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Crop Protection Network: A collaborative resource to deliver field crop research results to farmers

Principal Investigator: Dave Hooker and Albert Tenuta

Research Institution: University of Guelph and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Timeline: April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2023  


  • Expand the Research Update and webinar series to create stakeholder-friendly versions of research outputs and to make soybean check-off research results more accessible and applicable to farmer needs.
  • Expansion and maintenance of the Crop Protection Network (CPN) website, to better support collaborative efforts to further develop field crop protection resources and expand disciplines for the U.S. and Ontario, Canada.
  • Develop and expand the online soybean disease loss estimate tool.
  • Increase engagement of farmers, agronomists, extension specialists, and others with CPN resources, concentrating on promotion through existing Extension/GFO activities and social media.


  • The CPN will provide the framework for swift coordinated responses to emerging diseases/disorders or contentious issues such as the 2020 tar spot confirmation in Ontario or the 2018 corn ear mould/DON epidemic.  The creation of a single, peer-reviewed cooperative platform of research-based information is advantageous since integrated pest management (IPM) tactics used to manage these pests and production issues are similar across wide geographical regions.
  • The extension CPN network of researchers and trial locations will allow for early adoption of new management strategies saving economic losses and increasing sustainability.
  • The CPN model has proven to boost stakeholder awareness and action against diseases/issues and creates a template for information that is easily recognized by farmers as an output created by Extension and supported by the check-off including GFO thereby promoting OMAFRA and GFO activities.

Scientific Summary:

Canada ranks as one of the major soybean, wheat and corn producing countries with a global reputation for quality and high yields.  Unfortunately, yields especially for soybeans as well as corn and wheat are reduced each year due to diseases resulting in unnecessary losses to the producer and the agriculture sector as a whole.  For example, Ontario disease losses for soybeans from 2010 to 2019 averaged 13,274,894 bushels/year at $135,838,614 USD, corn from 2012 to 2019 averaged 26,342,640 bushel losses/year at $107,058,075 USD and for wheat in 2018 averaged 2,689,489 bushels at $13,877,761 USD (  This project aims to build on a previous Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO), North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP) and United Soybean Board project which established the innovative “Crop Protection Network” aimed specifically at improving disease awareness amongst producers and stakeholders thereby reducing not only risk but most importantly economic losses. 

The CPN serves as the infrastructure for large regional multi-state/Ontario field crop Extension outputs across the United States and Ontario. This network is composed of individuals in US Land Grant universities and OMAFRA in Ontario. Since 2015, the CPN has developed extension outputs with the goal of making research information freely accessible and relevant to farmers and industry. Some CPN tools include publications, foliar fungicide efficacy guides, annual disease loss estimates, training for field scouts, and a tool for Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) to earn continuing education units. The CPN also provides an effective responsive infrastructure to quickly create Extension outputs that address current and timely farmer and industry needs.

The focus of this project is the expansion, maintenance, and development of new innovative tools such as the “foliar disease severity training tool” and new disciplines like entomology, thus adding insects to the CPN, to better support collaborative efforts and develop field crop protection resources applicable across wide geographic areas and disciplines for the U.S. and Ontario. The CPN model has been successful, with strong evidence of supporting collaboration among diverse groups in addressing regional crop production priorities and emerging issues such as the recent Ontario confirmation of tar spot in corn.  Tar spot information and research results were proactively developed and available to OMAFRA and GFO through the CPN to aid as well as calm stakeholder fears.

External Funding Partners:

This project is funded by the Canadian Agriculture Partnership (the Partnership), a five-year, $3 billion investment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments.