Research Roundup

FIND OUT WHAT’S NEW IN THE WORLD OF RESEARCH

Treatment for long-spine sandbur control in corn
Carolynn Seaton
Post-emergence herbicides are more effective than pre-emergence herbicides for controlling long-spine sandbur, a problem weed in corn on sandy soils in southwestern Ontario. 

Long-spine sandbur grows rapidly in open spaces and competes for moisture, nutrients and light. The weed can reduce yields, harvesting efficiency and grain quality if its seeds get into the grain. 

Pre-emergence herbicides, such as Prowl, have been used to try controlling long-spine sandbur, with variable results. That’s why Dr. Peter Sikkema and research technician Chris Kramer at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus set out to determine which herbicides would provide more effective and consistent control. 

“We hoped to identify the most effective herbicides that could increase corn yield and net returns for Ontario farmers,” says Sikkema.

The researchers found that generally, the post-emergence herbicides provided better control than soil-applied pre-emergent herbicide. Of the post-emergence herbicides evaluated, Elim EP, Accent and Ultim provided the best control for long-spine sandbur.  

Funding for this research was provided by the Grain Farmers of Ontario and the Agricultural Adaptation Council’s CanAdvance program.

Beating bean leaf beetles
Joey Sabljic
Bean leaf beetles have made their way throughout southern Ontario in the last decade, feeding on soy plants during the vegetative and pod formation stages. This not only seriously harms the plant’s foliage, growth and bean quality, but long-term feeding has caused significant yield losses in some southern Ontario soybean crops.

For University of Guelph professors Dr. Rebecca Hallett, from the School of Environmental Sciences, and Dr. Art Schaafsma, Director of the Ridgetown Campus, combating this problem means combining their unique expertise. Hallett is an expert in insect-plant interactions and insect biology, while Schaafsma focuses on applied pest management strategies.

Together, they hope to gain a deeper understanding of the bean leaf beetle’s growth patterns and life cycle in Ontario  for an effective management plan. This includes determining how many generations of the beetle occur during each growing season and what environmental factors affect their ability to overwinter, as well as developing a late season action threshold for controlling pod-feeding beetles.

“This will help us determine the critical period for targeting bean leaf beetles before another season’s soy crop is damaged,” says Hallett.

This research is supported by the OMAFRA-University of Guelph Production Systems Program and by Grain Farmers of Ontario. 

Canadians, Germans unite to fight Fusarium
Rebecca Hannam
Canadian and German researchers have a shared interest in reducing fusarium toxins in wheat. They’re now collaborating on an international research initiative that will focus on genetic resistance to Fusarium head blight (FHB).

Researchers from the University of Guelph, the University of Manitoba and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are collaborating with German wheat experts from several research institutions, including the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart and the Bavarian State Research Center for Agriculture, to develop wheat cultivars with genetic resistance to FHB.

The researchers hope to develop new cultivars and help producers effectively fight the disease. 

At Guelph’s Ridgetown campus, Dr. Lily Tamburic-Ilincic plays a prominent role in the Canadian portion of the research. She oversees three winter wheat nurseries where Canadian and German breeding lines are tested in field environments to measure Fusarium resistance. Many of these lines have had low FHB symptoms so far, and minute amounts of the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) in harvested grain.

“Sharing results with researchers internationally is important for the big picture of developing future varieties that will improve food safety world-wide,” says Tamburic-Ilincic. 

Research Roundup is provided by members of SPARK (Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge) at the University of Guelph’s Office of Research.  For more information, contact a SPARK writer at 519-824-4120, ext. 52667.

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