Biocontrol expanding in berry fields

Biocontrol expanding in berry fields

The use of biocontrol pest methods in horticulture is growing,

Decades of potatoes from processing to seed

Decades of potatoes from processing to seed

There are now seven generations of farmers involved in British Colombia's Pacific Potato Corp.

A berry WILD success with blueberries

A berry WILD success with blueberries

The story of how Ontario’s first and only wild blueberry farm and winery came about.

Taking toys and putting them to work

Taking toys and putting them to work

Developing a role for UAV’s in Canada’s fruit and vegetable industry.

Iowa State University researchers are conducting experiments to determine what advantages may arise from integrating chickens into vegetable production systems. The researchers must balance a range of concerns, including environmental sustainability, costs and food and animal safety. But Ajay Nair, an associate professor of horticulture and a vegetable production specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach, said finding ways to integrate vegetable and animal production may lead to greater efficiency and healthier soils.The experiments, currently in their second year, take place at the ISU Horticulture Research Station just north of Ames. The researchers are testing what happens when a flock of broiler chickens lives on a vegetable field for part of the year. The chickens forage on the plant matter left behind after the vegetables are harvested and fertilize the soil with manure. This integrated approach could reduce off-farm inputs and also provide producers with sustainable crop rotation options.The researchers are testing three different systems on a half acre of land at the research farm. The first system involves a vegetable crop – one of several varieties of lettuce or broccoli – early in the growing season, followed by the chickens, which are then followed by a cover crop later in the year. The second system involves the vegetable crop, followed by two months of a cover crop, with the chickens foraging on the land later in the year. The third system is vegetables followed by cover crops, with no chickens.The experiment involves roughly 40 chickens, which live in four mobile coops that the researchers move every day. Moving the coops around ensures the chickens have access to fresh forage and keeps their manure from concentrating any particular part of the field. An electric fence surrounds the field to keep out predators.Moriah Bilenky, a graduate assistant in horticulture, checks on the chickens every morning to make sure they have food and water. She also weighs them periodically to collect data on how efficiently they convert food into body mass. The researchers designed the trial to uphold animal health, and Bilenky said she keeps a detailed log on how foraging in the fields impacts the birds’ health and performance.Nair said the researchers are looking at several facets associated with sustainability. Nitrogen and phosphorous deposited in the soil from the chicken manure could alleviate some of the need for fertilizer application, while working cover crops into the system can prevent the loss of nutrients into waterways. Economics must also factor into the research, he said.“We might come up with results that really help the soil, but if the system is not economically stable, I doubt growers will be willing to adopt it because it has to work for their bottom line as well,” he said.The trials also adhere to food safety regulations. For instance, all vegetables are harvested before the chickens are introduced to the fields, ensuring none of the produce is contaminated. The researchers consulted food safety and animal science experts at Iowa State while designing their experiments, and the work undergoes regular IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) inspection and documentation, he said.The trials remain ongoing, so the researchers aren’t drawing any conclusions yet about the success of their integrated system. The project is currently supported through a SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) grant. Nair said he’s seeking additional funding to investigate the animal health and integrated pest management aspects of this research.So why did the chicken cross the road? It’s too early to tell, but maybe so it could get into the lettuce and pepper fields.
Woodstock, Ont – Brothers Jordan and Alex McKay were named Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2018. The brother team operates Willow Tree Farm, a community supported agriculture [CSA] farm and market, at Port Perry, Ont. The winners were announced at the Ontario regional event held on September 11, 2018, in conjunction with Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock. Alex received his Bachelor of Science in Forestry but always knew he wanted to go back to the family farm. He had inherited his passion for the land and seeing what he could grow on it from his dad. Once Jordan completed his Bachelor of Commerce in Ag Business degree, he travelled the world following his passion for skiing before returning to the farm market. Jordan had his mom’s passion for selling produce at farmers’ markets so the brothers’ strengths complement each other well. With a mission of providing fresh food by sustainable farming, Willow Tree Farm takes local farm fresh food to a whole new level. In 2016, they opened a year round market that includes a commercial kitchen, fresh butcher market and 4,300 sq. ft. of retail space. With the market open year round, Jordan and Alex have to come up with many unique ways to sell or use their produce, whether it is fresh corn on the cob in the summer or corn chowder at the cafe in the winter. They have designed the market to tell a story about buying food locally, decorating it with beams from surrounding old barns. Being a family business, you will find Jordan’s wife Alyson and Alex’s wife Kelty working at the market. The other nominees recognized were Derek and Marie Brouwer of Brouwer Farms, Branchton, Ont; and Darold and Kara Enright of Enright Cattle Company, Tweed, Ont. Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2018 will be chosen at the National Event in Winnipeg, Man, from November 29 – December 3, 2018.
According to recent reports from south of the border, two senators from North Dakota are asking their federal government to investigate allegations that Canadian growers are dumping potatoes into the U.S. market. The proof? Over the past few years, there’s been a surge in potato imports from Canada to the U.S. [$212 million worth of fresh potatoes in 2015-2016] while demand for U.S. spuds has decreased. A recent report from Potatoes USA showed exports of fresh U.S. potatoes bound for Canada have dropped 13.5 per cent from July 2017 to June 2018. And U.S. producers believe this is due to Canadian protectionist trade practices and a sign the government is subsidizing the industry. But, according to reports in Canadian media, growers in the Great White North are merely benefiting from a favourable exchange rate. And the only government support they are receiving is through loans that need to be matched 50/50 by the recipient and repaid over 10 years. Senator John Hoeven (Rep) and Senator Heidi Heitkamp (Dem) have both come out strong against Canada, accusing their northern neighbour of “unfair treatment” of American potatoes. “Red River Valley potato growers have a strong case to be made that Canada has unfairly limited their profits and narrowed their fair market access,” Heitkamp said. “Canada remains one of our closest friends and allies, but we still need, and our farmers deserve, reciprocity in trade,” Hoeven said. “That’s why we continue urging the administration to address Canada’s unfair treatment of American agriculture exports. Our trading partners would never tolerate this kind of treatment from the U.S.” This isn’t the only trade woe facing the U.S. potato industry. According to a recent report from Potatoes USA, the U.S. potato market share to Mexico has dropped to 76 per cent from 82 per cent from July 2017 to June 2018 as the European Union and Canada made significant gains in the market.
A group of Canadian apple researchers, growers and marketers have joined forces to give one of Canada’s oldest and most famous fruit crops some new crunch in the marketplace.Members of the National Apple Breeding Consortium say advances in the science of apple breeding and more efficient orchard designs are making it possible to bring new varieties more quickly to market to capitalize on consumer interest in apples with unique tastes and textures, while giving growers varieties that are more resistant to disease and insects.Premium varieties like Gala, Honeycrisp and Ambrosia and high-density orchards helped the Canadian apple industry post its first increase in acreage in decades in 2016.Taking a page from wine grapes, the consortium believes more regions of Canada could become renowned for their own unique apple varieties."It’s not necessarily about creating a new apple that can be grown across the country. It’s about finding that variety and that local growing environment that together produce a quality that you won’t find anywhere else," says Joyce Boye, science director for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s research centres in Agassiz and Summerland in British Columbia.The consortium was created late last year to streamline apple development in Canada and boost returns to the industry and increase consumer satisfaction."The consortium allows key players in Canadian apple breeding to work more closely together and that’s a win-win for all involved," says Brian Gilroy, president of the Canadian Horticultural Council and an apple grower himself.Genome Atlantic, Genome BC and Ontario Genomics also helped drive the creation of the consortium. The associations encourage the combination of biology, genetics and computer science to create economic opportunities in the resource and health sectors."Over the last three years, Genome Atlantic has been working hard with all the stakeholders to develop this consortium, and we are very pleased that it is now in place," says Richard Donald, a business development associate with Genome Atlantic. "With everyone pulling together, research will be shared across Canada, accelerating the development of new apple varieties suited to different regions of the country."In the past, it took up to 25 years to develop a new apple variety and orchards were dominated by large trees that were difficult to pick. Today, gene sequencing is allowing apple breeders to find and select the traits they want much more quickly.At the same time, growers are increasingly turning to high-density orchards featuring dwarf trees that are much easier to harvest.Consortium members include Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dalhousie University, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Summerland Varieties Corporation, Réseau d’essais de cultivars et porte-greffes de pommiers du Quebec, and the Canadian Horticultural Council. Also represented are a number of major grower associations, including the Ontario Apple Growers Association, the BC Fruit Growers Association, Les Producteurs de pommes du Quebec and Scotian Gold Cooperative Ltd.
Songbirds and coffee farms in Central America. Ladybugs and soybean fields in the Midwest. These are well-known, win-win stories that demonstrate how conserving natural habitat can benefit farmers.But an international team of authors, including Megan O’Rourke, assistant professor in the Virginia Tech School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, found that natural habitat surrounding farm fields is not always an effective pest-control tool for farmers worldwide. The team’s analysis was published Aug. 2 in the journal PNAS.“For the last 20 years, many scientists have suggested that you will have fewer insect pests on your farm if the farm is surrounded by natural habitats, such as forests,” O’Rourke said.To test that assumption, lead authors Daniel Karp, an assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, and Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, of the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, organized an international team of ecologists, economists, and practitioners at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center. Together, they compiled the largest pest-control dataset of its kind, encompassing 132 studies from more than 6,700 sites in 31 countries worldwide — from California farmlands to tropical cacao plantations and European wheat fields.Surprisingly, the results were highly variable across the globe. While many of the studies showed surrounding natural habitat does indeed help farmers control pests, just as many showed negative effects on crop yields. The analysis indicates that there are no one-size-fits-all recommendations for growers about natural habitat and pests.“Natural habitats support many services that can help farmers and society, such as pollination and wildlife conservation, but we want to be clear about when farmers should or should not expect the land around their farms to affect pest management,” said O’Rourke, who works within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Fralin Life Science Institute. “Diverse landscapes are not a silver bullet for pest control but should be considered as part of a holistic and sustainable pest management plan.”Critically, Karp and his team of 153 co-authors have made their pest-control database publicly available, opening the door for further scientific insights. Karp hopes the database will grow over time and help inform predictive models about when surrounding habitat helps control pests and when it does not.The research was supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center and the National Science Foundation.
When it comes to food production, three letters can cause panic: GMO. Yet, genetically modified organisms have become an integral part of the food supply chain, and it appears they will remain there for years to come as new techniques to alter the genetics of foods become more prevalent.Case in point: the J.R. Simplot Co. entered a joint intellectual property licensing agreement for CRISPR-Cas9 and related gene editing tools with DowDuPont and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The technology allows scientists to make precise changes to the genome of living organisms, which Simplot estimates will bring desirable traits forward in certain fruits and vegetables and advance products to the market in the U.S. | READ MORE 
Doug Alexander, director of engineering with Ippolito Fruit and Produce, will serve another year as chair of the Agri-Food Management Institute (AMI).He is joined on the AMI executive committee by vice chair Laurie Nicol, recently retired as executive director of the Ontario Independent Meat Processors, and secretary/treasurer Jean-Marc Beneteau, a southwestern Ontario grains and oilseed grower. They were re-elected to their positions at the organization’s annual meeting in Guelph.“I look forward to leading this dynamic group for another year as we continue to build awareness around the importance of business management in both agricultural and food businesses in Ontario,” says Alexander. “There is tremendous benefit that farmers and processors can realize in their operations through business management and planning, and AMI is here to help facilitate and encourage those activities in the Ontario food and agriculture industry.”Also serving as AMI board directors for another year are Peter Henderson, managing director of Toronto-based consultancy Ideovation; Jim Gracie, president of Wheatley-based Presteve Foods; Ed Verkley, chair of the Poultry Industry Council; Sara Mann, an associate professor in strategic human resource management and organizational behaviour at the University of Guelph; Andrea Gal, managing editor of Better Farming, Better Pork and Farms.com, and Chris Hiemstra, an agri-tourism operator and beekeeper who is also vice chair of the Agricultural Adaptation Council.The annual meeting included highlights of AMI accomplishments over the past year. The organization ran three cohorts of its flagship Advanced Farm Management Program, three farm tax and business seminars for farm advisors, a food entrepreneurs conference in eastern Ontario, a Transition Smart workshop in Wellington County and a pilot of its new Building Your Food Business Program.In partnership with the Ontario Apple Growers, AMI delivered Ontario Apple Academy 2.0, and together with Farm & Food Care Ontario, ran two business planning workshops in Eastern Ontario. The organization was also a principal supporter of the Agricultural Excellence Conference last fall.New resources released in the past year included a New Entrant to Farming business planning resource, a Selling Beyond the Farm Gate training program, and a white paper on barriers to scaling up for small and medium enterprises in food and beverage processing called The Food Entrepreneur’s Journey.“We work hard to deliver programming and resources for various audiences, from beginning farmers to new food entrepreneurs to established farm and food businesses,” says AMI executive director Ashley Honsberger. “Research has shown that business management activities can help every business be stronger and more profitable, and AMI is proud to play a leading role in facilitating that potential.”
Research at the James Hutton Institute has led to the discovery of genetic variations which can help protect potato crop yields at high temperature, potentially providing potato breeders with a valuable tool in their quest to create varieties resilient to heat stress and suited to the requirements of growers, industry and retailers.The findings were discussed by Dr. Mark Taylor at Potatoes in Practice 2018, as part of a wider examination of how stress-resistant crops can be an important resource to preserve food security in the face of increased temperatures, such as those brought about by the recent U.K. heatwave.“Potato is essentially a cool climate crop. For many commercial potato cultivars, tuber yield is optimal at average day time temperatures in the range of 14-22˚C. When the weather is warmer, tuber production is inhibited, reducing potato tuber production, with damaging consequences for both producer and consumer," Taylor said.“Heat tolerant varieties are especially important for Scottish seed exports to growing markets in warm countries. Although most potato varieties are sensitive to heat there is significant variation in response to heat stress between different potato cultivars, and recent research at the Hutton has led to the discovery of genetic variations which can help protect potato crop yields at high temperature.”Recent leaps in the understanding of genomics, genetics and crop science, funded by the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Fund, have made this type of genetic screening possible. The gene variant that confers heat tolerance is found in heat tolerant wild potatoes in the Commonwealth Potato Collection but not in heat sensitive types, emphasising the importance of this collection of 1,500 potato types that is curated at the Institute.Other recent research has identified gene variants that result in more rapid tuber development and these early maturing potatoes may evade climate and disease threats. Potato types carrying the useful, naturally occurring gene variants are currently being trialled in warm, dry environments by partners in Malawi and Kenya in work funded by the Global Challenge Research fund.The James Hutton Institute’s collaboration with China’s Xisen Potato Industry Group was also the focus of interest at Potatoes in Practice. Dr Jonathan Snape, commercial director of James Hutton Limited, commercial subsidiary of the James Hutton Institute, commented, “In the past year, Hutton and Xisen have taken a great deal of joint work forward, with substantial investment by Xisen in large-scale trials of the Sulan 1 tubers across China having taken place and now being assessed. The Institute is set to contribute potato genetic material in anticipation of the next stage of the work.“We are delighted that Dr Hu Baigeng, Xisen’s head of management, is here again for further planning and discussions. The collaboration may be the vanguard of a larger development in China and we are working on it with Innovate U.K. and Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Hutton experts will be speaking at a joint scientific workshop on potato at the Academy in September.”Potatoes in Practice is the UK’s largest field-based event and brings together variety demonstrations, research and trade exhibits in one place making it an essential date in the potato industry calendar. The event is organised and hosted by the James Hutton Institute in partnership with AHDB Potatoes, Scotland's Rural College and Agrii. The event is also supported by media partner Potato Review. See pip.hutton.ac.uk for more information about the event.
A Purdue University entomologist suggests that high-tunnel fruit and vegetable growers carefully consider species and tunnel construction when using natural enemies to control pest insect species.Laura Ingwell, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of entomology, studies pest-control methods in protected agricultural systems. She’s interested in determining best practices for fruit and vegetable growers using high tunnels, which can extend the growing season. Her previous research has shown that high tunnels can increase not only crop yield, but also damaging pests.In research published in the journal Biological Control, Ingwell tested augmentative biological control, which employs predatory insects that prey on crop pests. Producers supplement natural enemies in the environment with commercially available predators. The study sought to determine the best way to retain the beneficial insects in the high tunnels, reducing their dispersal to neighboring habitats.Ingwell used small-opening, 0.18 mm2 screens on a subset of tunnels to test a variety of predatory insects, including lady beetles, minute pirate bugs, spined soldier bugs and green lacewings on tomatoes and cucumbers. Three times in the space of a week, researchers collected and counted the predators, but few had survived. Meanwhile, crop pests thrived.“We had a really low recapture rate of all the predators that we used — less than 10 per cent,” Ingwell said. “The screens did not work, which really surprised us.”Ingwell said the heat created by the screens was the likely culprit. It might have driven some to escape through cracks and holes in screens that are inevitable with high tunnels. The heat, which reached average maximum temperatures of 98°F, might have also killed many of the predators. The physical barrier prevented other predators from naturally colonizing in these tunnels.“Airflow was significantly reduced by the screens, which trapped so much heat that it changed the environment inside the tunnels making it inhospitable for the predators we released,” Ingwell said. “The mites and aphids, which damage crops, seem to be less affected by the heat stress. They may be able to better handle those temperatures, or they may reproduce so quickly that their populations were better able to survive.”In another set of tunnels, flowers and chemicals meant to attract predatory insects were used. The flowers provide alternative food for the predators when prey populations are low and the chemicals, called herbivore-induced plant volatiles, attract predators because they mimic the scents created when pest insects damage crops, signaling to predators that a meal is nearby. In those tunnels, twice as many minute pirate bugs were retained.Ingwell suggests growers consider using flower varieties that can be sold commercially so as not to waste space that might be used for crops. For this study, Benary’s giant golden yellow zinnia and fireworks gomphrena were effective.The take-away message from Ingwell is that using beneficial insects can work in some scenarios, but getting the right balance is tricky.“In general, augmentative biocontrol may not be worth the investment because in most cases, those insects aren’t staying or surviving long enough to have an effect,” Ingwell said. “Unless you alter those environments to keep the predators there, this may not be a cost-effective method for controlling crop pests.”Ingwell is continuing to test screen sizes and different predator pests to improve pest control in high tunnels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded this study.
Some relationships can be complicated. Take the one between sweet potato crops and soil nitrogen, for example.Too little nitrogen and sweet potato plants don't grow well and have low yields. Too much nitrogen, however, boosts the growth of leaves and branches at the expense of storage roots. That also leads to low yields."Carefully managing soil nitrogen levels is essential to obtain high yields from sweet potato crops," says Adalton Fernandes, an agronomist at the Center for Tropical Roots and Starches at São Paulo State University in Brazil.Fernandes is the lead author of a new study that determined how much nitrogen is needed to maximize yields from sweet potato crops in Brazil.The researchers discovered field history matters when trying to apply the optimal amount of nitrogen for sweet potato crops. Cover crops grown in the same plots prior to sweet potato crops affected how much nitrogen was needed.Sweet potato plants grown in plots previously used to grow legume cover crops needed 35 per cent less nitrogen fertilizer. Growing sweet potatoes after a cereal cover crop, however, was no different than growing them in a plot that had previously just had weeds."We show that growing legume cover crops, and incorporating them into the soil as they flower, is a simple technique that can reduce how much mineral nitrogen needs to be applied for sweet potato farming," says Fernandes.Cover crops are often grown cyclically with economic or cash crops. They may be incorporated into the soil as green manure. They may also be left on the surface as living mulches.Different cover crops bring different benefits to the growing relationship. Legumes, for example, can increase soil nitrogen levels. Beneficial bacteria in their root nodules pull atmospheric nitrogen into the soil. But they also decompose faster than cereal cover crops once terminated."That releases nitrogen into the soil earlier during the sweet potato growth cycle," says Fernandes. "We needed to know more about how different cover crops affect soil nitrogen availability for subsequent sweet potato crops."Fernandes and colleagues used a study site in southeastern Brazil. The site is a good match for the tropical conditions and sandy soil typical of several areas where sweet potato is grown in Brazil.In different plots, the researchers grew either one of two legume crops, a cereal crop, or allowed weeds to grow from seeds already present in the soil. When the legume and cereal cover crops were flowering, they were terminated. The plants were incorporated into the soil.Subsequently, the researchers planted sweet potato in the plots. They tested how much nitrogen was needed to maximize yields.When sweet potato was grown after legume cover crops, they needed about 110 pounds of nitrogen per hectare (roughly the size of a baseball field) for optimal yields. In contrast, sweet potato crops needed more than 168 pounds per hectare of nitrogen when grown after a cereal cover crop or after weeds."We show that there is no reason to use a cereal cover crop prior to sweet potato cultivation," says Fernandes.Currently, recommendations of how much nitrogen fertilizer to use with sweet potato crops do not consider the history of cultivation in the area. That can result in farmers using more or less fertilizer than needed."We now better understand how much nitrogen is needed to maximize sweet potato yields in tropical regions," says Fernandes. "This will help manage the application of mineral nitrogen fertilizers during sweet potato cultivation."In addition to maximizing yields, using less fertilizer also reduces costs for farmers. That's especially important in Brazil. Much of the sweet potato crop is grown on family farms with low technology use.Fernandes is now pairing other species of legumes as cover crops. He is testing whether they may be more efficient at providing nitrogen for sweet potato crops. He is also exploring whether combining legumes and cereals as cover crops in the same area can provide different benefits to sweet potato farmers.
Publication 360, Fruit Crop Protection Guide 2018-2019 is now available as a downloadable pdf file, through the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) website at the following links: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/pub360/p360toc.htm http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/french/crops/pub360/p360toc.htm  Individual chapters will be made available on the OMAFRA website soon. There will only be a limited number of copies of the print version of Publication 360 available through Service Ontario.
Move over Red Delicious – there’s a new top apple in town. The U.S. Apple Association [US Apple] recently announced that after 50-plus years of being the number one produced apple in the United States, the Red Delicious has been surpassed by Gala. “The rise in production of newer varieties of apples aimed at the fresh consumption market has caused demand for Red Delicious to decline,” said Mark Seetin, director of regulatory and industry affairs with US Apple, during the association’s 2018 outlook conference.The top five apple varieties in 2018 – based on forecasted production numbers – are Gala, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp. Golden Delicious is expected to drop out of the top five to sixth place in production numbers. ”However, Red Delicious is important in the export market, where it makes up roughly half of our apple exports,” Seetin added. The top five export markets for U.S. apples include Mexico, India, Canada, Taiwan and Vietnam. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has forecast the 2018 U.S. crop at 272.7 million bushels, making it the fourth largest recorded crop. At $3.55 billion, farm gate value of the U.S. 2017 crop was up three per cent over 2016 and set a new record. US Apple’s 2018 Outlook conference is currently underway in Chicago, IL.
The use of biocontrol pest methods in horticulture is growing, whether it’s trap crops, pheromone traps, predatory insects or biopesticides.
Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency [PMRA] recently announced it is restarting the review process for mancozeb. All current final decisions and proposals regarding MRLs for mancozeb products will be removed and a new proposal for consultation will be posted. The PMRA released its evaluation for mancozeb and metiram products in June 2018. According to that decision, all uses of products containing mancozeb (Manzate, Penncozeb, Dithane, Ridomil Gold MZ and Gavel) and metiram (Polyram) were to be cancelled with the exception of foliar applications to potatoes. Representatives from the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and the Canadian Horticulture Council met with PMRA to voice their concerns about the loss of these products and a new review process was agreed upon. The decision for metiram could not be reversed for legal reasons. This means that as of June 2020, Polyram cannot be used on any crop except potatoes and the label will reflect that change.
Five new fertilizer-compatible products are expected to be available from Vive Crop Protection for U.S. corn, sugarbeet and potato growers in 2019. Each product includes a trusted active ingredient that has been improved with the patented Vive Allosperse Delivery System.AZteroid FC 3.3 is a high-concentration, fertilizer-compatible fungicide that improves plant health, yield and quality of key field crops, including potatoes, sugarbeets and corn. AZteroid FC 3.3 controls seed and seedling diseases caused by Rhizoctonia solani and certain Pythium spp. It contains azoxystrobin, the same active ingredient as Quadris.Bifender FC 3.1 controls corn rootworm, wireworm and other soil-borne pests in corn, potatoes and other rotational crops. Bifender FC 3.1 has a new high-concentration, fertilizer-compatible formulation and contains bifenthrin (same as Capture LFR).TalaxTM FC fungicide provides systemic control of pythium and phytophthora, similar to Ridomil Gold SL but in a fertilizer-compatible formulation. Talax FC contains metalaxyl and helps potatoes and other crops thrive right from the start, resulting in improved yield and quality.MidacTM FC systemic insecticide is a fertilizer-compatible imidacloprid formulation that controls below-ground and above-ground pests in potatoes and sugarbeets. It provides the same long-lasting protection of Admire PRO but with the convenience of being tank-mix compatible with fertilizers, micronutrients and other crop inputs.AverlandTM FC insecticide is a fertilizer-compatible abamectin formulation that controls nematodes in corn. It also controls potato psyllid, spider mites, Colorado potato beetle and leaf miners in potatoes. In-furrow application trials for nematode control in a wide range of crops are under way.All of these fertilizer-compatible products use the Vive Allosperse Delivery System - the first nanotechnology registered for U.S. crop protection. Products containing Allosperse are the best mixing products on the market, whether they are used with each other, liquid fertilizer, other crop protection products, micronutrients or just water.Brent Petersen, president of Cropwise Research LLC, performed trials on behalf of Vive Crop Protection to test mixability of the company’s products. During spring 2018, he mixed all five of the new products together with liquid fertilizer and observed, “We didn’t see any separation or settling out. It was nice to see because we often see products that aren’t compatible with other products, and especially with liquid fertilizer.”EPA registration is pending for Talax FC, Midac FC and Averland FC and the new formulations of AZteroid and Bifender.
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency recently announced that it will be cancelling the use of the group M3 chemicals mancozeb and metiram in a wide range of crops, including field tomatoes. In 2020 products like Manzate, Penncozeb, Dithane and Polyram will no longer be available for sale and in 2021 use will be banned completely. This will ultimately have an effect on how we control diseases, including anthracnose, early blight and, most importantly, late blight. Although mancozeb is currently an important player in fungicide programs, tomato growers do have other options available.For best control it is always good to start with preventative or protectant fungicides once environmental conditions are conducive to disease development and before symptoms appear. | READ MORE
Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has released its decision on the re-evaluation of mancozeb and will continue registration only for foliar application to potato crops.“All other uses of mancozeb are being cancelled due to unacceptable risks to human health and will be removed from the labels,” states a summary of the decision.Foliar application on potatoes has been limited to 10 applications per year at a maximum application rate of 1.68 kg of active ingredient per hectare with a seven-day interval between applications and a one-day pre-harvest interval using aerial or ground spray only.Product labels must be changed within 24 months. Registration of products being cancelled as a result of the review will expire 36 months after the release of the decision. Chemical companies have 12 months and retailers 24 months to sell old product.
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of minor use label expansion registrations for Venture L Herbicide for control of labeled weeds on rhubarb, the bulb onion subgroup 3-07A, green onions, caneberries subgroup 13-07A and lettuce in Canada. Venture L Herbicide was already labeled for use on a number of crops in Canada for control of several weeds.These minor use projects were submitted by Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Pest Management Centre (AAFC-PMC) as a result of minor use priorities established by growers and extension personnel. | READ MORE
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of minor use label expansion registrations for Entrust and Success insecticides for control of cabbage maggot on Brassica leafy greens crop subgroup 4-13B and Brassica head and stem vegetables, crop group 5-13 in Canada. Entrust and Success insecticides were already labeled for use on a wide variety of crops in Canada for control of several insects.These minor use projects were submitted by Quebec as a result of minor use priorities established by growers and extension personnel. | READ MORE
If you were going to tank mix chemical pesticides, you would of course read the label to check for compatibility before mixing products. The same concept applies when using living organisms for pest control. Whether you are using parasitoid wasps, predatory mites, microorganisms, or nematodes, you need to know whether your biocontrols are compatible with each other and any other pest management products you plan to use. For example, a biocontrol fungus might be killed if you tank mix it with (or apply it just before) a chemical fungicide. Insecticides (whether or not they are biological) could be harmful to natural enemy insects and mites. Even some beneficial insects are not compatible with each other because they may eat each other instead of (or in addition to) the pest. | READ MORE 
Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, recently announced that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) in Canada has granted Dow AgroSciences upgraded approval for Closer Insecticide use to actively control Woolly apple aphid in pome fruit crops.“Canadian apple growers who have used Closer in the past know of its exceptional speed and ability to knockdown aphids. This upgraded designation reinforces the quality and efficacy of Closer and we are pleased that the PMRA has responded to the ongoing need to control insect infestation,” explains Tyler Groeneveld, category leader, Horticulture with Corteva Agriscience.This approval is significant as it gives growers greater access to a highly effective product that combats sap feeding insects at various stages of growth and outbreak. Insects such as Woolly apple aphid can cause extensive crop damage, ultimately impacting the quality and value of orchard crops.Closer Insecticide, powered by Isoclast active, is a revolutionary product ideal for control of both resistant and non-resistant pests, delivering the active ingredient sulfoxaflor, which is classified by the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee as the sole member of IRAC Subgroup 4C Sulfoximines. The active ingredient moves quickly through the plant and has excellent systemic and translaminar activity that controls insect pests both on contact and by ingestion. The results are fast knockdown and residual control of aphids and other sap feeding insects.Closer is highly selective and has minimal impact on beneficial insects. The properties and overall spectrum of activity of Closer Insecticide makes it an excellent fit for treatment when outbreaks occur as well as part of Integrated Pest Management Programs (IPM) to minimize flare-ups.
A potato variety genetically engineered to resist potato blight can help reduce the use of chemical fungicides by up to 90 per cent, according to a new study - drastically reducing the environmental impact of potato farming.Potato blight, caused by a water mould called Phytophthora infestans, can rapidly obliterate potato crops, and is one of the biggest problems in potato farming. Working together, scientists from Wageningen University & Research and Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, have developed a two-pronged approach: a genetically modified potato, along with a new pest management strategy, that combine for healthy crops with minimal fungicide use. | READ MORE
Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, recently announced that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) in Canada has granted Dow AgroSciences new label registration for Closer Insecticide for the control of Campylomma verbasci (mullein bug) effective immediately. This announcement is significant as it means Canadian apple growers now have full access to a highly effective product for pest control.“Closer has always been known for its targeted and quick control of aphids and other orchard pests. With this registration, growers can have even greater confidence in the quality and efficacy of Closer on apples when outbreaks occur as well as for resistance management,” explains Tyler Groeneveld, category leader, Horticulture with Corteva Agriscience.Closer Insecticide, powered by Isoclast active, is a revolutionary product ideal for control of both resistant and non-resistant pests, delivering the active ingredient sulfoxaflor, which is classified by the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee as the sole member of IRAC Subgroup 4C Sulfoximines. The active ingredient moves quickly through the plant to deliver excellent systemic and translaminar activity. Pests are controlled both through contact and by ingestion, resulting in fast knockdown and residual control.Closer is highly selective and has minimal impact on beneficial insects. The properties and overall spectrum of activity of Closer Insecticide makes it an excellent fit for treatment when outbreaks occur as well as part of Integrated Pest Management Programs (IPM) to minimize flare-ups. Further information can be found at: www.corteva.com.
Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently released its final decision on the future use of chlorothalonil, a fungicide used in agriculture including fruit and vegetable production.“Under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act, the PMRA has determined that continued registration of products containing chlorothalonil is acceptable,” the report states. “An evaluation of available scientific information found that most uses of chlorothalonil products meet current standards for protection of human health or the environment when used according to the conditions of registration, which include required amendments to label directions.”Even so, some changes have been made to the chlorothalonil label, including cancellation of its use on greenhouse cut flowers, greenhouse pachysandra, and field grown roses (for cut flowers). As well, all chlorothalonil products currently registered as dry flowable or water dispersible granules must be packaged in water-soluble packaging. Buffer zones have also been revised and a vegetative filter strip is required.You can review the decision and new label requirements by clicking here.
Fresno, CA – Jain Irrigation, Inc. recently announced it is acquiring ETwater, a supplier of intelligent irrigation technology and smart irrigation controllers. ETwater’s patented technology integrates data science, machine learning and predictive analytics about weather forecast and environmental variables to automatically, optimally adjust site-specific irrigation schedules. Connecting over the Internet, ETwater smart controllers get their schedules through secure, cellular data networks, and users are able to remotely monitor and manage controllers from any mobile or smart device. “We’re very proud of the positive impact on outdoor water conservation we’ve had in the U.S. market and raising awareness to the necessity of irrigating in harmony with nature,” said Pat McIntyre, CEO of ETwater. “The Jain acquisition will expand ETwater efficiencies throughout the U.S. and now worldwide to become a gold standard in sustainable water management globally.” “Jain is an early leader in the IoT for agriculture,” said Aric Olson, president of Jain Irrigation, Inc. “ETwater will improve our position in agriculture and helps us make a bigger impact in reducing water waste in landscape irrigation." “We are thrilled to have ETwater join our family. After several successful irrigation technology acquisitions, the addition of ETwater … adds key technologies that can be deployed globally to our growing technology customer base.”
Working in the intense heat of the summer sun can put workers at risk of heat stress, but heat stress can also hit you in places you wouldn't expect."Any job that causes your body temperature to rise has the potential to cause heat stress," says WSPS occupational hygiene consultant Michael Puccini. "Even jobs carried out in air-conditioned environments."Left unchecked, heat stress can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heart attack, and other physical health effects. Plus, it can be damaging to business, by way of lost productivity, disability costs, and fines and penalties.Prepare for the heat nowThese heat waves may last only a week or two, but in this time workers can suffer debilitating effects and even death. A few simple steps taken now can keep your people thriving and productive even in the hottest weather."Based on the internal responsibility system, everyone has a role to play," says WSPS occupational hygienist Warren Clements. "Employers, supervisors and workers can all make a difference in their workplaces."Steps for employers:Put a policy and procedures in place, based on a risk assessment. Ask questions, such as: Have workers been affected by heat in the past? Is work done in direct sunlight? Are there heat producing processes or equipment in the workplace? This will help you understand the magnitude of the issue. If heat stress may be a hazard, you may want to conduct heat stress measurements so you can develop a control plan. The plan should include engineering controls, such as insulating hot surfaces.Train all employees during orientation on the policy and procedures to manage the hazard. Include heat stress symptoms, how to prevent it, and what to do if someone starts showing symptoms. Heat stress training is particularly critical for young and new workers, as well as all manual workers. Research conducted by the Institute for Work & Health shows that heat strokes, sunstrokes and other heat illnesses disproportionately affect those on the job less than two months. Steps for supervisors: Acclimatize workers to hot conditions, and watch out for de-acclimatization. Workers can lose their tolerance in only four days. Schedule work in the hottest locations for cooler times of day. Build cool-down breaks into work schedules. Adjust the frequency and duration of breaks as needed. "Taking a break means going to a cooler work area or providing workers with periodic rest breaks and rest facilities in cooler conditions," says Warren. Get to know your workplace and your workers. "Are there certain jobs at elevated risk? Is anybody working outside today? 'Is so-and-so looking a little different from how he normally looks? A little more flushed? Sitting down more?'" Ensure ready access to cool water in convenient, visible locations. Workers need to replenish their fluids if they are becoming dehydrated. Supply protective equipment and clothing as needed, such as water-dampened cotton whole-body suits, cooling vests with pockets that hold cold packs, and water-cooled suits. Monitor weather forecasts. "If it's Tuesday and you know superhot weather is coming on Thursday, ask yourself, 'Who will be working then? What will they be doing? Who... or what... should I watch out for?'" Be extra vigilant in extreme conditions. "Check on workers frequently. If you can't do this, then assign a temporary pair of eyes to do it for you." Steps for workers: Watch out for each other and speak up. "People suffering from heat stress don't always recognize their own symptoms. If anyone's behaviour is 'more than usual' - more sweating, more flushed, hyperventilating - it could be a sign of heat stress." Other signs could include rashes, muscle cramping, dizziness, fainting, and headaches.For more information, visit: Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
Manfredi Cold Storage recently expanded the facility by 70,000 sq. ft., for 400,000 total sq. ft. of cold storage space, and already plans are in the works for future expansion. The distributor handles fruit, vegetables and foodstuffs from 22 countries, at zero to 55 Fahrenheit temperatures, in its facility that provides retailers with wireless, real-time inventory and access.In order to keep such continued growth on track, effective operation has required the use of rugged drive-in rack, designed to the application, according to Rob Wharry, the facility’s director of operations.“About 150 to 200 truckloads of product move in and out of our storage everyday – about 25,000 pallets – so the drive-in rack needs to be very durable and accessible,” says Wharry. “The product has to go out quickly and efficiently to grocery stores, club stores, distribution centers, and the food service industry.”Drive-in racks enable storing of up to 75 per cent more pallets than selective rack and are ideal for high-traffic and cooler/freezer installations. With drive-in rack, forklifts drive directly into the rack to allow storage of two or more pallets deep.But because forklifts drive directly into the rack, they tend to take more abuse than other rack structures. In cooler and freezer applications, the rack must withstand forklift abuse due to the confined space, slick surfaces, and cold temperatures that slow driver reflexes and make impact more frequent.“We’re in and out of rack with heavy pallets and equipment so many times a day,” says Wharry. “It’s a fact of life that sometimes forklifts will run into the rack, so it just needs to be able to stand up to the daily use.”Looking to optimize the rack’s durability and operation, the cold chain distributor turned to Steel King Industries, a storage system and pallet rack manufacturer. In the most recent expansion, about 4,000 pallets of refrigerated storage capacity were added. For this, Manfredi Cold Storage chose SK3000 pallet rack, a bolted rack with structural channel columns.A number of rack features are helping the distributor to meet its strength, durability, and maintenance goals.Compared to typical racking, the pallet rack constructed of hot-rolled structural channel column with full horizontal and diagonal bracing offers greater frame strength, durability and cross-sectional area. All Grade-5 hardware provides greater shear strength, and a heavy seven-gauge wrap-around connector plate ensures a square and plumb installation with a tighter connection and greater moment resistance.The drive-in rack also includes a number of features that enhance ease-of-use and safety.The drive-in load rail construction includes: structural angle rails that “guide” pallets for ease of use; flared rail entry ends to allow easy bay access; space-saver low profile arms that increase clearance and decrease possible product damage; welded aisle-side load arms that eliminate hazardous load projections into aisles; welded rail stops that prevent loads from being pushed off and increase safety; and two-inch vertical adjustability of the bolted rack, which allows for a variety of configurations for current or future products.“The heavy rub rail inside the rack helps to guide the pallets in,” says Wharry. “The flared rail entry makes it easier to put pallets in and to take them out of the upper positions.”For extra protection and reinforcement against forklift impact, a guard on the front of the rack’s first upright was added. The double column, welded angle column protector is designed for heavy pallets and provides additional strength.According to Wharry, the vendor was also willing to accommodate their needs in other ways as well.“Our operation is a little different than a typical storage customer because we’re dealing with lots of different sized products, so we had a very specific design in mind,” says Wharry. “Everything is specific to our application – rack height, width, pallet loads, and how we utilize it.”The rack openings are about 12- to 16-inches taller than a standard rack opening to allow the use of very tall pallets, he says. Additional adjustments to the rack include the specific implementation of guards, heavy rail, and how it is anchored to the floor.With continuing growth expected, Manfredi Cold Storage is already planning to start the construction of a new facility in southern New Jersey.“When the new facility is constructed, the racking set up will be just like what we have here,” concludes Wharry. “We’ve determined what works for us and our customers, and
AgSafe has launched a new free safety self-assessment web tool for B.C.’s agriculture organizations and other naturally aligned industries.The Safety Ready Certificate of Recognition (COR) Self-Assessment website is designed to assist organizations in assessing their readiness for a COR program audit.The self-assessment tool begins with a questionnaire to be completed by the person responsible for overseeing the Safety Management System in your organization. Once that is done, the tool provides feedback on your readiness for a COR review. The web tool will also help you calculate your organization’s potential WorkSafeBC incentive.“There are three levels of readiness and depending on your organization’s situation you may need assistance from an AgSafe advisor or consultant to become audit ready,” explained Wendy Bennett, executive director of AgSafe. “This is a resource designed to streamline the process and help employers become more familiar with what they need to do to reduce safety risks in their organization.”Between 2013 and 2017, 641 agricultural workers were seriously injured and seven killed in work-related incidents.AgSafe is committed to reducing the number of agriculture-related workplace deaths and injuries. They are doing this by offering health and safety programs, training and evaluation, consultation and guidance.As a COR program certifying partner AgSafe offers a Certificate of Recognition (COR) program for large and small employers in British Columbia’s agriculture industry and ensures that WorkSafeBC is aware of all COR certified agriculture employers.AgSafe’s COR Self-Assessment Tool is also available to companies that are not classified as agriculture, such as landscape professionals, tree services, or animal handling, but have been advised to work with AgSafe for their COR certification.AgSafe does not charge for use of the assessment tool. Set up your account by going to the COR Self-Assessment website.For more information about AgSafe services or agriculture workplace safety call 1-877-533-1789 or visit www.AgSafeBC.ca
Drip irrigation is no longer the ‘new kid on the block,’ and nearly 10 per cent of U.S. farms rely on it to grow their crops. Each year, new growers dabble with drip and many learn by trial and error. Reaching out with some helpful tips to those growers is Inge Bisconer, technical marketing and sales manager for Toro Micro-Irrigation.
Hydro One and Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. recently announced the AgriPump Rebate Program, the first program of its kind in Ontario to offer instant rebates to customers who purchase a high-efficiency pump kit. The program is ideal for all farming applications, including livestock, greenhouse and vineyards. Upgrading to a high-efficiency pump will improve performance and could save customers up to 40 per cent of their system's energy costs."This energy conservation program is focused on helping our agricultural customers manage their electricity and water usage all while saving money," said Cindy-Lynn Steele, vice president, Market Solutions, Hydro One. "As Ontario's largest electricity provider to farming customers, we are committed to offering a variety of energy solutions to help them save on electricity and invest in programs that will meet their important needs while delivering a positive return to their bottom line.""This collaborative approach with IESO and Hydro One allowed us to be very innovative with this new program," says Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. CEO and president Brian Wilkie. "We're happy to be able to cater to the agricultural sector and provide this instant rebate program on high efficiency pump sets with advanced control technology.""Water conservation and high energy costs are a big concern for farmers in the Niagara region and across the province," said Drew Spoelstra, director for Halton, Hamilton-Wentworth, Niagara North and Niagara South, Ontario Federation of Agriculture. "The Save on Energy Conservation Program and this type of cross-utility initiative to launch the AgriPump Rebate Program is great for agriculture."To be eligible for a rebate under the program, each kit must be between 0.5 hp and 10 hp and must comprise of a pump, motor, variable frequency drive and accessories. Customers can receive up to $610 per constant pressure pump kit. The pumps are quick and easy to install and guard against wear and tear.The AgriPump Rebate Program is only available to agriculture customers in Hydro One and Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. (NPEI) service territories. The instant rebate is fulfilled at the point of purchase.To learn more and participate in the AgriPump Rebate program, visit: www.agripump.caContact: 1-844-403-3937 or
Champaign, Ill. — A new lightweight, low-cost agricultural robot could transform data collection and field scouting for agronomists, seed companies and farmers.The TerraSentia crop phenotyping robot, developed by a team of scientists at the University of Illinois, was featured at the 2018 Energy Innovation Summit Technology Showcase in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 14.Traveling autonomously between crop rows, the robot measures the traits of individual plants using a variety of sensors, including cameras, transmitting the data in real time to the operator’s phone or laptop computer. A custom app and tablet computer that come with the robot enable the operator to steer the robot using virtual reality and GPS. For the full story, CLICK HERE. 
January 24, 2018, Charlottetown, PEI – It will now be elementary for a P.E.I. raw potato preparation operation to inspect the inside of potatoes with new technology called the Sherlock Separator-2400. RWL Holdings Ltd. in Travellers Rest, PEI, recently received more than $400,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the province for food safety equipment. The Sherlock Separator is a chemical imaging machine that uses new technology to inspect the inside of the potato without removing the peel. READ MORE
January 11, 2018 - The growing popularity of robotic weeders for vegetable crops has grown partly out of necessity, says Steven Fennimore, an extension specialist at the University of California, Davis. The need for robotic weeders stems from two issues: a lack of herbicides available for use in specialty crops, and the fact that hand-weeding has become more and more expensive. Without pesticides, growers have had to hire people to hand-weed vast fields. Hand-weeding is slow and increasingly expensive: it can cost between $150 and $300 per acre. That motivates some growers to look to robotic weeders. “I’ve been working with robotic weeders for about 10 years now, and the technology is really just starting to come into commercial use,” Fennimore says. “It’s really an economic incentive to consider them.” Fennimore works with university scientists and companies to engineer and test the weeders. The weeders utilize tiny blades that pop in and out to uproot weeds without damaging crops. He says that although the technology isn’t perfect, it’s getting better and better. The weeders are programmed to recognize a pattern and can tell the difference between a plant and the soil. However, they currently have trouble telling the difference between a weed and a crop. That said, Fennimore explains how some companies are training the machines to tell a lettuce plant from a weed. He’s also working with university engineers on a system to tag the crop plant so the weeders will avoid it. “The problem with the machines right now is that they are version 1.0, and there’s tremendous room for improvement,” he says. “The inability to be able to tell the difference between a weed and a crop requires the grower to be very exact when using them. The rows have to be a little straighter, cleaner, and more consistent because the machines aren’t that sophisticated yet. The robots don’t like surprises.” The robotic weeders currently on the market cost anywhere between $120,000 and $175,000. For some growers, it is a better long-term option than expensive hand-weeding. Others think it’s a lot of money for a new technology, and are waiting for it to get better and cheaper. Fennimore believes robotic weeders are the future of weeding in specialty crops. Because of higher labour costs and more incentives to grow organically with fewer pesticides, European growers have been using robotic weeders for some time. Fennimore is focusing his work on physical control of weeds because it offers the best option. He’s also started working in crops besides lettuce, such as tomatoes and onions. He adds that each crop will require a different system. “I believe what makes the robotic weeders better than herbicides is that this electronic-based technology is very flexible and can be updated easily,” he says. “We all update our phones and computers constantly, which is a sign of a robust and flexible technology.” Fennimore recently presented his research at the annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America in Tampa, FL.  
Pests in food-handling environments threaten product safety and create an unpleasant sight for employees and visitors. In addition to physically damaging the product or its packaging, some pests can carry and transmit diseases like E. coli, Salmonella and hantavirus. When products become infested or contaminated, they not only impact a business’s bottom line but also its reputation.
According to my children – and myself at times – I’m ancient. I grew up in those heady days before TV remotes and hand-held video games, back when where you stood in a room played a role in whether the TV station would come in clear. I remember when personal computers became mainstream. My first PC was gigantic, composed of three heavy, bulky components that could each serve as a boat anchor. The PC was going to revolutionize work. Hello three-day workweek.
August 28, 2017, Washington - In today’s modern, high-density orchards, growers are constantly seeking new ways to match the biology of their trees with emerging technologies in mechanization. The goal: improve both yields and efficiency."It’s true that some technologies don’t exist yet, but the compact, planar architectures with precision canopy management are most suitable for future mechanization and even for robotics," said Matthew Whiting, Washington State University research horticulturist. “So it is kind of an exciting time for what will be a new era of tree fruit production, as more and more technologies become available."Research labs and research orchards are driving new developments, but in many cases, they’re happening with innovative growers and private companies, he said.“Growers are innovating with orchard systems and varieties and architectures, and that’s fueling university research in many cases, and conversely, universities are driving new genotypes and how to manage and grow them best,” Whiting said. “It’s all coming together as it has never before, and it is an exciting time.”At the same time, employing the mechanization tools that already exist can take a variety of forms, across all four seasons.Those platforms you’re using for harvest? You can use them for pruning, green thinning and training, too.Two growers whose companies have been pushing forward with platforms, hedgers and other tools shared their insights for automating tasks in winter, spring, summer and fall with Good Fruit Grower.For Rod Farrow, who farms 520 acres of apples at Lamont Fruit Farm in Waterport, New York, the emphasis has been to increase income with high-value varieties and to reach maximum potential income on his standard varieties, Honeycrisp, Fuji and Gala.Almost everything is planted on Budagovsky 9 rootstock in 11-foot by 2-foot spacing, and he’s been planting and pruning to a fruiting wall for almost 18 years.“It’s less about employing mechanization by season than about deciding the orchard system — as much as anything, making sure the system that you plant now is suitable for robot use,” he said. “If it’s not, you’re going to be in trouble in terms of how you can adapt that new technology, which is coming really fast.”In the past two years, Farrow also has elected to install 3-foot taller posts in new plantings, allowing for a 2-foot taller system intended to increase production from 60 to 70 bins per acre to a more predictable 80-bin range. READ MORE 
Members in good standing have until October 1, 2018 to submit resolutions for consideration at the CanAgPlus Annual General Meeting.Resolutions must meet the following content criteria: Must be relevant to the business of the corporation Must be clear and understandable to members Must include background to the resolution either within the "Whereas" clauses or as an addendum to the resolution Must clearly define the action requested (i.e., provide an action plan with timelines) Additional information is included in the CanAgPlus AGM Resolutions Policy. To submit your resolution, use the resolution submission template available in the Resolutions tab at: www.canadagap.ca/events/annual-general-meetingIf you have any questions, contact the CanadaGAP office at 613-829- 4711 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Courchesne Larose, one of the country’s leading distributors of fresh fruits and vegetables, is planning big things to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding. Over the next 100 days, a host of activities will be held to mark the occasion in a very special way.Members of the public will be invited to play a part in the festivities, as the centennial celebrations culminate with a huge event for the whole family on Oct. 5, at Montréal’s Olympic Stadium, where Courchesne Larose and its partners will attempt to beat the Guinness World Record for the largest fruit salad ever assembled.100 days of festivitiesThe Courchesne Larose centennial celebrations kicked off on Sept. 8 at a major event bringing together hundreds of the company’s employees—the team that is helping to build the success stories of the next 100 years—along with their families.On Oct. 17, a tribute will be paid to the late Louis-Charles Routhier, former owner of Courchesne Larose, whose outstanding commitment to society will be recognized by the community organization Je Passe Partout, which is working to reduce the school dropout rate in the borough of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.The idea of giving back to the community, which is a core company value, will feature prominently in these 100 days of celebrations. On Nov. 5, Courchesne Larose will proudly act as official fruit and vegetable supplier and a major partner of La Grande Tablée, a benefit evening that will see a gourmet meal served to some 700 guests in both Montréal and Québec City, with profits supporting development of La Tablée des Chefs’ cooking education programs for young people.Next, for the Grande Guignolée des médias on Dec. 6, the extended Courchesne Larose family will join the collective movement to gather food items to help thousands of needy families over the Holidays.The 100 days of celebrations will wrap up on Dec. 16 with the company’s traditional Holiday party, at which a new employee-development initiative will be launched.“A century of success doesn’t happen by itself, so it was important for us that these celebrations include all those whose unfailing support and co-operation have played a role in our accomplishments during that time: the members of our outstanding team, along with our loyal partners,” explains Alain Routhier, president, Courchesne Larose.Besides the activities planned for employees and partners who help ensure the company’s success, the true high point of the celebrations promises to be reached at a special event on Oct. 5, at which the Courchesne Larose team, in collaboration with La Tablée des Chefs, First Fridays, Moisson Montréal, and Loop Juice will try to set an unusual Guinness World Record.The “Grande Coupe:” 20,000 pounds of fruit for a good causeBecause it’s not every day that a company celebrates 100 years, Courchesne Larose plans to make history with a Guinness World Record attempt for the largest fruit salad ever assembled.On Oct. 5, members of the public are invited to the Esplanade Sun Life Financial outside Olympic Stadium for the “Grande Coupe”, a one-of-a-kind festive family event, where an enormous fruit salad weighing more than 20,000 pounds will be concocted in an attempt to beat the previous record set in Vienna, Austria, in 2014. The event will be held as part of First Fridays, the largest gathering of food trucks in Canada.The initiative is also for a good cause: the giant fruit salad will be divided up and distributed to community groups serving Montréal’s neediest citizens, via the Moisson Montréal network and the Tablée des Chefs food recovery program.A family affairThe history of Courchesne Larose is inseparable from that of the Routhier family: going back to the company’s early years with Raoul Routhier at its helm, family members have contributed significantly to its growth. Courchesne Larose’s impressive development continued under the leadership of Louis-Charles Routhier, and it now distributes fresh, quality fruits and vegetables to every corner of Québec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada.“It’s truly impressive looking back at where this great story began, with a small business selling apples and hay in the east end of Montréal, and seeing how we’ve grown into one of the largest fruit and vegetable distributors in the country,” adds Routhier. “If they were still with us, our father and grandfather would have good reason to be proud!”A century later, the Courchesne Larose Group employs more than 500 people. The company’s third generation of leaders is now well established, and it is grooming the next generation to take over one day in the future.“Many wonderful projects await Courchesne Larose over the medium and longer term,” the Routhier brothers add, concluding: “And to guide our company in its second century, we’ll be looking to the fourth generation of the Routhier family, who will be called on to assume greater responsibilities in the years to come. We’re not ready to pass the torch just yet, but we’re already paving the way, to make sure Courchesne Larose continues to write success stories for at least 100 more years!”About Courchesne LaroseA major player in the Canadian fruit and vegetable industry for more than 100 years, Courchesne Larose Ltd. is a family owned business and the flagship of Courchesne Larose Group. Its primary mission is to give its providers the biggest showcase and the finest possible distribution network for their fruits and vegetables in Eastern Canada, and allow its customers to enjoy diversified, quality products year-round. Courchesne Larose’s suppliers are based all over the world, while its customers are located right across Canada as well as on the U.S. East Coast.
After many months of hard work, the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) is pleased to announce the launch of its newly redesigned website www.capi-icpa.ca. Featuring a fresh and modern look and ease of navigation, CAPI hopes you’ll find it easier to discover and learn about what the organization is doing. Among the new features, the site is easy to navigate and has easy filtering with instant loading. Whether you’re on a desktop computer, a tablet or a smart phone, CAPI’s new website has functionality, ensuring a much better experience while you’re browsing on touch-screen devices.Any questions or feedback, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
The Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG) and the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Processors Association (OF&VPA) are continuing with a bursary fund to support and encourage individuals pursuing a career in any aspect of the processing vegetable industry. These organizations are working together to ensure that there are new individuals who will have the interest, skills, and abilities to further develop and grow this sector of Ontario’s agri-food economy.Sponsor donations allow the OPVG and the OF&VPA to offer up to four bursaries of $2,000 each, for a total of $8,000. These include bursaries in memory of former OPVG directors Jim Whitson and Ken Epp. Note that the Jim Whitson bursary is awarded to a student attending Ridgetown College. The award in memory of Ken Epp receives an additional $1,000 from the fund established in his name by the OPVG.Applicants must be a resident of Ontario and registered as a full-time student at any college or university entering the second, third, fourth or post-graduate year of study which relates in some aspect to the processing vegetable industry.Second-year Ridgetown horticulture student and 2018 bursary recipient Josephine McCormick used the award to help cover living expenses as she approached her goal of expanding on her current road-side fruit and vegetable stand. Second-year Ridgetown agriculture student and 2018 Kenn Epp Memorial Award winner Natasha Lugtigheid used her bursary to cover tuition and living expenses and is currently working as a crop scout for a local, family-run Agronomy business.Applications are due October 15th. The Bursary Application Form is available online at www.opvg.org or on request from the OPVG office (519-681-1875). Applications are accepted by regular mail at 435 Consortium Court, London, ON N6E 2S8, by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , by fax at 519-685-5719, or via online submissions at www.opvg.org/opvg-bursary/.
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, along with Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, Stephen Fuhr, recently announced that the Government of Canada has secured market access for British Columbia fresh cherries to Japan. In 2017, Japan imported over $62.7 million (CAD) of fresh cherries from around the world.Building on Canada's efforts to deepen its trade relationships and commitment to creating new export opportunities, this market access marks a key deliverable from the Minister's recent trade mission to Japan in March 2018. This is one of many opportunities that will help Canada to reach the target of $75 billion in annual agri-food exports by 2025.Once the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) enters into force, Canadian agriculture and agri-food exports will benefit from preferential access to key Asian markets, including Japan.Through the CPTPP, Japan's tariffs of 8.5 per cent on fresh cherries will be eliminated over five years from entry into force."The Government of Canada is pleased to announce the new market access for British Columbia fresh cherries to Japan. Our Government is committed to seeking market access opportunities across the globe to strengthen our bilateral trade relationships, put more money in the pockets of Canadian farmers, and grow the middle class in Canada,” MacAulay said.Fresh cherry exports to Japan could be worth up to $8 million annually, according to industry experts. The increased access will advance the competitiveness of, and create new opportunities for, the fresh cherry sector."The BC Cherry Association is extremely pleased that efforts from government and industry have secured access to the Japanese market for Canadian cherries. Our growers and industry partners look forward to building long-lasting relationships with Japanese customers and cannot wait to see cherries branded with the maple leaf in stores across Japan," said Sukhpaul Bal, president, B.C. Cherry Association.
A new Wallaceburg food manufacturing facility is being heralded as great news by the agricultural community.Whyte’s Foods will spend $16.5 million redeveloping a Wallaceburg property. The company has purchased the former ECR International Ltd., Olsen Division factory on Baseline Road. They plan to make the existing structure into a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, with operations beginning in the fall of 2019.The Quebec-based company expects to create nearly 100 permanent year-round jobs in Wallacebureg. They are Canada’s largest producer of pickles, relish and maraschino cherries.Many Chatham-Kent farmers already supply Whyte’s food manufacturing plant in Quebec with cucumbers and hot peppers. Whyte’s has a manufacturing plant in Quebec, but they must truck in a lot of cucumbers and peppers. A secondary plant in Wallaceburg will allow Whyte’s to produce so much more at harvest. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
Employment and Social Development Canada has extended the deadline for commenting on the Primary Agriculture Review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).New deadline: September 30, 2018CHC encourages all stakeholders to share their insight, ideas and experiences on four key themes: Program Eligibility and Structure - Explore the definition of Primary Agriculture and the use of the National Commodities List in the context of the TFW Program, as well as the structure of Primary Agriculture Stream. Wages and Deductions - Discuss the current wage structure for the Primary Agriculture Stream and how it relates to the needs of the agricultural sector. Housing in Primary Agriculture - Explore the current requirements for housing provided to temporary foreign workers and the impact of creating a national housing standard for the Primary Agriculture Stream. Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Processing - Discuss the current system for processing of LMIA applications, including possible measures to improve efficiency and service standards; and the potential impacts of an LMIA fee. In addition to the themes identified above, stakeholders can choose to provide feedback on additional topics related to the Primary Agriculture Stream of the TFWP.You are invited to participate in these consultations through one of the following options:Provide written submissions by completing the submission template and sending it to:
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay, and Minister of Agriculture for British Columbia, Lana Popham, issued the following statement today in response to the British Columbia wildfires.“The Governments of Canada and British Columbia are working closely together to ensure the safety of Canadians during this difficult time. In addition to other actions being taken by both our governments, officials are monitoring the wildfires and the potential impacts on farms.“A suite of federal-provincial-territorial business risk management programs is available to helpfarmers manage risks that threaten the viability of their farm, including disaster situations. Weencourage farmers to participate in these programs to help ensure they can access support duringthese difficult times.“Having been farmers ourselves, our thoughts go out to the farm families who have been affected by the wildfires. In British Columbia and across Canada, our hardworking farmers are the backbone of our economy. We are committed to supporting them at this difficult time as they work hard to get their safe, high-quality products to our kitchen tables.”For more information on the current status of B.C. wildfires, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status
BASF recently closed the acquisition of Bayer’s global vegetable seeds business, mainly operating under the brand Nunhems. The transaction adds a well-recognized brand with a very successful business track record to BASF’s portfolio. The acquired vegetable seeds business comprises 24 crops and about 2,600 varieties. It also includes well-established, strong research and development and breeding systems with over 100 unique breeding programs in more than 15 crops.The addition of the vegetable seeds business enhances BASF’s global offer to farmers. It strengthens BASF’s seed platform and complements the recently expanded Agricultural Solutions portfolio, which includes seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming.This closing completes BASF’s acquisition of a significant range of businesses and assets with combined 2017 sales of €2.2 billion, which Bayer offered to divest in the context of its takeover of Monsanto. The all-cash purchase price amounts to a total of €7.6 billion, subject to certain adjustments at closing.
Interfresh, Inc., a leading national marketer of fruits and vegetables, recently announced that company has started marketing Driediger Farms’ blueberries. In addition, the company announced the launch of its new website.Driediger Farms, based in Langley, British Columbia, is a leading grower/packer of blueberries since 1964. Interfresh started shipping blueberries in early August, and is marketing them under the Driediger Farms label to the Western U.S. market.“We are very pleased to be associated with Driediger Farms and their outstanding team,” said Carolyn Chang, director of berry programs for Interfresh. “We are looking forward to supplying our retail and foodservice customers with these excellent berries.”“Rhonda Driediger and her team do a fabulous job producing and packing very high-quality fruit for the fresh market,” said Chris Puentes, president of Interfresh. “This new BC deal extends our season nicely, and complements our ‘Pacific Berry Farms’ program of US-grown blueberries, blackberries and strawberries”.Interfresh is shipping Driediger Farms blueberries both FOB British Columbia and from the Interfresh Distribution Center in Los Angeles.In addition to the new marketing announcement, the company also officially launched their new website at www.getinterfresh.com.“The new site more accurately portrays our position in the supply chain as a marketer of fresh fruits and vegetables and celebrates the fact that Interfresh has been delivering fresh produce solutions to our customers for more than 30 years – we call it ‘30 Years of Fresh Ideas,’” added Puentes.
The family-owned, Road 13 Vineyards winery is elated with a platinum win amongst the 15 medals awarded and the titles of number one winery in both British Columbia and Canada.Road 13 Vineyards is the only winery in Canada to win both platinum and a top-ten national spot for six consecutive years. Road 13 boasts nine platinum medal wins since their induction into the awards in 2013 - double that of any competing winery across the nation.This year marked the largest showing with 1,850 entries from 257 different wineries from seven provinces. Road 13 Vineyards was awarded platinum for the 2016 Roussanne. Fourteen additional medals were awarded to wines within the Road 13 Vineyards portfolio of red, white, sparkling and rosé wines including eight gold, two silver and four bronze. No other winery has received as many gold medals within a single year since 2013."We are so delighted with this win," shares managing partner, Joseph Luckhurst. "Our team's tireless dedication to excellence has really paid off, as has following our passion for Rhone-style wines." Road 13 Vineyards has turned their focus to Rhone style varietals of late with real success. The Rhone varietals have consistently shown the highest quality of fruit in the vineyards and reflect characteristics of old world complexity and new world fruit intensity. "A platinum medal for the 2016 Roussanne is proof of our understanding of the best way to express our distinctive terroir in the glass."Held annually in June, the National Wine Awards of Canada (NWAC) are only open to wines grown and produced in Canada. The goal of 'The Nationals' is to expose Canadian wine drinkers to the best in Canadian wines. With no price restrictions each winery has the opportunity to compete with the best wines in the country. For more winery information, visit www.road13vineyards.com.
The Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) is pleased to welcome Gabrielle Ferguson as the new leadership programs director.In this new position, Ferguson will be directly responsible for managing ROI’s long-running Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program, and continuing to develop the organization’s other leadership program offerings. Ferguson will also be instrumental in maintaining and creating sponsor relationships for current and future programs.Ferguson comes to ROI with over 25 years’ experience in both industry and government, having worked with organizations such as the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Cargill, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the University of Guelph. She is also a graduate of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (Class 15). Ferguson lives on a cash-crop farm in Lambton County and is passionate about promoting a greater understanding between agriculture and the public.Chief Executive Officer Norm Ragetlie is delighted that Ferguson has joined the team and says, “Gabe’s arrival will give us a chance to take a fresh look at our leadership programming offerings. Gabe brings a wealth of ag sector relationships to this job which we will build upon to ensure the needs of the sector are being met.”Ferguson is expected to begin her position with the organization in September. “I’m excited to support leadership development in the ag sector and rural communities,” Ferguson says. “I’m looking forward to this new role and engaging with industry stakeholders to explore existing and new opportunities for leadership programming.” The Rural Ontario Institute is a non-profit organization committed to developing leaders and facilitating collaboration on issues and opportunities facing rural and northern Ontario. More information is available at www.ruralontarioinstitute.ca/.

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