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Ontario investing nearly $1 million into canola variety development

Researchers at the University of Guelph and Benson Hill Biosystems will work together

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
Farms.com

Ontario is investing $940,924 through the Genomic Applications Partnership Program to help researchers develop new canola varieties.

Researchers from the University of Guelph and Benson Hill Biosystems, an American plant biology organization, will work together to develop the new varieties.

"The University of Guelph is at the cutting edge of agri-science in Canada,” Liz Sandals, MPP for Guelph and President of the Treasury Board, said in a May 26 release. “By supporting projects like this one, the Ontario government is making sure that our farmers and agri-business owners can compete on the global stage.”

Canola contributes about $1.48 billion annually to Ontario’s economy, according to the Canola Council of Canada.

And producers are excited that the government is taking an interest in advanced canola varieties.

“Any development in canola is a positive for our industry,” Hubert Beaudry, vice president of Ontario Canola Growers and a canola producer from Cache Bay, told Farms.com. “I think there is a need for niche markets and niche varieties. With this announcement, I’m sure there’s going to be some positive feedback from the industry.”

There’s one specific pest researchers should keep at top of mind when developing new canola varieties, says Beaudry.

“In northern and central Ontario, we’ve been hit with Swede Midge infestations over the last four years,” he said. The infestations “have caused damage to the point where the acres are down because of it.

“I think there’s need for more study to try overcoming this new pest we’re not used to.”

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