ONRP3: Developing a more productive and sustainable hazelnut cultivar

Finding diverse genotypes that will mitigate the impacts of climate fluctuations on field grown hazelnut trees is the focus of a genomics research project led by the University of Guelph and Ferrero Canada.  

Ferrero Canada has supported research on hazelnut production in Canada  for many years. The ability to expand domestic cultivation has be difficult due to the lack of cold tolerant hazelnut cultivars that can cope with the local climate. Challenges continue to arise in the spring when variations in warm and cold temperatures in Ontario can be harmful for the commercial hazelnuts that are available for growers.  

To address this challenge, Praveen Saxena, a researcher from the University of Guelph and Barb Yates, an agronomist from Ferrero Canada, are collaborating on a project to develop adaptability solutions for growing a range of new hazelnut cultivars in Ontario.  

With funding from the ON-RP3 initiative, this research team started examining a collection of hazelnut cultivars in the summer of 2019. These cultivars will be used to validate the use of indoleamines, which act as strong plant growth regulators, and can enable trees experiencing stress due to weather fluctuations to survive and support the energy needs of the trees during flowering and nut set. 

Through this research, the team hopes to find a solution for hazelnut growers that will provide diverse hazelnut genotypes to mitigate the impacts of climate fluctuations on field grown trees, and ultimately increase the profitability of Ontario’s agri-food sector.  

ON-RP3 is a collaborative initiative between the Agricultural Adaptation Council, Ontario Genomics, and the Government of Canada through Genome Canada.