Alberta Bulletin

Alberta Canola invests $1.1 million in research

Rasha Salih and Priyavashini Prakash, summer undergraduate supported by MITACS.

Over the last year, Alberta Canola invested over $1.1 million toward 12 new projects representing approximately $3.6 million worth of research.

Every $1 of farmer levy invested by Alberta Canola was matched by about $2.50 of investment by research partners and funding programs.

Projects examining canola diseases took precedence in 2022. Clubroot continues to be a challenging disease, with resistance-breaking pathotypes threatening canola cultivar resistance – which is the most effective management tool. At the University of Alberta, Stephen Strelkov is efficiently identifying Plasmodiophora brassicae pathotypes through metabarcoding, and Gavin Chen is enhancing clubroot resistance in canola through regulating a transcription factory AIL7. Meanwhile, Hossein Borhan at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Saskatoon is dissecting the genetics of Brassica napus resistance to clubroot.

Gary Peng continues to work on blackleg disease at AAFC Saskatoon by monitoring changes in Leptosphaeria maculans races and blackleg’s impact on canola after the introduction of the new R genes Rlm2, Rlm4 and Rlm7. Jacqueline Monaghan at Queen’s University will examine non-disease-specific impacts following the deployment of calcium-dependant protein kinases.

With the extreme drought in 2021, Alberta Canola found it especially necessary to support Shelley Hoover’s research at the University of Lethbridge where she’s examining the effects of heat and drought on canola-pollinator interactions and crop yield. Following the climate and environment theme, Reynald Lemke at AAFC Saskatoon will look at how fall-applied nitrogen fertilizer influences soil-emitted nitrous oxide emissions over the winter and during the spring thaw period in the semi-arid Prairies. Melissa Arcand at the University of Saskatchewan will analyze the quantification of soil- and fertilizer-derived nitrogen sources and greenhouse gas emissions under canola hybrids.

Weeds continue to threaten the successful production of canola. Breanne Tidemann at AAFC Lacombe is screening false cleavers from the Prairie herbicide resistance surveys for quinclorac and glyphosate resistance, while Rob Gulden and his team will update the critical weed free period in canola out of the University of Manitoba.

Emerging potential threats are important to understand, which is why Alberta Canola funded Christine Noronha at AAFC Charlottetown, who is developing and assessing different strategies to reduce the impact of pollen beetle, Brassicogethes viridescens (Coleoptra: Nitidulidae).

In addition to agronomy-related research projects, Alberta Canola recognizes the importance of investing in market development. Catherine Chan at the University of Alberta is comparing saturated and unsaturated fat sources of the ketogenic diet along with their metabolic and inflammatory outcomes.

Beyond these research projects, Alberta Canola has committed $50,000 to the $9.4 million Alberta AgriSystems Living Lab (AALL) led by the Alberta Beef Producers. The AALL is focused on measuring the impacts of beneficial management practices (BMPs) in the real world. Results from this project will be used to help direct government policy makers and help to demonstrate the value of the work producers do every day. Funding of this initiative is provided by AAFC through the Agricultural Climate Solutions Living Lab Initiative, as well as contributions from partner organizations.

Alberta AgriSystems Living Lab Initiative, led by the Alberta Beef Producers: Integrating beef, forage and cropping systems to improve soil carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Partners: Alberta Wheat Commission, Alberta Barley, Beef Cattle Research Council, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Alberta Pulse Growers, Alberta Cattle Feeders Association, Corteva Agriscience, Canfax Research Services, Canola Council of Canada, Alberta Beekeepers Commission, Verified Beef Production Plus, nu nenne Advisian Environmental LP, Alberta Conservation Association, University of Alberta, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Canola Digest - Science 2022