AWC - Funded Research

Spotlight on AWC-funded Research

AWC invests in research projects that maximize crop performance. Check out Spotlight on Research, our new publication that highlights AWC-funded projects aimed at boosting your bottom line.

Investing in research that makes sense for farmers 

Click the icons below or type a keyword in the search bar to view AWC-funded research related to your on-farm challenge. Visit our Why invest in research page to learn more about how AWC’s value-added research investments  result in better returns for farmers.    

Investigating crop management options to lessen the impact of fusarium head blight in wheat

The importance of using an integrated approach to lessen the FHB issue has been emphasized to prairie producers and industry over the last 10 years. Unfortunately, producer experiences over the last several years have shown that even when using a…

Development of improved winter wheat cultivars for western Canada

The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Lethbridge Research and Development Centre has a long history of developing superior winter wheat cultivars (primarily Canada Western Red Winter) that enhance competitiveness and reduce business risk for…

Winter wheat breeding and germplasm development for disease resistance

The University of Manitoba winter wheat breeding program is well established. The primary objectives of the wheat breeding program are to develop Canada Western Special Purpose (CWSP) Winter (30% of material) and Canada Western Red Winter (CWRW) …

2017 Alberta Weed Survey

Weed surveys of annual crops have been regularly conducted in the Prairie Provinces since the 1970s. The objectives of this project are to conduct a general and a herbicide-resistant weed survey in Alberta in 2017. The project will document shifts…

The population structure of Fusarium pathogens of small grain cereals, their distribution and relationship to mycotoxins

Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a fungal disease affecting cereal crops in Canada that reduces productivity and produces mycotoxins in the grain. This fungal disease is caused by a number of Fusarium species. In Canada, Fusarium graminearum is considered…

Harrington Seed Destructor Evaluation at Field Scale in Alberta

Herbicide resistance is increasing in severity across the Prairies. New weed management techniques are needed. Harvest Weed Seed Control (HWSC) is a form of weed control from Australia focussed on managing seeds dispersed by combines. The Harrington…

Development of a multiplex RT-immunoPCR assay and biosensor for the early detection of airborne fungal spores in cereal crops

This project aims to develop a rapid and sensitive method to identify and quantify multiple disease-causing airborne fungal spores in producers’ fields. The method uses antibody-coated microspheres coupled with PCR amplification, to take advantage…

Pesticide impact on soil microbiome: an opportunity to identify microbial candidates for inoculation and field bio-augmentation

This project aims to study the impact of pesticides on soil microbiome under cereal production and identify/isolate microbes thriving under pesticide use and investigate their potential as pesticide degraders. Soil microbes from long-term rotation…

Revisiting the Value of Early Fungicide Applications in Wheat

Fusarium head blight and leaf diseases have become a serious threat to Alberta wheat growers. To manage leaf disease, some growers apply a sub-lethal rate of fungicide tank-mixed with herbicide at early growth stages. Growers consider this as a convenient,…

An efficient system to identify virulence patterns of stripe rust in Canada

Stripe rust is a destructive disease of wheat worldwide; combated mainly through growing resistant varieties. Because rust changes in virulence over a short period of time, constantly looking for non-defeated resistance sources is critical. This is…

Identifying resistance to tan spot disease in winter and durum wheat

Tan spot is a destructive foliar disease of wheat that can damage growing plants anytime during crop development causing millions of dollars in losses. It affects nearly all common and durum wheat cultivars available to Canadian farmers; however,…

Effector based screening for leaf spot complex in Canada

Wheat leaf spot disease complex is widespread across western Canada, and is composed of several fungal pathogens. Two diseases predominate mainly, tan spot and Stagonospora blotch. Each disease is caused by one fungal pathogen and each pathogen produces…

Nanocarrier technology for the next generation of cereal seed Treatments

Our aim is to develop seed coat technology containing nanocarrier complexed RNAi for the suppression of smut and bunt diseases in cereals. Such technology will reduce our dependency on toxic fungicides, resulting in healthier soil microbiomes. This…

Beneficial insects in Prairie crops: quantifying the value and vulnerability of biological pest control

Crop fields support hundreds of insect species, the vast majority of which are not pests. "Beneficials" eat pest insects and weed seeds, pollinate crops, and cycle nutrients. However, most insecticide use targeted at pests harms beneficials and the…

Upcycling a defeated disease resistance R gene of wheat

Given the limited number of effective stripe rust resistance genes available and the ability of the stripe rust pathogen to evolve and defeat current resistance genes, the future looks grim for deployment of effective and sustainable resistance in…

Premium quality hard red winter wheat for western Canada

Winter wheat (WW) production in Western Canada is much lower than current cultivars and agronomic practices would support. With higher grain yield than spring wheat and lower production costs, greater WW acreage could enhance profits, exports, land…

Best management practices to support the adoption of an ultra-early wheat seeding system across broad-acres in Western Canada

The development of an ultra-early wheat seeding system in western Canada began over five years ago with proof of concept and screening work in Guelph, Ontario and Lethbridge, Alberta. Since then the system has begun to take shape with several milestone…

Expansion of in vitro selection to develop FHB and leaf spot resistant wheat and barley

Plant diseases are responsible for at least 10% of yield losses in global food production. Incidence and severity of two important cereal crop diseases, Fusarium head blight (FHB) and tan spot, are increasing with the impacts of climate change. FHB…

Managing wireworms in southern Alberta wheat fields with crop rotations and beneficial insects

Wireworms are a soil-dwelling pest that attacks wheat seeds and seedlings. The pest has re-emerged as a problem across Canada in wheat and other crops such as potato. This project will contribute to the integrated pest management (IPM) in Alberta…

Genomic Strategies to Improve Field Survival of Winter Cereals and Stabilized Yield

Production of winter wheat on the Canadian Prairies is perceived risky as current cultivars have insufficient low temperature tolerance to guarantee consistent winter survival. Breeding for higher cold hardiness in winter wheat has become very difficult,…

Scale Up and Validation of a Low-Cost Paper-Based Test for Mycotoxins

A simple, paper based mycotoxin testing platform was created previously to detect mycotoxins that may contaminate major food crops. This 3 year research proposal aims to upgrade the platform for use in farms, grain elevators, and for processor testing.…

Integrated Management of Stripe Rust in Wheat for Alberta

This 3 year research project aims to monitor incidence and severity of stripe rust in Alberta through annual surveys, determining the virulence of prevalent wheat races, and identification and characterizing new sources of resistance including introgression…

Development of spring wheat (SWS and GP) with higher yield potential for Alberta's bio-economy

Increasing cereal competitiveness is an important priority to the grains and livestock sector of Alberta. New high yielding wheat lines can be developed specifically for various growing regions (north, central, and south) of Alberta if selection in…

The genetics of early maturity as it relates to high yield in the development and breeding of hard red spring wheat for Alberta

Understanding the basis of early maturity in wheat may lessen the use of herbicides through improved competition with weeds, and may also improve the quality of harvested wheat. This research will use techniques of both conventional quantitative and…

Genetics and improvement of FHB in spring wheat

Several management and cultural practices, host plant resistance, chemical and biological control measures have been suggested to control Fusarium head blight (FHB). However, genetic resistance is considered to be the most effective and environment…

Fusarium graminearum in Alberta wheat and corn: how bad is it really?

Fusarium graminearum is a regulated pest listed on the Alberta Pests Act. There is evidence that the distribution and severity of F. graminearum in Alberta is increasing. It is difficult to accurately pinpoint F. graminearum distribution from seed…

Biology and control of foxtail barley

Foxtail barley is a difficult to control weed that can be managed within a competitive crop rotation, but location in saline areas tends to decrease crop competition, making growers more dependent on chemical control. This research project proposes…

Plant Growth Regulators: barley, oat, and wheat variety specificity and appropriate timing for new PGRs

This 3 year project will identify which varieties of wheat, oat, and barley are affected by Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs), and whether PGRs are useful applications for lodging resistance. Timing for PGR application will also be assessed. PGRs are…

Fighting rust fungal crop threats through integrated genomics research

This 4 year project will analyze 60 Canadian wheat genomes, combined with comparative analysis of available stem and stripe rust information, to select for important virulence factors against wheat. These genomic information will allow for future…

Improvement in wheat carbon flux for increased yield and harvest index

This 4 year project proposes to increase grain yield by manipulating the cellular carbon flux to improve productivity in wheat varieties. By using genome editing technology, the primary regulatory enzyme (mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase complex…

Development of synthetic food bait traps to monitor multiple cutworm pests and minimize bee by-catch

This 3 year proposal aims to develop a trap to monitor cutworms (a pest species that damages several Canadian crops). The goal of this research is to create a food-based lure to attract both sexes of multiple species of cutworm, but not bee pollinators.…

An integrated approach to FHB Management in Alberta

This proposed research will investigate an integrated approach to disease management using readily-adoptable agronomic practices alone or in combination to identify management practices that have the greatest impact on FHB severity and losses in southern…

Coordinated surveillance, forecasting and risk warning systems for field crop insect pests of the prairie ecosystem

Insect pest of field crops in western Canada fall into three categories: (i) native insects such as grasshoppers ( all crops), wheat stem sawfly (cereals), lygus (broadleaf crops); (ii) invasive alien species such as wheat midge (wheat and triticales),…

Development of premium quality western Canadian winter wheat

This project will develop winter wheat varieties for Alberta and all of western Canada with CWRS-like quality characteristics while increasing/maintaining yield, winter survival and disease resistance. The goal is to reduce and ultimately eliminate…

Performance and cost of field scouting for weeds and diseases using imagery obtained with an unmanned aerial vehicle

Civilian uses for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are rapidly expanding as the technology is becoming more affordable. Today’ s most common UAVs for professional use are capable of payloads of 1-5 kg, have flight times of 15-30 min. and ranges…

Use of antifungal lipids in crop protection

This project aims to determine whether antifungal lipids are an economically viable alternative to current fungicides in crop protection. Based on the high specific activity of these hydroxy fatty acids, improved control of phytopathogens by antimicrobial…

In vitro selection: rapid screening and development of FHB and DON resistant wheat

Fusarium head blight (FHB), also known as ‘scab’, is a devastating disease of cereal crops caused by a necrotrophic fungus, Fusarium graminearum and related species. The fungus produces trichothecene toxins (including deoxynivalenol) that…

Developing new high yield wheat varieties (CPS and GP), for milling, the animal feed and ethanol industry in Alberta

This proposal provides stable funding to the high yield spring wheat breeding program at the UofA, supporting the long-term objectives of developing cultivars with high yield, early maturity and disease resistance. This funding is needed to provide…

Expanding Albertan capacity for HRS breeding and the education of future scientists

This project supports continued research and development activities of the Canadian Western Hard Red Spring (CWRS) wheat breeding program at the University of Alberta. The overall objectives of this research are to develop new CWRS cultivars selected…

Biology and Management of Glyphosate-Resistant Kochia

In 2012 and 2013 numerous other fields were confirmed to contain glyphosate-resistant kochia in Alberta and south-western Saskatchewan. There are >50 confirmed glyphosate-resistant kochia sites at this time. Thus, it is quite evident that glyphosate-resistant…