Lab Canada

Turf grass projects receive $1M in research funding

Beloeil, QC – The federal government says it is providing $500,000 in funding for two collaborative research projects that aim to reduce pesticide use and promote non-chemical alternatives for protecting golf courses in Quebec and Ontario.

The research will be done in partnership with the Canadian Turfgrass Research Foundation and the Coalition for Responsible Golf which will also invest an additional $500,000 in this project. The two organizations have joined forces with the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to study turfgrass pests, identify means to reduce the use of pesticides, and to develop an integrated pest management (IPM) network strategy to protect golf links from insects and diseases. The information will also benefit the farming community because many of the insects and diseases affecting golf courses are also found in agriculture.

Under one project, researchers will lead a three-year study to increase knowledge of major insect pests and diseases that occur under eastern Canada climatic conditions. The research project, to cost $750,000, will more accurately identify turfgrass pests and predict insect outbreaks in Ontario and Quebec. The data will help golf course superintendent’s better plan the use of pesticides, thereby reducing applications. The project will also include research on alternative pest control measures. An integrated pest management strategy will also be developed to assist the industry.

The second project, a three-year study valued at $277,000, will investigate the characteristics of winter freezing and snow mold diseases on bluegrass and identify more tolerant varieties. This information will help develop seed sources better adapted to winter stresses and contribute to the development of best management practices to improve winter survival and minimize pesticide use.

The turfgrass industry in Canada is estimated to be worth more than $5 billion, including golf courses, sod production, home lawns, commercial turf, sports fields, and municipal parks. The information gained from these studies will benefit not only to the entire turfgrass industry, as well as agricultural crops such as winter cereals and forage grasses which experience similar problems but also to farmers, producers, industry and communities.