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Research Committee Reports

Agriculture Wildlife Conflict Working Group – Birgit Martin

The AWCWG held its standard spring and fall meetings as a “forum to share and learn more about best practices, emerging issues and trends related to the management and mitigation of agriculture-wildlife conflict in Ontario.”

On April 26 2023, the working group received updates on the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program (OWDCP) statistics and payments to livestock producers that experienced death losses. The Terms of Reference for the working group were also revisited in order to clarify the mandate of the group and the expected input and outcomes of the group and its members. (The working group has representatives from all of the major Ontario commodity groups, OSCIA, Anglers and Hunters, Conservation Ontario, the major farm organizations and several government ministries and agencies.)

On September 28 2023 the working group again received updates on the OWDCP and reviewed the updated Terms of Reference of the AWCWG. The group also heard presentations from OMAFRA and the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative on the Highly Pathogenic (H5N1) Avian Influenza. OMAFRA’s James Dyck also presented “Bird Control in Crops: a Primer” which covered strategies to prevent crop losses to bird damage. 

Bird Control in Crops: A Primer

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.

Tracey Baute continues to be the chair and continues to do an excellent job.  We had 3 virtual meetings.

Once again the Corn Rootworm (CRW) resistance situation continues to dominate the group discussions.  Although incidences of Unexpected Injury (UXI) is low , the concern is that it could be the start of something larger and the encouragement of  best management practices should be employed to ward off that possibility.  There were 65 traps in Ontario in 2023 and more than 250 in North America.

There is a Corn Stalk Destruction trial in Eastern Ontario to assess that the ECB mortality rate.

Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) for CRW management research for “bio-control are still being tested in parts of Ontario this past year.

I look forward to continued participation on this committee.

Ontario Cereal Crops Committee (OCCC) – Dave Schraa

No report is currently available.

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 “licencing agent for Ontario. A corn breeding program was started.  And in fact the first Canadian-Bred hybrids 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 licencing of corn hybrids, but the OCC continued to test corn hybrids as farmers had now put great value in the 3rd party opinions. And the continues do testing in 20 different sites.

There were 2 virtual meetings in 2023 to review the trial set up, review the results as well as reviewing the finances of the OCC.

Ben Rosser continues to do an excellent job at Chair person.  Scott Banks has assumed full Secretarial duties after taking over from Dave Morrison.   We welcomed Paul Sullivan, CCA-ON to the board as representative from the Certified Crop Advisors of Ontario.

There was concern over the number of tweets quoting performances of specific hybrids in the trials.  It was concluded that our bylaws permitted this provided that OCC got credit for the work that they have done in the provincial trials.

Discussion was around the cost of the individual weather stations at each site, cost of maintenance and reliability of the data if maintenance was not performed.  It was decided that to use Davis Weather station network for the rainfall and Weather data.

Again there were excellent yields were recorded in all trial Preliminary OCC .

For results of the trials please go to

Ontario Pulse Crop Committee (OPCC) – Phil Oegema

The Ontario Pulse Crop Committee (OPCC) is a listing board for Pulse Crops in Ontario.  OPCC has the authority to recommend registration of various Pulse Crop varieties based on their agronomic properties as well as market suitability.  OPCC met on February 8, 2023.

Of primary discussion was whether OPCC should move to become a listing system rather than act a gate keeper for varieties entering the market place.  Robust discussion was had on the pros and cons of moving to a listing system, the primary concern being the protection of producers from poor varieties being pushed into the market place.

A sub committee was struck to make a recommendation to the full committee.

The committee approved financial statements, reviewed correspondence

Testing procedures  and trial guidelines were updated.

Ontario Soybean & Canola Committee (OSCC) – Chad Quinlan

The Ontario Soybean and Canola Committee (OSACC) met for the annual meeting on January 25, 2023.  OSCIA is a voting member of OSACC whose primary responsibility it is to perform research trials on soybean and canola varieties.  These research and variety trials are for the benefit of Ontario farmers selecting conventional and GM varieties to grow on their farm.  These trials cover a wide geography, from the Ridgetown area up to New Liskeard. 

On the canola front: 46,506 acres of canola were insured by Agricorp in 2022.  Winter Canola continues to see interest in Ontario with over 10,000 acres under insurance through Agricop.  There were reports of successful double crop soybeans after winter canola in the southern parts of Ontario.  Interest in winter canola continues to grow.

On the soybean front, over 3 million acres of soybeans were grown in 2022, with an agricorp average of 48 bu/ac.

Business of the meeting: Financial reports were given and approved by the committee.  A sub committee was struck to investigate whether OSACC should become a not for profit entity.  Various sundry items of OSACC Operations were discussed.


Ontario Soil Management Research & Services Committee – Gord Speksnijder

In 2023, the Ontario Soil Management and Research Services Committee (OSMRSC) continued to build on recommendations from a working group tasked to examine the purpose, structure, and first orders of business for the Committee. Discussions have led to a re-branding of the Committee, which is now known as the Ontario Soil Management Committee (OSMC). A standing Parent Committee, with OMAFRA representative, will oversee operations. The Soil Lab Committee will also stand. Sub-committees will be formed as needed to address emerging issues in the areas of Field Crops, Horticulture/Specialty Crops, Waste Utilization, and Soil Health. OMAFRA will assign representatives to these sub-committees as appropriate to maintain open lines of communication and consistency throughout OSMC activities. Several working groups have been struck to:

  • Review/revise the Parent Committee Mandate and Terms of reference
  • Review/revise OSMC membership list
  • Review/revise data requirements, research protocols, and timelines for making new soil fertility recommendations, and for reviewing existing recommendations
  • Improve communications around OSMC’s role and to help end-users better understand how fertility recommendations are made and how to apply them on farm

OSMC considers new research and input from stakeholders (including resolutions brought forward to OSCIA from membership) to inform OMAFRA’s soil fertility recommendations. The goal is to apply more scientific rigour to those recommendations and broaden the lens under which they are scrutinized to ensure that, beyond yield, economic and environmental sustainability are considered. Increased effort is being made to stay abreast of relevant research and to identify what research needs to be done to ensure the right information is available to make the right soil fertility recommendations. Researchers are regularly invited to OSMC meetings to present their findings, discuss where their research programs should go next, and how new information on soil health and fertility will get into the hands of Ontario farmers.

Ontario Weeds Committee (OWC) – Brady Jones

The Ontario Weed Committee conducted its Spring Update Meeting on April 18th, 2023. The agenda included introducing new committee leaders, discussing plans for the 2023 season, and providing updates on several topics. Key points included:

  1. Leadership Introduction:
    • Leanne Freitag, OWC Chair, began the meeting. Her term started in November 2022, ending in November 2025. Marijke Vanderlaan, the current vice chair, will become the chair in November 2025.
  2. Summer Weed Tour:
    • Scheduled for July 13, 2023, at the Elora Research Station.
    • Previous tour success led to plans for the 2023 tour, with proposed trial stops and support for graduate student participation.

Request for the 2023 Weed’s Tour Include:

  • The Herbicide injury plots – for OAC weeds team training
  • Cover Crop Interseeding and sensitivity to corn herbicides.
  • Graduate Student Projects

3. Updates on Crop Protection Hub and Weed Database:

  • Key features of the Crop Protection Hub were discussed, including URL sharing, herbicide search filters, sorting options, and a resistant weed database.
  • Plans involve creating a print solution, converting the site into a progressive web app, and optimizing mobile use.
  • Participants raised questions about mobile optimization, the future of the Pest Manager app, and the process for updating herbicide-resistant weed cases.
  • Plans for the Pest Manager app’s update was discussed, and a submission page for data updates on the hub was mentioned.
  1. Herbicide Resistant Weed Testing:
    • Kristen Obeid shared updates on the molecular testing project for 2023, highlighting new cases of herbicide-resistant species, including Group 14 resistant pigweed and common ragweed.
    • Dose response testing results for suspected Group 14 resistant common ragweed were presented.

Dr. Sikkema summary:

  • 8 Populations sent in.
  • Six populations from Bruce County, two from the Ottawa Valley.
  • 80-100% of plants survived.
  • Repeated twice
  • All runs provided comparable results

5. AgRobotics Updates:

  • Kristen Obeid shared information on AgRobotics projects, including Farm Droid (Denmark) and Orio (Naio) involvement in the Holland Marsh project (in carrot, Onions, Beets), Carbon Robotics laser weeder in Chatham-Kent, and Ted (Naio) robot will be working in a Niagara vineyard.
  • An autonomous scouting project at Elora, focusing on pigweed and nightshade identification in Lima beans, was highlighted.

Leanne Freitag, Chair, concluded the meeting, announcing the next Weed Tour on July 13th, 2023, at the Elora Research Station.

On November 8, 2023, the Ontario Weeds Committee hosted there Fall Meeting. It was in person and virtually.

The first Presentation of the day was Confirmation of HPPD-Inhibitor Resistance in Redroot Pigweed by Isabelle Aicklen, François Tardif, University of Guelph

Project Background:

  • Conducted at a field site in seed corn production.
  • Historical poor control of redroot pigweed with PSII-inhibitors (atrazine and bromoxynil) and HPPD-inhibitors (mesotrione).
  • Significant herbicide limitations in seed corn production, with this site being one of many with poor control.

Redroot Pigweed:

  • Belongs to the Amaranthaceae family.
  • Native to South America.
  • Small-seeded, summer annual, broadleaf weed.
  • Monoecious – male and female reproductive organs on the same plant.

Competitive Traits:

  • Prolific seed producer.
  • Enhanced seed viability.
  • Reduces crop yields.
  • C4 photosynthesis.


  • Disrupt electron flow to PSII by binding to D1 protein.
  • Different binding sites between bromoxynil and atrazine.
  • Symptoms include marginal and interveinal chlorosis followed by necrosis, starting in older tissue.


  • Disrupt pigment formation by reducing synthesis of phytoene desaturase.
  • Essential for carotenoid production.
  • Result in bleaching followed by necrosis, starting in the growing point.

Herbicide Resistance in Amaranthus Species:

  • Resistance to PSII-inhibitors widespread, including atrazine and bromoxynil.
  • Resistance to HPPD-inhibitors confirmed, including mesotrione.
  • The presented case is the first HPPD-inhibitor resistance in redroot pigweed in Canada, second globally, confirming multiple herbicide resistance.

Preliminary Screening:

  • Seeds collected from the field were screened with the label rate of herbicides.
  • Survivors were grown out for seed for subsequent studies.
  • Herbicides Tested:
    • Atrazine
    •  Bromoxynil
    •  Mesotrione
  • ED50 values compared for resistant (R) and known susceptible (S) redroot pigweed populations through dose-response curves.


  • First case of HPPD-inhibitor resistance in redroot pigweed in Canada, second globally.
  • Confirmed multiple herbicide resistance.
  • Further research needed to identify mechanisms of resistance, including pre-treatment with cytochrome P450 inhibitors.


  • Rich Anderson (BASF Canada Inc.) for providing the field site and plant material.
  • Peter Smith and University of Guelph summer students for assistance.
  • Research sponsors:
    • Bayer CropScience
    • Ontario Agri-Food Innovation

The next speaker of the Day was Marinda DeGier, MSc Candidate, Co-Advisors: Dr. Eric Page, Dr. François Tardif on:  Evaluating a Relay Intercrop with Soybean and Winter Canola in Ontario

Previous research:

  • involved winter camelina relay intercropped into soybeans.
  • Aims to enhance annual cropping system sustainability, reduce soil erosion, and increase productivity on the same land.

Research Aim:

  • Determine the impact of application method and winter canola planting date timing on the establishment, development, and yield of soybean and winter canola within a relay intercrop system.


  • Planting winter canola early will result in larger plants that overwinter successfully for adequate yielding winter canola.

Treatments & Environments:

Winter Canola Application Methods:

  • Broadcast
  • Plant

Planting Date:

  • Early (+7 days)
  • Mid
  • Late (-7 days)


  • No statistical difference in soybean yield across treatments.
  • Higher winter canola plant population as planting date was delayed.
  • No statistical difference in winter canola population across application methods.
  • Lower risk of winterkill when winter canola is planted early.
  • Winter canola yield is highest with early planting date.

Take Home Message:

  • Timely planting of winter canola is essential to mitigate winterkill risk.
  • Equipment modification is crucial for successful relay intercrop systems.
  • Relay intercropping can be an option for producers looking to diversify their rotation by including winter canola.


  • Committee: Dr. Joshua Nasielski & Meghan Moran.
  • Technicians: Peter Smith, Alyssa Thibodeau, and Sydney Meloche.
  • Mike Cowbrough, Weeds Lab, and AAFC summer students.
  • Funding Partners:
    • Ontario Canola Growers
    • Grain Farmers of Ontario
    • Rubisco Seeds

Last presentation of the Day was Effect of PRE Corn-Herbicides on Interseeded Cover Crops

Presented by François Tardif, Peter Smith, Mike Cowbrough


  • Determine the safety of various PRE residual herbicides on six cover crop species when interseeded into corn.


  • Some growers interseed cover crops in corn, done at V4-V6.
  • Residual PRE herbicides may cause injury.


  • Funding received from GFO, Ontario Agrifood Innovation Alliance, and NSERC.
  • Herbicide selection based on market share and relevancy.
  • Summers 2020, 2021, 2022
  • Six cover crop species chosen:
    • Oilseed Radish
    • Red Clover
    • White Clover
    • Oats
    • Winter Rye
    • Winter Triticale


  • Done in late June when corn is at about six leaf stage.
  • Cover crops were drilled in.

Sensitivity Variation:

  • Sensitivity varied based on species and herbicides.
  • Results influenced by site conditions.

General Observations:

  • Cover crops are put under an incredibly stressful environment.
  • Species respond differently, and there can be variable performance.
  • 2020 – Oats were decimated by rust
  • 2022 – Triticale + Rye established quick, but suffered from drought + shading = dried out
  • 2022- Oats did great
  • Clovers, always slow to start, but did well in 2022 due to late rains.


  • Growers need to accept some potential for variable performance.
  • Safer herbicides may not provide the highest weed control.

Thanks to:

  • GFO
  • Ontario AgriFood Innovation Alliance
  • Shania Van Herk
  • Emily Priester