubroot pathogen in Alberta (April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2019)

Objective: The primary objective of this project is to mitigate the risk posed to the agricultural industry by the emergence of new strains of Plasmodiophora brassicae able to overcome the resistance in “clubroot resistant” canola. The project will identify and characterize the strains of P. brassicae that can overcome resistance and identify genetic resources that are not prone to this resistance breakdown. 

Principal Investigators: Dr. Stephen Strelkov (University of Alberta); Dr. Sheau-Fang Hwang (AARD)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola, AAFC

2015.15 Using SNP markers to assess genetic variability of Plasmodiophora brassicae in Canada (April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2018)

Objective: The objective of the project is to use assessment of genetic relatedness (based on SNP markers) to answer several important questions related to introduction of lines of P. brassicae that were pathogenic on canola onto the Canadian prairies. 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Bruce Gossen (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola, AAFC

2015.17 Integrated approaches for flea beetle control – economic thresholds, prediction models, landscape effects, and natural enemies  (April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2018)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) develop descriptive economic thresholds for flea beetles ; ii) identify the suite of natural enemies of flea beetles; iii) define landscape characteristics that limit flea beetle populations and increase mortality of flea beetles by natural enemies; iv) develop models to predict flea beetle emergence and major seasonal activity based on abiotic environmental conditions; v) incorporate all these components into a comprehensive tool and set of management guidelines for canola producers.

Principal Investigators: Alejandro Costamagna (University of Manitoba); Barb Sharanowski (University of Manitoba)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola, AAFC

2015.27 To germinate or not to germinate? – towards understanding the role dormancy plays in canola seed and seedling vigour and stand establishment (April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2018)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) establish the relative degree of pod shatter susceptibility or resistance in commercial canola breeding lines or hybrids relative to a diverse set of spring Brassica napus (Bn) lines; ii) define the regions of the spring Bn genome that contribute to both shatter tolerance and shatter susceptibility and investigate the underlying pod physiological structural and biochemistry contributors; iii) explore methodology for characterizing and quantifying in-field shattering.

Principal Investigators: Dr. Sally Vail, Dr. Isobel Parkin, Dr. Steve Robinson (AAFC Saskatoon); Dr. Robert Gulden (University of Manitoba); Dr. Steve Shirtliffe (University of Saskatchewan)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, SaskCanola, AAFC

2016 CARP funded projects

2016.1 Developing canola agronomy with precision planters (April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2018)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) explore yield effects of seeding canola with a planter vs air seeder; ii) determine whether or not a precision planting system improves canola emergence and uniformity as well as optimum seeding rates with different row spacing; iii) determine maximum seed-safe rate of in-row liquid P when using a precision planter.

Principal Investigator: Ken Coles, Farming Smarter

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers

2016.8 Characterizing turbulent spray deposition from self-propelled sprayers (April 1, 2016 – April 30, 2020)

Objective: The objective of this project is to document the spray deposit distribution of a high-clearance spray boom under a variety of test conditions with a view to identifying means of improving deposition uniformity.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Tom Wolf (Agrimetrix Research & Training)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, SaskCanola

2016.9 Enhancing the beneficial root microbiome in canola (April 2, 2016 – March 31, 2019)

Objective: The project has two main objectives: i) assess the consistency and variability in the composition of the canola core root microbiome; ii) determine the crop rotation systems best favoring the establishment of a beneficial root microbiome in canola and in other rotation crops.

Principal Investigators: Dr. Chantal Hamel (AAFC Quebec Research & Development Centre); Dr. Yantai Gan (AAFC Swift Current)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola, NSERC

2016.18 Enhanced modelling of Swede midge population dynamics in North America (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) develop a comprehensive population dynamics model for Swede midge; ii) elucidate life history differences among North American Swede midge populations using new model; ii) explore capacity of model to predict the lag-time between first introduction of Swede midge to an area and subsequent occurrence of economically damaging populations.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Rebecca Hallett (University of Guelph)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, SaskCanola

2016.20 Getting more bang for your buzz: Does pollination compensate for canola yield lost under sub-optimal soil moisture, nitrogen fertilization and/or seeding rates? (April 1, 2016 – August 31, 2019)

Objective:The objective of this project is to investigate agronomic contexts in which the benefits of honey bee pollination to canola yield might be more pronounced, opening the possibility for strategic management of honey bee pollination.

Principal Investigator:Dr. Ralph Cartar (University of Calgary)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Beekeepers’ Commission of Alberta

2016.21 Surveillance networks for beneficial insects: Can natural habitats serve as insect reservoirs, and do they contribute to canola yield? (April 1, 2016 – August 30, 2020)

Objective: The objective of this research is to measure how the proximity to specific natural habitat features is associated with beneficial insect abundance and diversity and canola yield.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Paul Galpern (University of Calgary)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola

2016.24 Can we replace soya sauce with canola sauce? (April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2018)

Objective: The objective of this project is to determine whether canola meal can be fermented into a soy sauce product or whether a fermented canola meal product could be produced which would be a novel condiment or food product.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Paul Holloway (University of Winnipeg)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola

2016.25 Canola response and minimizing N Losses in two-pass seeding-fertilization systems with varying placement methods in Manitoba (April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017)

Objective: This project aims to evaluate the agronomic and environmental performance of surface broadcast, shallow banding and deep banding methods of applying nitrogen fertilizer to canola in order to maximize yield and reduce N losses.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Mario Tenuta (University of Manitoba)

Funding Partners: Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola

2016.27 Validation of lygus and other insect pest thresholds in commercial farms throughout Alberta (April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2021)

Objective: The primary objective of this research is to conduct a field validation of economic thresholds for lygus bugs using realistic commercial scale canola fields. It is expected that another insect pest (flea beetles or cabbage seedpod weevil) may reach pest status in the same field and require management. Therefore, a second objective will be to quantify the impact of both pests on yield and the effect of spraying insecticide on each pest. A third objective for some sites will be to investigate landscape effects on lygus bug abundance and damage.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Hector Carcamo (AAFC Lethbridge)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, SaskCanola

2016.39 Determining best practices for summer storage of canola (April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017)

Objective: The objective of this project is to collect additional bin-scale data and to determine if higher moisture content canola (>7%) should be managed differently if it is to be stored over the summer months or for longer periods of time.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Joy Agnew (PAMI)

Funding Partners: Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola, Saskatchewan ADF

2017 CARP funded projects

2017.5 Introgression of clubroot resistance from B. rapa into B. napus canola and identification of molecular markers for resistance, and pyramiding of this resistance with other resistance genes (December 1, 2017 – November 30, 2021)

Objective: The key objective of this research project is to incorporate the CR gene(s) of the B. rapa accession into Canadian B. napus canola through cross between these two species, and identify molecular markers for use in marker-assisted breeding.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Habibur Rahman (University of Alberta)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, SaskCanola

2017.9 Pre-harvest herbicide and desiccation options for straight-combining canola: effects on plant and seed dry-down, yield and seed quality (April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2020)

Objectives: The key objective of this research is to quantify the potential benefits of pre-harvest herbicide/dessicant applications with a focus on crop/seed dry down, yield and seed quality.

Principal Investigator: Chris Holzapfel (IHARF)

Funding Partners: Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola

2017.12 Assessing the impact of Contarinia sp. on canola production across the Prairies (April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2020)

Objective: This project will investigate the distribution, phenology, and population genetics of the Contarinia midge complex infesting canola throughout the Prairies, with the ultimate goal of understanding the potential threat to canola production throughout the prairie provinces.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Meghan Vankosky (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, SaskCanola

2017.13 Development of a pheromone-based monitoring system for a newly identified Contarinia midge on the Canadian prairies (April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2020)

Objective: This objective of this research is to identify the sex pheromone of Contarinia sp. and apply this information to develop a pheromone-based monitoring tool for use in protecting canola crops from this newly-identified pest.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Meghan Vankosky (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, SaskCanola

2017.19 Compaction impacts on canola establishment (April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2020)

Objective: The objective of this research is to compare the performance of various canola populations in four tillage treatments under two moisture regimes to determine how to manage canola stands under compacted/excess moisture conditions for best performance.

Principal Investigator: Curtis Cavers (AAFC Portage la Prairie)

Funding Partner: Manitoba Canola Growers

2017.27 Monitoring the race dynamics of Leptosphaeria maculans for effective deployment and rotation of resistance genes for sustainable management of blackleg of canola in Western Canada (April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2022)

Objectives: The objectives of this project are to: i) provide industry and producers the up-to-date pictures of L. maculans race profile in major canola crop regions on the prairies and guide the deployment/rotation of canola cultivars carrying different genes; ii) monitor and analyze changes in the L. maculans population to gain important insights into pathogen race dynamics in current cropping systems; iii) identify new races of L. maculans capable of overcoming a specific set genes before widespread breakdown of blackleg resistance; and iv) validate and adopt a novel SNP-array technology for efficient L. maculans race monitoring in the future.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Gary Peng (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola

2017.33 Field evaluation of a valuable germplasm resource designed to dissect complex traits in Brassica napus (the Nested Association Mapping population) (April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2019)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to comprehensively characterize the developed NAM RIL population for agronomic, phenological, yield over two additional contrasting environments; provide field plots for sampling or data collection, and populate the NAM Centralized Database with mine-able data.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sally Vail (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola

2018 CARP funded projects

2018.1 Biopesticides as a novel management strategy for sclerotinia in canola (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2023)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) screen and evaluate biopesticide potential and efficacy for control of disease development and growth of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum ; ii) conduct molecular characterization for bacterial strain identification and detection and evaluate bacterial genes turned on by the biopesticide that lead to improved performance and survival, iii) understand plant defense mechanisms involved in the biocontrol ability of the biopesticides, and iv) evaluate efficacy of bacterial biopesticides.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Susan Boyetchko (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola

2018.7 Effect of hairiness in brassica lines on the abundance, feeding and oviposition behavior of flea beetles, DBM and aster leafhopper (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2021)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) conduct field trials with naturally-hairy B. napus lines and B. villosa, to assess feeding damages of flea beetles, DBMs and aster leafhoppers, ii) conduct laboratory-based bioassays with naturally-hairy B. napus lines and B. villosa to assess feeding and oviposition behavior of flea beetles, DBM and aster leafhoppers, iii) gather information on the interactions between flea beetles, DBM and aster leafhopper with B. villosa and hairy lines on B. napus.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Chrystel Olivier (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, SaskCanola

2018.14 Canola frequency effects on nutrient turnover and root-microbe interactions (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2021)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) determine the influence of rotation and canola variety on cycling and availability of nutrients during the critical flowering stage, ii) examine how crop rotation effects on the structure of the canola root and rhizosphere microbiome, iii) identify and quantify root exudate responses to available soil nutrients or metabolites in the soil that result from different previous crops, iv) examine relationships between root exudates and microbial communities that reflect potential plant-mediated manipulation of nutrient fluxes.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Tim Dumonceaux (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, SaskCanola

2018.18 Assessing surface wax chemical diversity as a tool to defend against abiotic and biotic stress in canola (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2020)

Objectives: The project objectives are aimed at building a unique resource that will act as a foundation for further work towards the development of improved varieties through the manipulation of surface wax in B. napus.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Mark Smith (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partner: SaskCanola

2018.20 Development of a harmonized clubroot map (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2020)

Objective: The main objective of this research is to examine the feasibility of a harmonized clubroot map as a tool for the selection of effective disease management strategies, and assessing disease risk in specific regions.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Stephen Strelkov (University of Alberta)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola

2018.23 Generate knowledge and control strategies for the pollen beetle Brassicogethes viridescens (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), a new invasive insect pest of canola (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2022)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) develop a laboratory rearing method for pollen beetle, ii) test the efficacies of insecticides against pollen beetles, iii) develop economic thresholds for pollen beetle in canola, iv) survey fields in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for the presence/absence of pollen beetles and survey for naturally occurring parasitoids of pollen beetles in Atlantic Canada.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christine Noronha (AAFC Charlottetown)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola

2018.28 Reducing toxicity of seed-placed phosphorus fertilizer in canola (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2021)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) determine the maximum safe rate of phosphorus fertilizer that can safely be placed with canola seed when using openers with different spreads t 9” and 12” row spacing, ii) determine the effect of the treatments on performance, yield and quality, iii) generate guidelines that producers and crop advisors can follow in determining the rate of seed-placed P fertilizer they can safely apply with different opener widths and row spacing.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Patrick Mooleki (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, SaskCanola

2018.34 Identification and assessment of the role of natural enemies in pest suppression in canola with specific reference to diamondback moth management (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2021)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) monitor natural enemy populations associated with diamondback moth (DBM) in canola, ii) develop of functional response models to understand relationships between DBM and its natural enemies to develop dynamic action thresholds, iii) assessment predation/parasitism of DBM life stages by major natural enemies under field conditions, iv) understand factors enhancing foraging and parasitism by a major natural enemy species, D. insulare in conservation biological control of diamondback moth.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Maya Evenden (University of Alberta)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, SaskCanola

2018.39 Optimal source, placement and application timing for yield and reduction of greenhouse gas footprint for canola production on light texture soils (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2021)

Objectives: The main objectives of this research are to determine which of the following practices perform better on light texture soils: placement, N source for shallow banding, nitrification inhibition for deep banding, split application, placement of in-season N, inhibiting ammonia loss with top dressing.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Mario Tenuta (University of Manitoba)

Funding Partners: Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola

2018.41 How does in-row seed spacing and spatial pattern affect canola yield? (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2022)

Objective: The overall objective of this research project is to optimize the spatial pattern and density for canola by addressing the questions of how canola yield, emergence and self-thinning differ between space planting and random seeding at different seeding rates, and how spatial uniformity interacts with plant densities and row spacing.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Steven Shirtliffe (University of Saskatchewan)

Funding Partner: SaskCanola

2019 CARP funded projects

2019.6 Managing small patches of clubroot infestation in canola fields (April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2023)

Objective: The objective of this research is to develop and validate best management practices for detecting and managing the spread of clubroot by containing introductions into new fields and managing hot spots of ‘new’ pathotypes in infested fields.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Bruce Gossen (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola

2019.9 Influence of pH on the clubroot pathogen: are there pH-insensitive strains? (April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2022)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) evaluate the pH sensitivity of field and single-spore isolates representing important pathotypes of P. brassicae; ii) determine whether or not repeated exposure to higher pH conditions will result in shifts in the pH sensitivity of P. brassicae; iii) develop recommendations regarding liming as a clubroot management tool.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Stephen Strelkov (University of Alberta)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola

2019.10 Exploring novel seed-treatment options to mitigate the impact of blackleg on canola (April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2022)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: i) understand the impact of L. maculans noculum level in the soil on the incidence and severity of blackleg in canola seedlings; ii) evaluate a wide range of new commercial fungicide products/formulations for seed treatment, against the current industry standard for control of early infection, iii) further assess top candidates in relation to rate, plant growth stage and environmental effect for the control of root and leaf infection; iv) validate the efficacy of top candidates in multi-site/year field trials.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Gary Peng (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partner: SaskCanola

2019.13 Surveillance networks for beneficial insects II: quantifying the canola yield effect of wetlands, shelterbelts and other insect reservoir habitats (April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2023)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: determine how far services extend from beneficial arthropod reservoirs and determine how much these beneficial arthropod reservoirs contribute to canola yield.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Paul Galpern (University of Calgary)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, Manitoba Canola Growers

2019.23 On-farm survey to benchmark combine processing (threshing, separating, cleaning) losses across the prairie provinces (April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)

Objective: The overall objective of the project is to provide a deeper understanding of the source of canola harvest loss, including which parameters and variables are most likely to contribute to combine loss.

Principal Investigator: Lorne Grieger (PAMI)

Funding Partners: Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola

2019.24 Understanding canola root morphology and microbiomes in response to soil phosphorus fertility (April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2023)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to determine how different P management practices affect canola root system architectures (RSA) and the development of the root and rhizosphere microbiome.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Bobbi Helgason (University of Saskatchewan)

Funding Partner: SaskCanola

2019.27 Towards better understanding of genetics in Leptosphaeria-Brassica interactions via international collaborations to standardize the nomenclature of blackleg resistance genes (April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2022)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to expand the current B. napus host differential lines, generate a common set of L. maculans differential isolates, genotype the R gene(s) of current blackleg resistant B. napus collections , and to create a common B. napus-Leptosphaeria database of genetics and genomics data as well as protocols.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Hossein Borhan (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, SaskCanola

2019.28 From field to the genome – application of 3rd generation sequencing to direct genotyping of canola pathogens (April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2022)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to expand the existing genome sequence database of P. brassicae by sequencing recently discovered Canadian clubroot pathotypes, to apply and compare direct sequencing and targeted sequencing as diagnostic and genotyping methods, and to compare laboratory detection methods with direct in-field detection methods.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Hossein Borhan (AAFC Saskatoon)

Funding Partners: Alberta Canola, SaskCanola

2019.34 Verticillium stripe management (April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2022)

Objectives: The objectives of this research are to: determine if there is yield loss and if so the extent of yield losses from Verticillium stripe, determine the effects of growth stage and inoculation techniques on infection and evaluate canola cultivars against Verticillium stripe.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sheau-Fang Hwang (University of Alberta)

Funding Partner: SaskCanola