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Plant Health Resources for Ontario Farmers

Principal Investigator

Mike Cowbrough

Research Institution

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)

External Funding Partners

Funding was provided through the Growing Forward 2 program, a partnership between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and OMAFRA.

Project Start

February 2014

Project End

February 2017


  • Develop resources: Corn Production Guide, Soil Borne Insect Scouting Guide, Pesticide Application Best Practices Manual, Disease Management Scouting Guides (Wheat Disease Identification, White Mould Scouting Card and White Mould Management Guide), A field guide for the management of problem weeds in field crops, A field guide to Ontario weeds, Soybean Disease Management Information Sheets and Scouting Cards and Ontario Soybean Field Crop Guide.
  • Development of new mobile smartphone applications: Pest Manager App, GFO Ontario Insect threshold app, Field Trial Statistics, Orchard Max App, Head’s up app and GFO Spray Record App.


  • A total of 23 tools and resources were developed to help assist Ontario grain farmers in minimizing the impact of insects, diseases and weeds.
  • Three resources created under this project won national awards.
  • The Pest Manager App has been downloaded by over 3,000 users.
  • Field Guides have reached tens of thousands of people and additional print runs have been done to meet the demand.
  • Two of the resources created in this project are being used in post-secondary institutions that teach applied agriculture.

Scientific Summary

A review of Ontario public research reports in the area of plant health (e.g. the minimization of crop yield and quality reduction by insects, diseases and weeds) demonstrates that if information is synthesized and placed in the hands of clients, it will lead to business changes that addresses environmental and climate change outcomes, open markets, enhancement of labour productivity and reduction of plant health risks, thereby increasing profitability. Much of this knowledge has recently been developed for use by primary producers but it still needs to be transferred to them.

This project aimed to synthesize research in the area of plant health and transfer the information to Ontario producers and Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs). These products will be available in both English and French, in print and an e-book. E-books will be available on Grain Farmers of Ontario production page and will be available for free download. These products will be promoted in articles in traditional print media, social media, and face-to-face grower meetings.