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Ontario invests in disease research to improve crop production


July 15, 2019
By Top Crop Manager


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The Ontario government will invest $1.3 million in research to develop new practices and on-farm solutions for field crop, fruit and vegetables farmers to prevent and control crop diseases and pests. The investment aims to boost productivity and profitability for farmers.

“We know plant diseases can be very difficult to deal with and expensive for farmers,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “By giving crop farmers up-to-date information and tools, they can make better decisions to sustain and improve crop health and productivity.”

Through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, the province is funding research projects at the University of Guelph to help optimize production and minimize the damage and economic losses caused by crop diseases and pests on Ontario farms, including:

  • Surveillance for blight management decisions in field tomatoes
  • Investigating the threat of onion thrips to greenhouse floriculture pest management programs
  • Developing approaches to combat Fusarium disease in wheat
  • Assessing management in sugar beets to reduce crop disease
  • Investigating production of a year-round supply of high-quality potatoes for Ontario
  • Improving grape rootstock to prevent winter losses in sensitive areas.

The research into mitigating Fusarium disease in wheat comes at a time when Ontario’s growing season has been hot and humid, favouring the development of Fusarium head blight in wheat.