Research Roundup

FIND OUT WHAT’S NEW IN THE WORLD OF RESEARCH

Cutworm levels require long-term management strategy
Alycia Moore
The Western bean cutworm, a highly destructive corn and bean pest, first arrived in Ontario in 2008, and it’s spreading. Researchers continue to monitor the situation and are developing a research program which will help producers make the right management decisions for their fields.

“The 2010 growing season was the first time we have seen actual economic levels of the pest,” says Tracey Baute, field crop entomologist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “The larvae feed on the fruit of the crop, which impacts yield but also represents a quality issue.”

This year 436 pheromone traps were set up in Ontario fields. The trap activity provides researchers with information on periods of peak moth activity, so they can then notify the field owners.

“From our monitoring this year we found that the number of moths was much higher, and that peak moth flight occurred 2 to 2.5 weeks earlier than last year. This is evidence that this is a very real, and increasingly problematic pest, and we need to start thinking about proactive management decisions,” says Baute.

Collaborators include Chris Gillard and Jocelyn Smith from the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus. Funding for this research has been provided by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Grain Farmers of Ontario.  •

Germplasm bank opens to Ontario farmers
Alycia Moore
Soybean rust is a new and invasive disease to North America, and no effective resistance has been available in commercial soybean varieties. But that’s about to change. Ontario researchers are working closely with colleagues south of the border to help develop rust-resistant varieties that can be made available to soybean growers everywhere.

Recently, Ontario researchers were given access to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) soybean rust germplasm collection, allowing them the opportunity to introduce special resistant traits into existing and new Ontario lines. 

“This project represents a special opportunity for the entire North American soybean industry, including university groups, researchers, extension and grower groups, to work together to meet the needs of producers,” says Albert Tenuta, Crop Pathologist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), based at the Ridgetown campus of the University of Guelph.  

The new lines incorporated resistance genes derived from screening work conducted at the USDA special bio-containment facilities in Fort Dietrick, Maryland, and have been tested in the USDA soybean rust nursery in Quincy, Florida for the past few years. This research takes place in the southern US because it is important to evaluate the new lines in the areas where disease pressure is at its peak and most diverse. 

And because soybean rust is highly invasive, having access to the contained environment as well as the field location has been beneficial to Ontario soybean breeders. Tenuta anticipates that some of the lines may be available for purchase commercially in the near future. 

Collaborators include Dr. Istvan Rajcan of University of Guelph’s Department of Plant Science; Dr. Elroy Cober, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa; and Dr. Vaino Poysa, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Harrow. The late Dr. Gary Ablett, University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus, was also involved in the study.

US collaborations include David Walker, USDA, Jim Marois from the University of Florida and the North Central Soybean Research Program (David Wright) which provides support and access to the Quincy nursery. 

Funding for this research has been provided by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Grain Farmers of Ontario through the “Growing Forward” Program, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of several Growing Forward programs in Ontario. •

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.

About Ontario Grain Farmer 359 Articles
THE ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER magazine strives to be the number one source of information for our province’s grain farmers. With a balanced mix of production, marketing, technology, research, and general interest articles, we provide farmers with valuable information in an easy-to-read format. As the flagship publication of Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Ontario Grain Farmer is a magazine that is made by farmers, for farmers. The magazine is an important tool that supports the organization’s vision to drive the Ontario grain industry to become a global leader.