FIND OUT WHAT’S NEW IN THE WORLD OF RESEARCH
High oil soybeans in the works
In the search for greener, alternative fuels, soybeans are among Ontario’s most available, renewable and cheapest sources of oil for biodiesel production. However, the main drawback is that most domestically grown soybean varieties only contain about 20 percent oil, compared to other oils such as canola (44 percent) or sunflower (50 to 55 percent).
A research team from the University of Guelph, led by Dr. Istvan Rajcan from Plant Agriculture, is working towards new soybean varieties that will have 23 to 25 percent oil. Rajcan and his team tracked down several soybean varieties known to have higher-than-average oil content, and then crossed these breeds to create new varieties aimed at the 25-percent mark.
“Higher oil will lead to more cost-effective biodiesel production and greatly increase the value of soybean crops,” says Rajcan. He hopes to have new varieties ready for registration in two to three years.
Also involved in this study was Master’s student Golsa Samii Saket and current Ph.D. candidate Mehrzad Eskandari.
Rajcan’s research receives funding from the Grain Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Alternative Renewable Fuels program. •
Targeting weed control in winter wheat
Controlling problem weeds in winter wheat is one of the research pursuits of Dr. Peter Sikkema at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus. Sikkema has his sights on the most effective herbicides for controlling giant ragweed, spreading atriplex, chickweed, dandelion and Canada fleabane.
Sikkema and his research group have found that the most effective herbicides for the control of giant ragweed are 2,4-D at 97 percent control, Target at 96 percent, MCPA at 95 percent, Lontrel at 93 percent, Estaprop at 92 percent and Trophy at 90 percent.
Refine M, Infinity and Estaprop all provided greater than 90 percent control of spreading atriplex. Trophy and Refine M are the products of choice for chickweed control in winter wheat while Infinity and Estaprop provided the best control of dandelions.
In preliminary studies, Infinity, Lontrel, Target and 2,4-D all provided greater than 90 percent control of Canada fleabane.
Most of Sikkema’s research has taken place in farmers’ fields in the Essex, Kent and Lambton counties. His research is funded by Grain Farmers of Ontario, BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dupont, Monsanto and Syngenta, as well as CanAdvance for Sikkema’s research on the control of problem weeds in wheat, corn and soybeans. •
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.