Current Research at the Ontario Crops Research Centre - Elora

The following is a list of current projects at the Ontario Beef Research Centre at the Elora Research Station. Note that some projects may remain unlisted if they are protected intellectual property.

If you have any questions about ongoing research at the research station please email researchstation.info@uoguelph.ca.

Update regarding COVID-19

The Alliance is committed to ensuring the health and safety of staff, animals, researchers and the community. We are following guidance set out by the University of Guelph’s Office of Research with respect to biosecurity and research activities during COVID-19. Please keep in mind the status of projects may change as the response to this pandemic evolves.

Current research studies

Click to see a summary of each project.

Research summary
Objective To: 1) Conduct an unbiased evaluation of commercial hybrid seeds for Ontario producers through the Ontario Corn Committee trials; 2) Develop extremely short-season inbred corn lines for Ontario; 3) Develop high-throughput phenotyping techniques for traits important for short-season corn; 4) Extend the scientific knowledge base around genetic improvement and crop physiology of corn; and 5) Understand the rotation effect of cover crops and their potential as a pollinator habitat.
Benefit to Agri-food This research will result in new methodology such as a high-throughput remote sensing method for assessing black layer in maize; and high-throughput remote sensing method for assessing harvest index in maize. It will also result in new short-season inbred corn lines.
Research summary
Objective To conduct genetic mapping of cold hardiness in roses and to develop tools for rose breeding.
Benefit to Agri-food

This research will result in new methodology such as a high-throughput remote sensing method for assessing black layer in maize; and high-throughput remote sensing method for assessing harvest index in maize. It will also result in new short-season inbred corn lines.

Research summary
Objective

To develop outstanding non-genetically-modified (GM) food-grade soybean varieties for Canadian farmers by: 1) Enhancing yield of non-genetically-modified (non-GM) food grade soybeans grown in Ontario; 2) enhancing value and market opportunities for soybeans in value-added markets, 3) improving genetic resistance to soybean cyst nematode; and 4) improving resistance to white mould in soybeans using genomic approaches.

Benefit to Agri-food

To date, 10 new soybean cultivars have been registered and commercialized and their seed is being multiplied in 2020. In addition, more than 60 crosses have been made to incorporate soybean cyst nematode resistance into the breeding program.

Research summary
Objective To breed different bean varieties for Ontario growers with the following characteristics: improved yield and enhanced disease resistance; greater drought tolerance; improved nitrogen-fixing capacity; greater resistance to herbicides; superior cooking quality; and unique quality traits that increase their return to the grower, increase market utility and enhance their direct benefits to the consumer.
Benefit to Agri-food This research aims to improve the quality of Ontario dry beans crops, contribute to increasing the usefulness of dry beans in new markets and ultimately contribute to a healthy diet for Canadians.
Research summary
Objective To enhance understanding of how agricultural management practices can improve the net carbon balance of annual crops by determining 1) the net carbon balance of a non-diverse crop rotation (corn-soybean-soybean); and 2) a diverse rotation (corn-soybean-winter wheat with cover crops) over three years.
Benefit to Agri-food By better understanding the role of cover crops, this research will enable the adoption of proactive responses to climate stressors and thereby improve agricultural resiliency against climate change in Ontario. This research will benefit producers, agricultural consultants and OMAFRA staff by providing recommendations for improved carbon management.
Research summary
Objective To understand the physiological basis of yield limitations of quinoa in Ontario.
Benefit to Agri-food This project will help to improve best management practices for quinoa production in Ontario with respect to: seeding rates and stand establishment; fertility management; frost tolerance; and responses to soil water deficits.

 

 

Research summary
Objective

To:

  1. determine the extent of head smut disease in Ontario switchgrass fields;
  2. assess cultivars for head smut resistance;
  3. determine the efficacy of various seed treatments to prevent establishment of head smut disease; and 4) assess how planting mixtures of grass species can reduce spread and development of head smut disease through a field and protect growers from biomass losses.
Benefit to Agri-food This project will identify the extent of head smut infection in switchgrass in Ontario and provide management practices that will protect its production and allow for acreage to expand.
Research summary
Objective  To deploy environmentally friendly approaches to combat Fusarium head blight disease in Ontario, and to improve disease resistance capacity in Ontario wheat germplasm (genetic material) and varieties.
Benefit to Agri-food

This research aims to improve resistance to Fusarium head blight (FHB) in Ontario wheat, reducing economic loss to farmers in the Prairies and in eastern Canada.

Research summary
Objective

To identify and evaluate:

  1. potato varieties for processing that could provide a 12-month supply of high-quality potatoes to the Canadian chip industry;
  2. potato varieties for fresh market use that have value-added traits such as disease tolerance and storability; and
  3. control methods for potato early dying complex (PED).
Benefit to Agri-food This project will help the Ontario potato sector remain competitive by extending the growing season for Ontario chipping potatoes. This will reduce the import costs for potato processors and increase the market share for high-value chip potatoes for local growers. This study will also provide recommendations to the Ontario potato industry for managing diseases, such as potato early dying complex, effectively and sustainably..