Alberta Canola commits $900,000 to 10 new projects
This past year, Alberta Canola committed close to $900,000 towards 10 research projects. For each grower dollar contributed by Alberta Canola, we were able to attract an additional $7 in investment from our collaborative research partners and programs, for a total of over $7 million in research funding.
Projects investigating diseases of canola took precedence in 2023. Clubroot remains a challenging disease for canola growers, and thus clubroot research is a priority in funded projects. At the University of Alberta, Stephen Strelkov continues his work on clubroot by examining clubroot resistance gene function and Habibur Rahman is evaluating the canola A-genome genes for Plasmodiophora brassicae resistance along with the C-genome. At the Université Laval, Edel Péréz-López is working to better understand how pathogen kinases in clubroot function in disease progression.
In addition to clubroot projects, funding has also been put into investigating other diseases. At Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Saskatoon, Gary Peng is testing the use of susceptibility genes in canola to improve blackleg resistance, and at the University of Manitoba, Dilantha Fernando is searching for resistance against verticillium stripe in canola.
Thomas (Kelly) Turkington at AAFC Lacombe is further developing the Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network, a coordinated field crop disease monitoring program for the Prairies whose main focus is to highlight effective disease management approaches. The program is involved in developing standard recommended monitoring protocols focused on in-crop risk assessments and end-of-season final disease evaluations.
Alberta Canola also keeps a continued focus on finding ways to improve yields and canola quality. Gavin Chen at the University of Alberta is working towards that by altering cellular carbon partitioning in hopes of raising canola yield and the content of oil and protein.
Charles Geddes at AAFC Lethbridge is building a strong biovigilance foundation through his work on The Prairie Weed Monitoring Network. This Prairie Weed Monitoring Network works with the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network and Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network under the overarching Prairie Biovigilance Network (weed biovigilance strategy). The main goal is to facilitate the adoption of a biovigilance-based approach to weed mitigation and management on the Prairies. Geddes will coordinate the herbicide resistance surveys and weed abundance surveys.
The need for building resiliency into cropping systems for our changing climate is critical for future growing success. At AAFC Saskatoon, Meghan Vankosky is conducting research to examine how insects in the Prairies respond to the changing climate and agricultural inputs. Concurrently, Isobel Parkin is dedicated to capturing ancestral diversity in canola progenitors, with the ultimate goal of developing a canola plant that is resilient to the challenges posed by climate change.