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Research

Investment in research is a long-term strategic initiative of Grain Farmers of Ontario for the benefit of all barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmers. Ontario’s grain farmers have sponsored and participated in decades of practical research that has resulted in economic gains and improved agricultural sustainability for Ontario farmers and the Ontario environment.

Call for Letters of Intent – Open until July 15, 2020

To be considered for funding, all project ideas must be submitted at the LOI stage. If new issues or opportunities arise after LOIs are due and warrant a rapid research response, please contact us and we will consider these on a case by case basis.

Investment in research is a long-term strategic initiative of the Grain Farmers of Ontario. Our goal is to target our research and innovation investments toward opportunities that will enhance our farmer members’ returns. The updated 2020 Grain Farmers of Ontario Research Priorities are available in PDF form and described below.

The purpose of this call for Letters of Intent (LOI) is to allow researchers to convey a project concept with an estimated budget so that Grain Farmers of Ontario has the chance to screen project ideas and provide feedback prior to requesting the full proposals for successful LOIs.

Each year a portion of the $1.8 million research budget is available to fund new projects. For our 2021 Call for Letters of Intent we will be accepting barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat project ideas targeting one or more specific priorities within our four broad priority areas as described in our Research Priorities document: Agronomy & Production; Weed, Disease & Insect Pests; Breeding & Genetics; and Crop Utilization & Crop Quality.

Grain Farmers of Ontario strongly encourages partnerships amongst research institutions and with other funding agencies, where relevant. If you would like to discuss linkages with other funding programs, please give us a call.

For your submission, please complete the Letter of Intent template through the button below. Instructions are found on the cover page within the template. It is important to express specifically how your research idea will benefit Ontario’s barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers, and to use plain language when describing your project.

If there is confidential content within your proposal, please identify the sensitive content clearly with “Confidential” at the beginning of the section.

Timeline for 2021 Call for Research Proposals:

  • LOI intake opens – Monday, June 15, 2020
  • LOI submission deadline – Wednesday July 15, 2020; 4:30pm
  • LOIs reviewed – August 17-18, 2020
  • Researchers notified of LOI outcome – 5-10 business days after review
  • Researchers notified to submit full proposal, 5 – 10 business days after review
  • Full proposal deadline – Monday November 2, at 4:30 pm
  • Full proposals reviewed – December 2020/ January 2021
  • Researchers notified of full proposal outcome – early January/ February 2021

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

Paul Barnard, Research Coordinator: pbarnard@gfo.ca or 519-767-4138

LOI Form & Instructions

Research Priorities

Revised June 2020

Investment in research is a long-term strategic initiative of the Grain Farmers of Ontario for the benefit of all barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers. Ontario’s grain farmers have sponsored and participated in decades of practical research that has resulted in economic gains and improved agricultural sustainability for Ontario farmers and the Ontario environment. Our goal is to target our research and innovation investments toward opportunities that will enhance our farmer members’ returns.

Grain Farmers of Ontario aims to address the research needs for barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat through four overall priority areas: Agronomy and Production; Weed, Disease and Insect Pests; Crop Utilization and Crop Quality; and Breeding and Genetics.  Within each priority area, Grain Farmers of Ontario invests funds in projects of high priority to Ontario farmers, strives to maximize public sector research investment, and encourages private sector research investment.

Each year Grain Farmers of Ontario identifies specific priorities toward which it would like to target increased research investment. This year, Grain Farmers of Ontario is placing a particular emphasis on research proposals targeting the following research priorities:

  • Developing integrated weed management strategies that consider management and prevention of herbicide resistance  and/or biology of specific weed species
  • Developing integrated disease & insect pest management strategies that consider management and prevention of trait and pesticide resistance and/or biology of white mould, SDS, SCN, Gibberella, and Fusarium
  • Quantifying the impact of standard field practices on soil health and developing strategies to profitably improve or maintain soil health
  • Integrating 4R practices for commercial fertilizer with other nutrient sources (e.g., cover crops, manure application, biosolids) (new for 2020)

Other important research priorities are listed for each of the four overall priority areas, below:

Agronomy and Production Priorities

  • Optimizing plant use efficiency and economics of nutrients, particularly nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur (e.g., 4R nutrient stewardship), and validating 4R practices for effectiveness on farm
  • Integrating 4R practices for commercial fertilizer with other nutrient sources (e.g., cover crops, manure application, biosolids) (new for 2020)
  • Improving the environmental sustainability of production practices, particularly as they relate to phosphorous and nitrogen use (e.g., minimizing nutrient losses, water quality protection, energy efficiency)
  • Developing, evaluating, and/or improving resolution of testing procedures to measure key soil health parameters in production of barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat
  • Identifying soil health parameters and practices affecting crop resilience under various stresses
  • Identifying production systems that maximize profit, maintain soil health, and prevent erosion (e.g., factoring in tillage, seeding, and fertility)
  • Developing strategies to minimize and remediate impacts of soil degradation (e.g., soil compaction, loss of soil organic matter, water/tillage erosion, etc. on soil health)
  • Developing a thorough understanding of the economic and environmental benefits and/or detriments of cover crops in field cropping systems
  • Identifying and validating best management practices for effective integration of cover crops into field cropping systems
  • Developing integrated systems approaches to crop management that take into account the interactions among inputs and specific cropping practices, for increased production and sustainability
  • Developing innovative new cropping systems (e.g., intercropping winter wheat and soybeans, relay cropping soybeans into a standing crop, etc.) that provide novel approaches to improving productivity and profitability
  • Developing and validating site-specific/variable rate production practices that improve efficiency of inputs, support ecosystem services, and contribute to overall farmer profitability, demonstrating actual return on investment (ROI)
  • Applying precision agriculture technologies and emerging statistical methods to agronomy research to better understand site-specific agronomy, ultimately supporting site-specific decision support tool development

Weed, Disease, and Insect Pests Priorities

  • Develop integrated weed management strategies that consider management and prevention of herbicide resistance  and/or biology of specific weed species
  • Develop integrated disease & insect pest management strategies that consider management and prevention of trait and pesticide resistance and/or biology of specific diseases and insects
    • Key diseases and insect pests include Fusarium in wheat and barley, Gibberella in corn, white mould, western bean cutworm, soybean cyst nematode (SCN), soybean sudden death syndrome (SDS), corn nematodes and other nematodes, foliar pathogens (e.g., stripe rust, Northern corn leaf blight, powdery mildew, oat crown rust, etc.), seedling diseases, slugs, soybean aphid, and true armyworm
  • Developing effective management strategies for mycotoxin producing pathogens (Gibberella, Fusarium, Penicillium) and associated fungal toxin accumulation (e.g., DON, OTA) in the field and in stored grain
  • Developing strategies to address emerging weeds (e.g., waterhemp, Canada fleabane), disease (e.g., tar spot in corn), and insect pest risks from changing weather patterns and potential foreign introductions
  • Assessing performance of herbicide programs when few control options exist for specific weed species or cropping systems (e.g., non-GM soybeans, wild oat in cereals)
  • Identifying, protecting and promoting beneficial microbes and insects to manage weeds, diseases, parasitic nematodes, and insect pests in cropping systems
  • Surveying and monitoring of weeds, diseases, and insect pests to identify changes in population structure and resistance to pest control strategies
  • Identifying the economic risks to crop production arising from soil insect pest pressure and improving early-season soil insect pest management strategies
  • Developing best management practices for seed treatments and determining their economic value.

Crop Utilization and Crop Quality Priorities

  • Developing rapid, precise, and consistent sampling and testing methods for fungal toxins (e.g., DON) for use on-farm or at the first point of delivery
  • Identifying and characterizing quality and functional parameters relevant to improving specific end uses or identity-preserved market opportunities for barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat
  • Identifying production practices that improve grain quality for specific end uses leading to value-added markets, including feed, food and bioproducts
  • Improving testing and grading technology to provide objective, rapid assessment of grain quality and functionality
  • Developing new bio-products from barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat (e.g., industrial products, fuel, and bio-plastics) linked to existing and emerging market opportunities for use of Ontario grain

Breeding and Genetics Priorities

  • Developing high-yielding, high-quality barley, oat, soybean (GM & non-GM), winter wheat and spring wheat varieties and corn inbreds adapted for Ontario
  • Developing competitive new varieties for value-added, identity-preserved markets
  • Developing genetic resistance to important diseases and insect pests in Ontario including Fusarium in wheat and barley, Gibberella in corn, white mould, western bean cutworm, soybean cyst nematode (SCN), soybean sudden death syndrome (SDS), corn nematodes and other nematodes, foliar pathogens (e.g., stripe rust, Northern corn leaf blight, powdery mildew, oat crown rust, etc.), seedling diseases, soybean aphid, and true armyworm
  • Identifying and breeding for traits that will enable crops to better tolerate environmental stresses (e.g., temperature and water stress)
  • Improving variety performance trials and tools for variety selection

Looking for summaries of current and past funded projects? Click here.

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