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Research Committee Reports

Agriculture Wildlife Conflict Working Group – Birgit Martin

The AWCWG held 2 virtual meetings in 2021. This group consists of OMAFRA and industry representatives that discuss livestock and crop damage and conflict issues. 

In the April meeting, the issue of African Swine Fever and the prevention of its spread in Ontario was presented by OMAFRA’s Swine Specialist, Laura Eastwood. The issue of detecting and monitoring wild pigs in Ontario was presented by Keith Munro, Wildlife Biologist with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. Statistics were presented on the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program for livestock. Several members of the working group also gave updates on issues arising within their sector/industry including: OFA’s crop damage survey; wildlife pressure in orchards; baiting to control rabies; MNRF update; sandhill crane population survey project; and coyote issues.

In the September meeting, Ben Hindmarsh, OMAFRA’s Environmental Specialist, gave an analysis of deer damage and discussed prevention. Ben Lefort, Senior Policy Analyst with OFA presented the 2020 Crop Damage Survey Report with some staggering losses. Updates from members included the OSCIA’s update on the 2021 Avipel bird repellent trial for Sandhill Cranes in corn on Manitoulin Island and on potatoes in the Sudbury District.

Canadian Corn Pest Coalition (CCPC) – Andy van Niekerk

The CCPC is a working group comprised of representatives across Canada from the seed corn industry, grower associations, regulatory agencies, academic institutions and extension and research staff from both provincial and federal governments. Members are committed to the common goal of responsible deployment of management technologies for corn insect pests in Canada to support the continued effectiveness of the technologies.  The CCPC values its success at maintaining an informal yet constructive environment where the exchange of information and consensus on issues pertaining to pest management technologies can take place amongst industry, regulatory, government extension and researchers.

Currently Tracey Baute is our chair and continues to do an excellent job.  We had 3 virtual meetings with several “email” meetings.

Concerns over the Corn Rootworm (CRW) resistance was very much in the forefront in CCPC.  Many cases of resistance were being reported in Southwestern Ontario to nearly all the below ground Bt events.  Sometimes with 80% yield loss.  This announcement sparked several province wide webinar/information meetings outlining the need to change management practices, as well as producing a factsheet that can be distributed. The best management practice that can/should be done is to rotate out of corn production. Sometimes it could mean making agreements with neighbouring farmers to trade fields to rotate out of corn production. As well, some alternative forage production such as cereal rye or winter barley with a double crop of something else could also be considered.

Collaborative effect among CCPC to produce and distribute information regarding CRW resistance issues. Tracey Baute made 18 presentations and distributed many extension articles regarding CRW resistance. However, communication is still lacking in some areas.

Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) for CRW management research discussed for “bio-control” and looks promising. It is being tested in parts of Ontario this past year.

Jocelyn demonstrated the draft website with suggestions for revisions. It seems to be more mobile device friendly:

I look forward to continued participation on this committee.

Ontario Cereal Crops Committee (OCCC) – John Poel

The roles of the Ontario Cereal Crop Committee (OCCC) are to act as the recommending body to The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for cereal variety registration in Ontario. OCCC also advises the CFIA Variety Registration Office as to whether registration of wheat varieties should be extended to Ontario if the variety has been supported for registration outside of Ontario. OCCC also reviews cereal-related research and coordination of cereal performance testing & reporting. The OCCC holds this mandate in Ontario for wheat, barley, oats, rye, spelt, buckwheat, durum, and triticale.

The regular winter wheat performance trials were planted at 12 locations; inoculated Fusarium trials at three and intensively managed trials at seven. Winter survival was good and all but two trials. The Centralia location was flagged as “view data” because of thin stands. Areas of the Kincardine trial were affected by excess moisture and it was reduced to two replications. Sixteen new winter wheat varieties were submitted for testing with half being supported by the committee. These included one HRW and seven SRW varieties. A single entry of SWW did not meet with enough support to move ahead mainly due to its tendency to express colouration not unlike SRW especially when it undergoes stressful growing conditions.

The winter barley trials were grown at Harrow, Ridgetown, Wabash and West Montrose. Each of the trial varieties tested had good winter survival. All seven of these winter barley varieties submitted for full registration consideration were supported by the committee . 

The conventional spring wheat trials were conducted at one unofficial and seven official sites. Intensive wheat trials were conducted at four sites. Inoculated trials for FHB were conducted at Ottawa and Elora. However, the one HRS variety submitted for consideration didn’t garner enough committee support to move on.

Barley trials were planted at one unofficial and seven official sites. The trial at Osgoode was dropped because of uneven emergence. The regular oat trials were conducted at one unofficial and six official sites. Intensive oat trials were conducted at four sites. Straw yields were collected at four sites for all crops. Except for the trials that were not planted at Verner due to Covid restrictions, all of the trials were planted on time. Most locations were affected by dry weather at some point throughout the growing season. This was especially true in Eastern Ontario and at Emo. Disease pressure was low to medium at all locations but did increase at some sites later on. The one spring barley submitted for consideration met with support to be recommend for registration.

There were two oat variety candidates submitted which also met committee support. They showed significant yield improvements in the combined trial areas mostly buoyed by impressive results of improved tolerance to crown rust in the rust-prone regions of Ontario.

Ontario Corn Committee (OCC) – Andy van Niekerk

The Ontario Corn Committee has roots back to 1937 after concern over “unscrupulous persons” selling inferior corn hybrids. The OCC evolved into a licensing agent for Ontario. A corn breeding program was started. And in fact the first Canadian-Bred hybrids currently came form the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa. Some 50 + years ago the Ontario Corn Heat Unit (CHU) rating system was developed and still stands today. The AAFC terminated the licensing of corn hybrids, but the OCC continued to test corn hybrids as farmers had now put great value in the 3rd party opinions. And testing continues on 20 different sites.

This year there were 3 meetings in 2021 to review the trial set up, review the results as well as reviewing the finances of the OCC.

In 2021 a misting system was installed at the Huron Research Station to test for fusarium and DON accumulation.  These trials are providing much valuable information: about the best technique for testing for susceptibility to DON accumulation; about the conditions under which infection and DON accumulation are most likely to occur; and about risk prediction/reduction.

Some revamps were done to the website to clean it up. There are several interactive tools to help with corn production management, such as: “N-Rate Evaluator”, “Ontario Corn Nitrogen Calculator”, “OCC Hybrid Selector”, “Manure Nutrient Calculator” and “Replant Decision Aid”. 

Covid played havoc with access to the trials as did many things this past year. But the OCC Performance Trials were available for inspection from August 17th through September 30th.

Preliminary OCC trials were announced Nov 23. All results in the OCC trials were the highest yield experienced. Even Dundalk OCC trials averaged over 200+ bu/ac.

The final results were tweeted out Dec 2, 2021. For results of the trials please go to

Tar Spot will be a topic of the future and how this might affect the trials moving forward.

David Morrison the long time Secretary has announced his desire for retirement. The Ontario Corn Committee would like to thank David for his long dedication to the Corn Committee. There was a committee formed to seek a suitable replacement.

Ontario Pulse Crop Committee (OPCC) – Phil Oegema

The Ontario Pulse Crop Committee (OPCC) met on Feb 12, 2020. The Ontario Bean Growers gave an update highlighting the work done under the CAP funding for the Pulse industry including research into variable rate seeding, UG breeding, pest management, AAFC breeding, weed management, and a cholesterol lowering study at UG. OBG is launching How To videos on their website on how to prep dry and canned beans, and how to cook and store beans. Variety trial results will continue to be published on the GoBeans website. 

The Variety Sub-Committee also met on Feb 12 to review variety trial locations and seed registration candidates.  Testing procedures were reviewed (guidelines, locations, checks, fees etc.). Also reviewed was the procedure for accepting foreign data for seed registration.

Ontario Soybean & Canola Committee (OSCC) – Phil Oegema

The Ontario Soybean and Canola Committee (OSACC) met virtually January 20, 2022. Megan Moran updated the committee on the state of Canola in Ontario.  There are generally not many spring canola acres grown in Ontario. There were however roughly 11,500 acres of Winter Canola planted. Variety availability for winter canola is limited, but as interest grows the hope is that more winter varieties with resistance to club-root and other pathogens will emerge.

The website continues to be the main site for entry applications and processing of soybean variety registration as well as OSACC plot results. There was discussion on ways to promote the OSACC publication and website to better disperse the valuable information to farmers and industry across Canada and the US. There is also interest in adding early variety trials to the site in New Liskeard. 

The CFIA reported to the committee on the progress of its Seed Regulatory Modernization Working Group and is seeking participants and stakeholders to provide input to help build a vision for Canada’s seed system in the years ahead; including guidance on the role of government, and regulators, what an effective seed system in Canada looks like, and what would be of value to industry stakeholders.

Ontario Soil Management Research & Services Committee – Gord Speksnijder

Consists of three sub-committees

  • Soil and Water Quality Sub-Committee
  • Waste Utilization Sub-Committee
  • Field Crops Sub-Committee

All committees were in-active for 2021

Ontario Weeds Committee (OWC) – Warren Schneckenburger

In-active in 2021