Development of dry bean germplasm and varieties adapted to SW Ontario

April 1, 2013 – March 31, 2017


  • Incorporate anthracnose resistance in CBB resistant background in different market classes and maturity groups
  • Develop breeding materials and varieties with resistance to anthracnose, CBB and BCMV with reasonable tolerance against white mould and root rot
  • A pedigree analysis using the coefficient of parentage indicated a narrow genetic diversity base among some Canadian bean types (kidney and cranberry) suggesting breeding efforts for these market classes should benefit from the introduction of new genetic diversity
  • SNF, the biological process by which nitrogen (N2) in the atmosphere is converted into ammonia, potential in the common bean is low, compared to other legumes and even lower than the average in Ontario. The goal will be to increase SNF through breeding and therefore increase nitrogen fixing potential to decrease the need for nitrogen fertilizers.
  • Better understanding the biochemical mechanism behind the post-harvest darkening phenomena in cranberry beans

Breeding Program Overview:

plant breeding

  • Crosses are made in the growth room during the winter, 10 seeds are created for each family.
  • 200 of these families are planted out in the spring at the Elora research station then harvested and sent to their winter nursery in Puerto Rico where 2 generations will be grown.
  • The seed will be back in Ontario just in time for planting in Harrow (these are 4th generation seeds).
  • When the 5th generation gets planted out the following year this is when researchers can pick good plants 
  • 6th generation plants go into plant rows or head rows. Here researchers pick lines that they like based on yield, architecture and disease resistance and discard ones that don’t perform well
  • 7th generation goes into the preliminary trial where it is evaluated for yield and disease resistance
  • 8th generation goes into advanced yield trials where the future varieties go under more testing, with additional cooking tests
  • The 9th and 10th generations go into the Ontario performance/registration trials for 2 years.
  • If after the 2 years the varieties are supported for registration then the seed is sent to Idaho to bulk up, it is then at this point where a dealer could license it. Therefore in total it takes roughly 10 years for a new variety to begin the seed production process.
  • Every year 200 new populations are made and if 1 or 2 new varieties make it to production stage then we are doing very well. Plant breeding is a numbers game.

breeding stages

 Some exciting new varieties that may be coming out of the breeding program in the near future:

navy beansnavy beans 2drk beans

(Click to enlarge)

Older Posts

Applied dry bean nitrogen management

April 1, 2013 – March 31, 2015 This project is led by Dr. Chris Gillard, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus Objectives: Studies over four years at the Huron Research Station indicate a linear response to nitrogen fertilizer up to 70 kg N ha-1 in some years (unpublished data). The response was consistent over all three […]

Applied dry bean pest management

April 1, 2013- March 31, 2017 This project is led by Dr. Chris Gillard, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus. Objectives: Ongoing studies are investigating the efficacy of white mold fungicides for anthacnose control, the risk of anthracnose transmission associated with various field activities (collaborating with R. Conner, AAFC), disease transmission in a seed processing facility, the […]

Develop and assess molecular diagnostic procedures for the rapid, specific and sensitive detection of root rot pathogens in symptomatic dry bean roots

April 1, 2013 – March 31, 2017 This project is led by Dr. Debra McLaren, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Objectives: The increasing impact of root rot on dry bean may be associated with shifts in the composition of Fusarium spp. and other root rot pathogens related to agronomic practices such crop rotation with susceptible hosts, […]

Developing herbicide tolerance in dry beans

April 1, 2013- March 31, 2017 This project is led by Dr. Frederic Marsolais, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Objectives: For dry edible beans, the herbicide imazethapyr (Pursuit) is generally utilized pre-emergence (PRE) or preplant incorporated (PPI) to control broadleaf weeds. Although dry beans have a good tolerance to this herbicide, a major disadvantage is a narrow margin of […]

Innovative approaches to weed management in edible beans in Ontario

May 1, 2013 – October 31, 2017 This project is led by Dr. Peter Sikkema, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus. Objectives: To determine the tolerance of edible beans to halosulfuron applied postemergence at various growth stages of edible beans To determine the relative efficacy of halosulfuron applied either preplant incorporated, preemergence or postemergence To determine […]

Western Bean Cutworm No Choice Lab Feeding Study

July 1, 2013 – September 31, 2013 This project is led by Dr. Chris Gillard at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus. Objectives: Determine the efficacy and timing of insecticide controls To better understand the larval feeding habits of WBC in several key dry bean market classes using a controlled, no choice lab study Results […]

Evaluating Adaptation and Quality of Advanced Ontario Dry Bean Cultivars

June 6, 2013 – March 1, 2015 This project is led by Dr. Brian Hall, OMAF. Objectives: Establish procedures for the field evaluation of the agronomic performance and quality attributes of new Ontario dry bean varieties Evaluate several newly released coloured bean varieties for agronomic performance and market acceptance Introduction of cultivars with resistance to […]

Weed Management in Edible Beans

January 1, 2013 – October 31, 2013 This project was led by Dr. Peter Sikkema at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus. Objectives: To determine the tolerance of four classes of edible beans (Adzuki, Black, Kidney, White) to Sandea applied POST at five application timings (1-2 trifoliate, 3-4 trifoliate, 5-6 trifoliate, 1st flower, 1st pod) […]

Investigate the Development of a Functional Bean Flour in Situ for Use in Gluten Free Bakery Applications

December 1, 2012 – October 31, 2013 This project was carried out by the Canadian International Grains Institute and International Food Products (IFP) at their gluten-free milling facilities. This project was designed to seize a market opportunity for establishing an Ontario gluten free bean flour based value chain.  The work involved exploratory studies to develop an enhanced/induced protein […]