Past Projects

Cluster 2 Projects

Funded under Cluster 2, a research program led by CHC and generously funded by nearly 50 industry partners and AgriInnovation, an AAFC Growing Forward 2 initiative that provides funding and/or resources to organizations supporting pre-commercialization research, development and knowledge transfer leading to innovative agriculture, agri-food and agri-based practices, processes and products.

For additional information on project details and results, please contact Amy Argentino, Manager, Projects and Programs (

Apple Research

Optimizing Storage Technologies to Improve Efficiency, Reduce Energy Consumption, and Extend the Availability of Canadian Apples for Domestic and Export Markets

Lead Researcher: Jennifer DeEll, Fresh Market Quality Program Lead (Hort Crops) for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

The research is aimed at optimizing storage regimes and utilizing the available multiple storage technologies to improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and extend the availability of Canada apples for domestic and export markets.

Project Objectives

  • To investigate the development of external CO2 injury in ‘Empire’ apples during storage room loading;
  • To determine the effects of cooling rate and SmartFresh technology

Improving Tree Fruit Storage Management Using Weather Based Predictions of Fruit Quality at Harvest

Lead Researcher: Gaétan Bourgeois, PhD, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec

Project Objectives

  • Create an inventory of data from the industry and previous projects on apple fruit quality at harvest and physiological storage disorders after harvest of major cultivars;
  • Acquire additional data on apple fruit quality and physiological storage disorders of major cultivars;
  • Evaluate existing bioclimatic models of apple fruit quality and physiological storage disorders and develop/update additional ones;
  • Implement the bioclimatic models in a weather-based computer system in order to provide timely information and to obtain rapid feedback from the apple fruit industry.

Progress Reports

Performance of Honeycrisp on New Size-Controlling Rootstocks

Lead Researcher: John A. Cline, PhD University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario
Collaborator: John Zandstra University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus

This research project will focus on development of science-based recommendations on the effectiveness of new apple rootstocks.

Project Objectives

  • Measure the precocity and performance of new size-controlling rootstocks and to compare these against industry standard;
  • Determine rootstock effects on calcium disorders, whole tree physiology, and fruit storage potential;
  • Assess the productivity of more vigorous rootstocks with a close examination of graft union compatibility.

Progress Reports

New Biological Control Agents for Postharvest Diseases of Pome Fruit

Lead Researcher: Louise Nelson, PhD University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
Collaborators: Deena Errampalli, PhD Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Vineland, Ontario
Jennifer DeEll, PhD Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Danielle Hirkala, PhD British Columbia Tree Fruits Cooperative
Bill Wolk, PhD British Columbia Tree Fruits Cooperative Peter Toivonen, PhD Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Summerland, British Columbia

The objectives of this project are to test the bacterial antagonists in storage trials in order to assess their potential for commercial development.

Project Objectives

To determine

  • The efficacy of the bacterial antagonists under varying storage conditions with different fruit varieties;
  • The optimal concentrations and timing of application of the antagonists;
  • The effect of the antagonists on fruit quality;
  • The performance of the antagonists alone or in combination with other chemical control methods, and
  • The suitability of the antagonists for commercial development.

Progress Reports

Development of External CO2 Injury in ‘Empire’ Apples during Storage Room Loading

Lead Researcher: Jennifer DeEll, Fresh Market Quality Program Lead (Hort Crops) for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

The research is aimed at optimizing storage regimes and utilizing the available multiple storage technologies to improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and extend the availability of Canada apples for domestic and export markets.

Project Objectives

  • To investigate the development of external CO2 injury in ‘Empire’ apples during storage room loading;
  • To determine the effects of cooling rate and SmartFresh technology

Progress Report

Potato Research

Understanding of Potato Virus Y Complex in Canada and Development of a Comprehensive On-Farm Management Strategy

Lead Researcher: Mathuresh Singh, PhD Potatoes New Brunswick Agricultural Certification Services, Fredericton, New Brunswick
Collaborators: Provincial potato grower organizations and extension specialists

This project will provide information on Potato Virus Y in order to improve understanding and enable industry to manage the virus more effectively.

Project Objectives

  • Use molecular, serological and biological methodologies to unveil the strain status and variant population of PVY (Potato Virus Y) in Canadian potatoes;
  • Characterize any strain/isolate not reported in Canada to develop methodology for its detection;
  • Investigate, characterize and document the response of commonly grown potato cultivars to various strains of PVY that are widely distributed in North America;
  • Investigate and assess the effect of mineral oil applied at different rates and times, and in combination with insecticides, against PVY transmission by aphids;
  • Develop new tools for reducing PVY incidence in seed potatoes, such as:
    • A BMP package could be developed to help growers to reduce virus inoculums.
    • Data on current season spread in different cultivars at different locations.
    • A model could be developed to predict virus load in a particular lot based on current season spread, aphid population and management practices used.
    • A management tool could be developed to help growers to reduce virus inoculum and making decision on their crop to top kill/not to top kill in case of low or high virus situations

Progress Reports

Wireworm Control in Potatoes and Strategic Rotational Crops in Canada

Lead Researcher: Robert S. Vernon, PhD Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Agassiz, British Columbia

Collaborators: Christine Noronha, PhD Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Charlottetown, PEI
Todd Kabaluk, MSc Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Agassiz, British Columbia
Ian Scott, PhD Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, London, Ontario

This research project addresses key concerns with wireworm control in potatoes and strategic rotational crops in Canada.

Project Objectives

  • Conduct harmonized annual efficacy studies at multiple sites involving key wireworm species for current season reduction of wireworm populations and damage to potatoes;
  • Evaluate spring and/or fall planted wheat seed treatment with insecticidal blends for reduction of wireworm populations in strategic rotations prior to planting potatoes. Determine optimal timing and best planting practices for removal of resident and neonate wireworm populations;
  • Evaluate the efficacy of a biofumigant (mustard seed-meal) as a soil amendment for wireworm control;
  • Complete the development of a wireworm trap and method for its use in determining the level of risk that wireworms pose to potato production. Transfer the use of trap and monitoring method to professional pest managers for efficient application to potato farming;
  • Continue a national wireworm survey to determine the spatial distribution and field overlap of key wireworm pest species attacking field crops. Produce comprehensive regional wireworm distribution maps to aid in the selection of most appropriate control options for site-specific use in IPM programs.
    Create a new formulation of pheromone and use it to develop an attract and kill approach for wireworm control by targeting click beetles.

Progress Reports

Development of a Rapid and Sensitive Triplex Nested Real-time PCR Method for Quantification of Verticillium in Soil

Lead Researcher: Mario Tenuta, PhD University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Collaborator: Fouad Daayf, PhD University of Manitoba

This project is aimed at improving on existing methods for quantification of Verticillium in soil which cannot separate the amount of V. species damaging to potato or canola and are subject to wide variation in analyses results due to subtle inconsistencies in laboratory reagents to rear the pathogens.

Project Objectives

  • Develop a fast and accurate method for the quantification of V. dahliae (a pathogen of potato and other Canadian crops such as tomato, alfalfa and sunflower) and V. longisporum (a pathogen of canola and other mustard family crops) in soil for Canadian potato growers.
  • Adapt the method to a commercial laboratory setting to provide fast enough turnaround of analyses that producers can decide on control options prior to planting their crop.

Progress Reports

Zebra Chip and Potato Psyllid Survey and Monitoring

Lead Scientist: Dan Johnson, PhD University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta

Collaborators: Larry Kawchuk, PhD Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, Alberta Scott Meers Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

This project focuses on a new disease, zebra chip, and disease vector, Potato Psyllid, that may threaten economic losses for the Canadian potato industry.

Project Objectives

  • Conduct field surveys and network contacts aimed at generating new data on occurrence of the zebra chip disease agent and the psyllid insect vector in Canada;
  • Refine laboratory test methods and field sampling methods;
  • Apply new data on zebra chip in Canada, if found, and adaptation of methods and biology from areas of known infestation to develop and field-test sampling and monitoring protocols;
  • Develop an on-line, GIS-based method of summarizing and rapidly disseminating field monitoring results;
  • Develop practical PC-based computer modelling methods for simulating development of the stages of the psyllid insects;
  • Undertake a literature survey of research results and control programs, relating to zebra chip and potato psyllid;
  • Develop a statistical modelling study of possible spatial patterns, variances and age structures that could be appear, and the best practices for sampling them reliably and efficiently.

Progress Report

Nitrogen Management for Improved Yield, Quality and Profitability of Potato

Lead Research: Mario Tenuta, PhD University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Collaborator: Michelle Konshuch, PhD Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

This study will examine the nitrogen fertilizer practices of timing, placement and form, to improve nitrogen use efficiency and economics of potato production. The project will be undertaken in two phases: Phase 1 will evaluate treatments encompassing a range of timing, placement and nitrogen source practices; Phase 2 will take the most effective of the treatments and improve on the combination of timing, placement and form practices.

Project Objectives

  • Determine optimal timing, placement and source of Nitrogen fertilizers for irrigated potato;
  • Determine the impact of Nitrogen mineralization of soil on potato response to fertilizer additions;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of monitoring plant Nitrogen status to adjust fertigation additions.

Progress Report

Canadian Potato Variety Evaluation Program

Research Lead: Mary Kay Sonier

Collaborators and Institutions

  • PEI: David Main, Research Biologist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Charlottetown
    Zenaida Ganga, PhD, Research Scientist, Cavendish Farms
  • Québec: Andre Gagnon and Sophie Massie, Progest Inc.
  • Ontario: Allan Sullivan, PhD, and Vanessa Currie, University of Guelph Sam Squire, Agricultural Consultant Rickey Yada, PhD, Reena Pinhero, PhD, University of Guelph Manitoba Darin Gibson, Gaia Consulting Ltd. Alberta Michele Konschuh, PhD,
  • Alberta: Agriculture and Rural Development British Columbia Heather Meberg, E.S.Cropconsult Ltd.

Project Objectives

This activity includes 7 areas of sub-activity:

  • PEI – Variety evaluation: adaptation and yield trials & development of management profile of selected promising varieties.
  • QC – Potato varieties and line evaluation
  • ON – Variety Development; Nutrient Quality Evaluation of Processing and Table Stock Potatoes
  • MB – Evaluation and Adaptation of French Fry Potato Varieties
  • AB – Variety Evaluation
  • BC – Variety Evaluation

Progress Report

Other Projects

Funded under AgriInnovation, an AAFC Growing Forward 2 initiative that provides financial and technical assistance for research and development activities that bring innovation to the sector; and for projects that help industry bring the results of research and development to market through adoption/commercialization.

Funded under AgriMarketing, an AAFC Growing Forward 2 initiative that provides project-based funding to non-profit organizations and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) for promotional and market development activities.

  • Market Development for the Canadian Potato Industry

Previous Achievements

CanadaGAP logo

Creation of CanadaGAP

CanadaGAP was started in 1999 as a CHC-led initiative. Between 2000 and 2008, CHC established eight commodity-specific On-Farm Food Safety Working Groups to complete commodity-specific hazard analyses. Task Groups were set up in 2007 to develop the certification system and audit protocols. All of the work was overseen by the CHC Food Safety Committee. In 2008, CHC launched the CanadaGAP certification program. In 2010 CanadaGAP was successfully benchmarked to the Global Food Safety Initiative and in 2012 became an independently operated program under a not-for-profit corporation called CanAgPlus. The CanadaGAP food safety program is now fully recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Canada wordmark

AAFC Pest Management Centre

CHC has always advocated on crop protection issues. By 1998, CHC had developed a close working relationship with the USDA’s IR4 program and wanted to implement a similar program in Canada. In 2001, the IR4 relationship led to the release of CHC’s report entitled “Crop Protection: A better future for Canada”. Because of CHC’s lobbying efforts, Agriculture Canada was aware of how difficult it was to get pesticides registered for minor crops. The report peaked the interest of Agriculture Canada and the government decided to establish an agency to run a similar minor use program in Canada. Key CHC staff were recruited to set it up and so, in 2003, the Pest Management Centre came into being. CHC and the Pest Management Centre continue to work together on minor use meetings and priority setting workshops, including the third Global Minor Use Summit that was held in Montreal, in October 2017.

Mark Wales on BNN

Tax fairness for small business

In summer 2017, CHC and its members were jolted by a government announcement proposing changes to Canada’s small business tax laws. The government proposed to target income sprinkling, lifetime capital gains exemptions, and passive investments. Although the government’s objective was to make the tax system fairer for all Canadians, these changes would have had serious deleterious effects on Canada’s farming community and small businesses. Because of quick action by CHC and industry associations across the country, Finance Canada revised its proposed legislation. Rarely does government do such a complete policy reversal in such a short time frame. This success was a testament to the collaborative efforts of over 80 organizations, many of whom CHC had not been in contact with before, all working together towards the same goal.

For more information on CHC's past projects and programs

contact Amy Argentino, Manager, Projects and Programs.