Spears of success

Spears of success

Love for asparagus is growing

Grape grower’s heart and soul is in the vineyard

Grape grower’s heart and soul is in the vineyard

It’s often been said that a grape grower’s heart and soul is in the vineyard.

A golden future in Canada for pair of B.C. apple growers

A golden future in Canada for pair of B.C. apple growers

When Tahir Raza came to Canada from Pakistan in 1994

February 20, 2018, East Lansing, MI – This article provides a brief summary of some of the research being produced by some of the institutions participating in a project titled “Management of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in U.S. Specialty Crops” funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). It is not a detailed summary of all the work being conducted within this project, but provides highlights from areas of the project that may be of interest to growers. Researchers continue to track the movement and abundance of brown marmorated stink bugs. The largest populations and the most widespread damage to tree fruits is in the Mid-Atlantic region. In Michigan, we have seen brown marmorated stink bug numbers slowly build and currently the majority of the population is found in the southern third of the state with the highest numbers in the southern two tiers of counties. Damaging levels of brown marmorated stink bug do occur in localized areas north of this area and have produced fruit injury on individual farms north of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the Ridge area. The information required to detect the movement and relative numbers comes from trapping. A great deal of effort has gone into finding the most effective trap and lure. A variety of trap styles exist, but the pyramid trap baited with an attractant lure has been the standard way to detect brown marmorated stink bugs. Lures continue to be improved and the current standard is a two-part lure comprised of an aggregation pheromone and an attractant from a related stink bug. A side-by-side comparison of the pyramid trap with an easier to use clear sticky trap on a 4-foot wooden stake using the same two lures has shown that the pyramid trap catches more stink bug adults than the clear sticky trap early in the season, and more adults and nymphs late in the season, but similar numbers mid-season. Importantly, the number of captured stink bugs on the clear sticky traps is positively correlated with the catch from the pyramid traps, which means the clear sticky traps could replace the pyramid traps and be used to determine presence, relative numbers and seasonal movement. The pyramid trap was improved by replacing the dichlorvos strip killing agent with a piece of pyrethroid-impregnated netting. The pyrethroid in this case is deltamethrin. The netting is similar to mosquito netting used in malaria prevention programs and is commonly referred to as long-lasting insecticide netting. The benefits are that it lasts for the entire trapping season and is much safer to handle due to its low mammalian toxicity. Long-lasting insecticide netting also shows promise as a means of trapping brown marmorated stink bugs. The most promising biological control agent continues to be a wasp parasitoid (parasites do not kill their host, but parasitoids do kill them) known as the samurai wasp, Trissolcus japonicas. This tiny wasp puts its own eggs into the stink bug’s eggs, and the developing wasp larvae use the stink bug egg for food until they emerge. In Asia, where brown marmorated stink bug originally came from, 60 to 90 percent of the eggs are parasitized by this wasp. Researchers in the U.S. have determined that the wasp highly prefers brown marmorated stink bug eggs over one of our native stink bugs eggs, spined soldier bug, so they should have little-to-no impact on them. The USDA has yet to approve the general release of these wasps, but it is under review and could potentially happen at any time. Interestingly, like brown marmorated stink bugs, this wasp has been transported across the ocean. To date, populations have been detected in some Mid-Atlantic states and the Pacific Northwest and are slowly spreading on their own. However, if permission would be given by the USDA, they could be mass-reared and released where they would produce the greatest benefit. Additionally, other brown marmorated stink bug predators and parasites, ones native to the U.S., have been identified and are being evaluated for their effectiveness. The particular insects attacking brown marmorated stink bugs vary according to habitat in each area. So far, the incidence of attack for these homegrown natural enemies of brown marmorated stink bugs is low. Another area of interest is looking for ways to protect natural enemies from the negative effects of control procedures used against brown marmorated stink bugs. By carefully managing insecticide use, natural enemies may be preserved. One way to manage insecticide use is by establishing threshold levels for the pest. Determining an accurate threshold level requires testing over several years and in many orchard environments. Research in West Virginia apple orchards has shown that a threshold of 10 brown marmorated stink bugs per trap can lower insecticide use by 40 percent compared to a grower standard program. A different trapping study compared brown marmorated stink bug captures in traps placed adjacent to wooded areas next to orchards to traps placed within orchards. The interior placement resulted in fewer nymphs captured, but adult catch was similar. However, there is still no clear relationship between the number of brown marmorated stink bugs captured in a trap and the amount of injury this level will cause in the orchard. Insecticide assays in North Carolina showed that out of four Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)-approved materials – Entrust, Neemix, Pyganic, Azera – Entrust was the most harmful to two native parasitoid wasp species, even when exposed to 0.1-times the field rate. However, when exposed to residues of sugar-laced pesticides, only the lowest rate of Neemix had no impact. In an Oregon study, more than half of the wasps exposed to dry residues of Actara, Asana or Admire Pro died within an hour of exposure. After 24 hours, mortality was greater than 75 per cent for those materials and for Entrust and Exirel, but not for Altacor. A promising management tactic is attract-and-kill using pheromone-baited perimeter trees that receive either a regular insecticide application or have long-lasting insecticide netting within the canopy. Seven- and 14-day spray intervals using attract-and-kill or perimeter sprays were compared to 10 adults per trap (cumulative) threshold sprays of two alternate row middle applications and to a control. If the cumulative threshold level was met in the attract-and-kill or in the threshold spray plots, it also triggered two consecutive alternate row middle sprays. Fruit injury was significantly reduced in the apple blocks using the perimeter sprays on seven- or 14-day intervals in the blocks using attract-and-kill with sprays at seven- and 14-day intervals or with long-lasting insecticide netting, and in blocks treated after reaching threshold levels of brown marmorated stink bugs, compared to the grower standard. This suggests perimeter sprays are an effective management tactic to employ against brown marmorated stink bugs. Long-lasting insecticide netting placed in attract-and-kill trees in a vertical orientation killed more brown marmorated stink bugs than when the fabric was oriented horizontally. The level of injury to peaches and apples under grower standard programs was similar to the injury found when just orchard perimeters consisting of the exterior row plus one row toward the interior were sprayed. This did not hold for peaches if the orchard was 10 acres or more in size. Another use of long-lasting insecticide netting is to drape a 5-foot by 5-foot section of it over a pole or fence and attach an attractant to the netting. Several of these are placed on the orchard perimeter between woods and the orchard. Brown marmorated stink bugs attracted to the lure come into contact with the pesticide in the netting and die. This may allow for interception of the adults before they enter the orchard resulting in less fruit damage. Multi-state research efforts allow researchers to quickly acquire information that would take individual states or regions many years by themselves. Most of these experiments will be repeated in 2018 and new ones will be added as we continue to grow the knowledge base that allows us to successfully meet the challenges that brown marmorated stink bugs bring to the tree fruit industry.
February 15, 2018 – Potatoes used for crisps and chips are usually stored at eight degrees – a temperature high enough to prevent starch from breaking down into glucose and fructose. To slow sprouting, potato producers often use a suppressant like chlorpropham, a chemical the European Union (EU) is looking to phase out due to health concerns. Hoping to find an alternative to chemical sprout suppressors, the EU-funded GENSPI (Genomic Selection for Potato Improvement) project has developed a genetic marker system to identify plants that display a resistance to glucose and fructose formation. Their tubers can be stored at three or four degrees, low enough to keep sprout growth at bay for very long periods. “Glucose and fructose formed during cold storage can cause very dark fry colours, leaving potato crisps and chips with an unacceptably bitter taste. The sugars can also cause a build-up of acrylamide, a potential carcinogen,” says Dan Milbourne, GENSPI project coordinator. GENSPI developed new genomic selection breeding methodologies that will allow potato breeders to select the varieties of potato that seem to be resistant to sweetening at low temperatures. To do this, researchers gathered a large collection of potato plants and fried thousands of tubers – the equivalent to 10,000 bags of potato crisps – that had been held in different storage conditions. They then measured their colour once fried and drew the links between fry colour and the genetic variation of the plant. “Because the fry colour is controlled by many genes the best approach was to scan the genome for variation at many sites to find correlations between colour and genetic variation,” explains Milbourne. Researchers then used the latest techniques in genome sequences – known as next generation sequencing – to identify over 100,000 regions across the genome where the DNA sequence varied among the plants. They combined data on variation on the potato phenotype and genome to build statistical models that could predict fry colour from DNA sequencing information. “From the 100,000 regions showing genetic variation between the breeding lines, we were able to identify a smaller number of DNA markers that gave us a good ability to predict fry colour,” says Stephen Byrne, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow who carried out the research. “This means we can develop an inexpensive DNA-based test to predict fry colour that can be applied to tens of thousands of plants in a potato breeding program.” Traditionally, potato breeders inter-cross plant varieties to produce up to 100,000 seedlings, and then eliminate poorly performing plant types over a period of 10 years. Varieties that are resistant to glucose and fructose formation can only be identified at the end of this time, meaning that many potential varieties have already been eliminated from the breeding process.  GENSPI carried out its research in collaboration with a commercial potato breeding program led by Denis Griffin. Its newly-developed technique allows resistant plants to be identified early in the 10-year breeding program. The team hopes the project will lead to the release of one or more varieties that give an excellent fry colour even at low-temperature storage, avoiding chemical sprout suppressants. “We hope to see these varieties released in the next five years,” concludes Griffin.
February 15, 2018, Fredericton, NB – After years of research and development, 15 of the newest varieties of potatoes were displayed in Fredericton to give growers a starchy taste of the future. Each year, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Research and Development Centre in Fredericton hosts a fair of sorts, where researchers get to show off new varieties to farmers and companies. READ MORE  
Storytelling is a valuable skill in today’s society. Showcasing your business or that of a signature farm product with a story is one of the best marketing strategies you can have. Who doesn’t love a great story?
Efforts to develop sweet potatoes into a commercial crop for Manitoba farmers are showing good progress at two locations in the province.
There are now seven generations of farmers in Delta, B.C. behind (and in front of) Pacific Potato Corp., and while the potato was always a dietary staple, it wasn’t until recent generations that it became this family’s mainstay.
February 12, 2018, Guelph Ont – A not-for-profit food business incubator in Toronto is helping entrepreneurs get their fledgling food companies off the ground. Food Starter offers food prep, processing, packaging and storage facilities to industry entrants at a reduced rate, as well as courses to teach entrepreneurs about key aspects of the food industry, like food safety, regulatory compliance, labelling, accounting, marketing, business management and human resources. The Toronto Food Business Incubator partnered with the City of Toronto to access funding from Growing Forward 2 to develop and launch Food Starter in November 2015. “A lot of people here are good at recipes but don’t know about all the other things needed to run a food business,” explains Carlos Correia, Food Starter’s facility manager. “We cover all aspects of business development to give them information they didn’t know existed but would be road block to keep them from moving forward.” Food Starter’s incubator clients are new food entrepreneurs who access shared space by the hour on an as-needed basis to develop or perfect new recipes, scale up production or get ready to launch their first product. Esther Jiang has been using Food Starter’s training courses and incubator space to launch Gryllies, a line of high protein pasta sauces using cricket flour from Norwood, Ontario’s Entomo Farms. “Food Starter has been paramount to setting us up for success. In food, there are a lot of boxes to check and this is building that foundation to launch us for the market place,” she says. “Without Food Starter, everything would have taken 20 times longer and I don’t know that I would still be doing this if it wasn’t for their help.” Food Starter’s seven accelerator units are available for longer-term use where clients can bring their own equipment into a dedicated space but still receive support and advice from Food Starter experts and fellow entrepreneurs. Jaswant’s Kitchen is a family-run Indian spice blend company that co-owner Simi Kular says was ready for its own space to increase production and grow their business. “Food Starter has taught us what a food production facility entails, from food safety to pest control and Good Manufacturing Practices,” explains Simi. “And learning from the experts and the other businesses here is invaluable – the collaborative relationships make it fun to come to work every day.” Correia says the ultimate goal is to have entrepreneurs outgrow their accelerator space and move into their own facilities – like Rob Fuller of The Duke Brothers. His cold-brew coffee business has taken off after less than a year with Food Starter and he’s ready to spread his wings. “I had an idea but not a lot of direction or background. I learned a lot from Food Starter’s courses and being able to use the space here,” he explains. “Food Starter encourages you to grow, they understand your business, and I’ve had a quick growth curve from start to running a business thanks to their support.” According to Correia, Food Starter meets a critical need for early stage training and support for new food businesses in Toronto, and space in the incubator is in demand. “Our main focus is to develop business. We create jobs and we’ve already seen some of those results as companies here at Food Starter are hiring staff as they grow,” says Correia. “We couldn’t develop this without the funding we’ve received. Food Starter is an amazing concept that gives a lot of benefit to new start-ups, and this facility wouldn’t be possible without that support,” he adds.
February 8, 2018, Lucky Lake, Sask – Some new life is being breathed into a massive potato facility once owned by the Saskatchewan government. In the 1990s, the provincial government spent millions of dollars trying to develop the provincial potato industry before abandoning the plan completely. Now, Vancouver-based United Greeneries plans to open a marijuana facility in a massive 60,000 square foot facility once owned by Spudco in Lucky Lake, roughly 130 kilometres southwest of Saskatoon. READ MORE
January 30, 2018, Edmonton, Alta – Sour cherries and haskap (blue honeysuckles) are excellent fruit crops to grow in Alberta, with lots of potential markets for these tasty berries. These are relatively new crops in Alberta, with many changes and developments in the industry over the past five years. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has organized a full day workshop in Olds, Alta., to provide new or potential sour cherry and haskap producers with information on all aspects of growing these crops, from planting to harvest. Participants will receive information on varietal selection, establishment, maintenance and harvest of both fruit crops, as well as more detailed information that applies to more advanced growers, in an evening session. Economic realities and the importance of understanding and identifying target markets will also be covered. Date: February 21, 2018 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. – Registration 9 a.m. to noon – Dwarf sour cherry sessions Noon to 12:40 p.m. – Lunch (lunch and snacks provided) 12:40 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Economics and introductory haskap sessions 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Advanced haskap sessions Location: Pomeroy Inn and Suites at Olds College, 4601 46 Avenue, Olds, Alta.Cost: $20 per person (plus GST), full day, includes lunch, snacks and reference materials for each farm operation; $10/person (plus GST) (afternoon/evening advanced haskap sessions only) Participants are asked to register in advance by calling the Ag-Info Centre Registration line at 1-800-387-6030 before to Feb. 14, 2018, to assist with planning. On-line registration is also available.
I am envious of people who, at least from the outside, look like they have their life together and in order. They have a successful business but are not working 24/7/365 just to pay their bills. They take holidays at least once a year and maybe more often. They seem to be able to make a decision and go with it.
B.C. grape growers and winemakers were treated to a day in the vineyard with an Italian viticulture expert, as part of the Triggs International Premium Vinifera Lecture Series.
Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association’s 2017 orchard tour focused on innovations and research trials in members’ orchards.
Researchers are combining new digital tools, computer technologies and machine learning to bring cost-effective weed control solutions to the field. Although still in the early stages, this new high-tech solution is being designed as an advanced spot-spraying precision technology that will help farmers reduce input costs and add another management tool to their integrated management systems.  
The use of biocontrol pest methods in horticulture is growing, whether it’s trap crops, pheromone traps, predatory insects or biopesticides.
February 9, 2018 – For growers, a fundamental element of integrated pest management is knowing what pest and beneficial species are in your fields. But what if there’s an insect and no one knows if it’s good or bad? That was the situation for apple growers in Washington when it came to the European earwig. The bugs were there, but no one knew if they helped growers or harmed their crop. In 2014, the same year Robert Orpet began his doctoral program, there was a bad outbreak of woolly apple aphids in Washington orchards. “The trees looked like they were covered in snow,” he remembered. “It was very visible, and people don’t like that.” Orpet was part of an interdisciplinary team looking into the aphid, and one of his tasks was to interview growers about natural predators. Although there was some scientific literature in Europe that suggested earwigs were aphid predators, very few growers named them as important beneficial natural enemies. Many, in fact, said they thought earwigs were pests that damaged their apples because they’d found earwigs in cracks in their fruit. Orpet had an idea why grower’s perceptions and the scientific literature might differ. “Earwigs are active at night, so people don’t see them eating aphids,” he said. “They also move into tight spaces, a behavior called thigmotaxis, so it wasn’t clear if the insects were causing the damage to the fruit or just sheltering in the damage.” Another possible explanation was that the European literature was just wrong. “What literature there was tended to be observational and anecdotal,” he said. “The question had never been tested experimentally in a realistic field situation.” So, with a graduate student grant from the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, Orpet designed an experiment to test the positive and negative effects of earwigs in apple orchards. He set up experimental sections in four different orchards and, in each section, either added earwigs, removed earwigs or left them alone. Because of the insects’ small-space-seeking behaviour, they are easy to trap in corrugated cardboard rolls and move from one place to another. The results were pretty clear. First, earwigs are aphid predators. Not only did his numbers support that, he captured video of a single earwig completely consuming an aphid colony. (See it at youtube.com/watch?v=sSFakIgkfMI) “We measured it in a few different ways, but the maximum amount of woolly apple aphids was two to three times greater in the trees with fewer earwigs than the trees with more earwigs. Earwigs did suppress the woolly apple aphid.” The damage question was a bit more complex, but also came out in the earwigs’ favour. “We inspected apples very close to harvest when the apples were ripe,” he explained. “I looked at about 12,000 apples on the trees in the sections were earwigs had been augmented and removed. Overall, 97 per cent of the apples were good, and the chance of finding a good apple were the same in both the augmented and removal areas.” Orpet did find stem-bowl splitting in some apples – a flaw more common in the Gala variety – and there were earwigs in some of those splits. And in a handful – 17 apples in the augmented areas and five in the removal areas – those splits appeared to have been expanded by the insects. “My conclusion was the earwigs didn’t cause the cracking but did exploit the existing damage,” he explained. He’s scheduled to graduate in August and has already shared the findings at growers’ meetings: clear evidence that earwigs are beneficial natural predators in apple orchards. And, if growers are still skeptical, Orpet can always call up the video. Read more about the project at: projects.sare.org/sare_project/gw18-039/
February 7, 2018, Guelph, Ont – The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of a minor use label expansion registration for Reason 500SC fungicide for control of downy mildew on basil and an amendment to update the label to include management of downy mildew on the new Brassica vegetable crop groups 5-13 and 4-13B in Canada. The head and stem Brassica vegetable group includes cabbage, napa cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli and the new Brassica leafy greens crop group includes arugula, Chinese broccoli, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, collards, cress, kale, mizuna, mustard greens, etc. Reason fungicide was already labeled for use on a number of crops in Canada for control of several diseases. These minor use projects were submitted by Ontario as a result of minor use priorities established by growers and extension personnel. Reason fungicide is toxic to aquatic organisms and may be harmful to beneficial predatory or parasitic arthropods. Do not apply this product or allow drift to other crops or non-target areas. Do not contaminate off-target areas or aquatic habitats when spraying or when cleaning and rinsing spray equipment or containers. Follow all other precautions, restrictions and directions for use on the Reason fungicide label carefully. For a copy of the new minor use label contact your local crop specialist, regional supply outlet or visit the PMRA label site https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/consumer-product-safety/pesticides-pest-management/registrants-applicants/tools/pesticide-label-search.html
February 1, 2018, Madison, WI – The Colorado potato beetle is notorious for its role in starting the pesticide industry – and for its ability to resist the insecticides developed to stop it. Managing the beetle costs tens of millions of dollars every year, but this is a welcome alternative to the billions of dollars in damage it could cause if left unchecked. To better understand this tenacious pest, a team of scientists led by University of Wisconsin–Madison entomologist Sean Schoville sequenced the beetle’s genome, probing its genes for clues to its surprising adaptability to new environments and insecticides. The new information sheds light on how this insect jumps to new plant hosts and handles toxins, and it will help researchers explore more ways to control the beetle. Schoville and colleagues from 33 other institutes and universities report their findings in the Jan. 31, 2018 issue of Scientific Reports. The Colorado potato beetle’s rapid spread, hardiness, and recognizable tiger-like stripes have caught global attention since it began infesting potatoes in the 1800s. The beetle was investigated as a potential agricultural weapon by Germany in the 1940s and its postwar spread into the Soviet bloc stoked an anti-American propaganda campaign to pin the invasion on outsiders. More benignly, it has been featured on many countries’ stamps and is used in classrooms to educate about insect lifecycles. But it was the beetle’s ability to rapidly develop resistance to insecticides and to spread to climates previously thought inhospitable that has fascinated and frustrated entomologists for decades. “All that effort of trying to develop new insecticides is just blown out of the water by a pest like this that can just very quickly overcome it,” says Schoville. “That poses a challenge for potato growers and for the agricultural entomologists trying to manage it. And it’s just fascinating from an evolutionary perspective.” Within the beetle’s genome, Schoville’s team found a diverse and large array of genes used for digesting plant proteins, helping the beetle thrive on its hosts. The beetle also had an expanded number of genes for sensing bitter tastes, likely because of their preference for the bitter nightshade family of plants, of which potatoes are a member. But when it came to the pest’s infamous ability to overcome insecticides, the researchers were surprised to find that the Colorado potato beetle’s genome looked much like those of its less-hardy cousins. The team did not find new resistance-related genes to explain the insect’s tenaciousness. “So this is what's interesting – it wasn't by diversifying their genome, adding new genes, that would explain rapid pesticide evolution,” says Schoville. “So it leaves us with a whole bunch of new questions to pursue how that works.” Schoville and his collaborators see their research as a resource for the diverse group of scientists studying how to control the beetle as well as its life history and evolution. “What this genome will do is enable us to ask all sorts of new questions around insects, why they’re pests and how they’ve evolved,” says Yolanda Chen, a professor at the University of Vermont and another leader of the beetle genome effort. “And that’s why we’re excited about it.” The genome did provide a clue to the beetle’s known sensitivity to an alternative control system, known as RNA interference, or RNAi for short. The nucleic acid RNA translates the genetic instructions from DNA into proteins, and RNAi uses gene-specific strands of RNA to interfere with and degrade those messages. In the beetle, RNAi can be used to gum up its cellular machinery and act as a kind of insecticide. The Colorado potato beetle has an expanded RNAi processing pathway, meaning it could be particularly amenable to experimental RNAi control methods. Schoville and Chen are now sequencing another 100 genomes of the Colorado potato beetle and its close relatives to continue investigating the hardiness and adaptability that have captured so many people’s attention for the past 150 years.
January 8, 2018, Guelph, Ont – The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of a Minor Use label expansion of Delegate Insecticide for suppression of flea beetles on several root vegetables. Crops added to the label are: Radish Horseradish Oriental Radish Rutabaga Turnip Carrot Delegate was already labeled for control of diamondback moth, cabbage looper and imported cabbageworm on these crops.  Users should consult the complete label before using Delegate Insecticide and follow all other precautions and directions for use on the label carefully.
January 8, 2018, Guelph, Ont – The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of minor use label expansion registration for Prowl H2O herbicide for control of labeled weeds on transplanted field tomatoes grown in mineral soil in Canada. Prowl H2O was already labeled for use on a number of crops in Canada for control of several weeds. This minor use project was submitted by Ontario as a result of minor use priorities established by growers and extension personnel. Prowl H2O herbicide is toxic to aquatic organisms and non-target terrestrial plants. Do not apply this product or allow drift to other crops or non-target areas. Do not contaminate off-target areas or aquatic habitats when spraying or when cleaning and rinsing spray equipment or containers. In field tomatoes, do not apply Prowl H2O more than once in two consecutive years. Follow all other precautions, restrictions and directions for use on the Prowl H2O herbicide label carefully. For a copy of the new minor use label contact your local crop specialist, regional supply outlet or visit the PMRA label site.
December 12, 2017, Guelph, Ont – Syngenta Canada Inc. recently announced that Orondis Ultra fungicide is now available in a premix formulation. Orondis Ultra combines mandipropamid (FRAC Group 40) with oxathiapiprolin (FRAC Group 49) to provide protection against late blight (Phytophthora infestans). Orondis Ultra works through translaminar and acropetal activity, moving across the leaf surface as well as upwards into new growth via the plant’s xylem, or water-conducting vessels. Both modes of action protect the plant during periods of active growth. Previously, a case of Orondis Ultra contained two components – Orondis Ultra A and Orondis Ultra B – that required individual measuring and tank mixing. Now, the new premix formulation has a single product label, meaning the components no longer require mixing prior to use, and will be available in a 4 x 3.78 L case. “Weather conditions in-season can create the conditions needed for late blight to develop and thrive,” explains Eric Phillips, product lead for fungicides and insecticides with Syngenta Canada. “The new Orondis Ultra premix formulation helps make proactive late blight management more convenient for growers.” Orondis Ultra is also registered for aerial application in potatoes. In addition to potatoes, Orondis Ultra can be used on head and stem brassica vegetables, including broccoli and cabbage, bulb vegetables, such as onion and garlic, leafy vegetables, such as arugula and celery, and cucurbit vegetables, including cucumber and squash. See the Orondis UItra label for a complete list of crops and diseases. Orondis Ultra will be available for purchase as a premix formulation for the 2018 season. For more information about Orondis Ultra, visit Syngenta.ca, contact your local Syngenta representative or call 877-964-3682.
December 11, 2017, Guelph, Ont – Bayer recently announced the launch of Sencor STZ, a new herbicide for broad-spectrum control of all major annual grass and broadleaf weeds in potatoes. Sencor STZ combines Sencor with a new Group 14 mode of action, providing Canadian potato growers a new weed control option for their field. As a pre-emergent herbicide, Sencor STZ has uptake through the roots and shoots of weeds, providing early season weed control during critical crop stages. The product works on emerged weeds and provides residual broad-spectrum control to weeds yet to germinate. It will be provided in a co-pak. “As the first innovation in the potato herbicide space in many years, Sencor STZ offers an exciting new tool for Canadian potato growers to combat a wide spectrum of weeds and maximize crop yield,” says Jon Weinmaster, crop and campaign marketing manager for horticulture and corn at Bayer. Sencor is a proven performer that delivers reliable broad-spectrum weed control to Canadian potato growers. Trials utilizing Sencor STZ have demonstrated efficacy against Group 2- and 7-resistant biotypes, while providing essential control of Group 5-resistant broadleaf weeds, demonstrating the added benefit of the product’s Group 14 herbicide. “Given the increasing occurrence of herbicide resistance and a potentially shrinking number of solutions available for combatting tough-to-control weeds, Sencor STZ presents a welcome opportunity for growers to ensure they have the crop protection they need,” says Weinmaster. “This new herbicide affirms Bayer’s position as a leader in potato solutions and our commitment to growing and furthering innovation within horticulture.” Sencor STZ will be available to potato growers in Eastern Canada and British Columbia for the 2018 season. Sencor STZ comprises Group 5 (metribuzin) and Group 14 (sulfentrazone) herbicides. For more information regarding Sencor STZ, growers are encouraged to talk to their local retailer or visit cropscience.bayer.ca/SencorSTZ.
December 8, 2017, Ithaca, NY – The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets recently confirmed that the spotted lanternfly – an invasive insect originating in East Asia – has been found in New York state. This invasive pest has also been discovered in Pennsylvania and other states, and is a potential threat to important agricultural crops, including grapes, apples, hops and forest products. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the pest is not known to occur in Canada and is not yet on Canada's list of regulated pests. However, it may appear in Canada. Any producers who believe they have found suspect specimens are urged to please contact the CFIA. Tim Weigle, statewide grape and hops integrated pest management specialist with the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program, works with grape and hop growers in implementing research-based IPM practices in environmentally and economically sustainable ways. He says the spotted lanternfly could rapidly expand its range by laying eggs on motor vehicles. “The name spotted lanternfly is a bit misleading as this plant hopper grows to one-inch in size as an adult,” he said. “Large groups of both the immature and adult stages of laternfly feed on plant stems and leaves from early spring to September, weakening and possibly killing the plant. They also excrete a sugary, sticky substance similar to honeydew, which leads to the growth of sooty mold on grapes, apples and hops making them unmarketable. “I would be concerned about any shipments that people are getting that originated in the Pennsylvania counties that are currently under quarantine. While this pest seems to prefer tree of heaven, it appears to be able to lay its eggs on any smooth surface like cars, trucks, tractors or stone. Therefore, the major traffic corridors coming up into the Hudson Valley and Finger Lakes area will probably have a greater potential for spotted lanternfly eggs being transported in due to vehicle traffic.” Elizabeth Lamb, coordinator for the ornamental integrated pest management team for the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program says that grape, hop and ornamental growers, along with tree-fruit producers, are most likely to be impacted by this invasive pest. “The industries most likely to be affected by spotted lanternfly in New York state are grapes and hops, tree-fruit production, and ornamentals,” she said. “Once you consider the ornamental hosts, it becomes an issue for homeowners and landscapers, too. So the first and most important piece in controlling spotted lantern fly is observation and monitoring – by growers and the public. “A small bright spot: the biology of the insect provides several avenues for using different methods of control. Egg masses can be scraped off the smooth surfaces where they are laid and then destroyed. Nymphs crawl up and down tree trunks to feed so they can be caught on sticky traps at the right time. Adults have a preference or requirement for feeding on Ailanthus trees (Tree of Heaven), so the Ailanthus can be used as ‘trap’ trees where pesticides are applied very specifically to control the insect without widespread use.”
November 14, 2017, Edmonton, Alta – The HortSnacks-to-Go 2017/2018 webinar series continues on November 20, 2017, with Using Biocontrols in Field Scale Fruit and Vegetable Crops. “Presenter Ronald Valentin is North America technical lead at Bioline AgroSciences,” says Dustin Morton, commercial horticulture specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “He’ll be looking at how other areas of the world are using biological controls in field scale vegetable and fruit crops and how Alberta producers can take advantage of this growing area.” The webinar takes place at 1:30 p.m. MT and there is no charge to attend. To register, email Dustin Morton or go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8212513318118325250
August 15, 2017 - The PMRA have proposed to cancel the registration of both lambda-cyhalothrin (Matador/Silencer/Warrior) and phosmet (Imidan). The decisions can be found here:Lambda-cyhalothrin – https://onvegetables.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/cyhalothrinlambdaprvd2017-03.pdfPhosmet – https://onvegetables.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/phosmetprvd2017-07.pdfThe decisions state that lambda-cyhalothrin poses an unacceptable risk from dietary exposure (worst case scenario cumulative food residues would be too high), while phosmet poses a risk during application and post-application activities. The proposed precautions such as revised restricted entry intervals would not be agronomically feasible (e.g. 12 day REI for scouting carrots, 43 days for moving irrigation pipe).Public consultation is now open until September 23 (lambda-cyhalothrin) or September 30 (phosmet) so if growers wish to make comments on these proposed decisions you can submit them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or talk to your growers’ association who can comment on your behalf.
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.
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 
July 27, 2017, Waterloo, Ont. - A biotechnology company that created a spray that helps farmers and growers protect crops from frost damage was among the big winners at the Velocity Fund Finals held recently at the University of Waterloo. Velocity is a comprehensive entrepreneurship program at Waterloo.Innovative Protein Technologies created Frost Armour, a spray-on-foam, after witnessing the effects of a devastating spring frost in 2012 that knocked out about 80 per cent of Ontario’s apple crop. Farmers would remove it after several days with another solution that converts it into a fertilizer."Frost damage not only affects farmers’ livelihoods, but also our food supply," said Erin Laidley, a Waterloo alumnus, who co-founded the company with Tom Keeling and Dan Krska, two alumni from the University of Guelph. "There are other spray-on solutions, but ours is non-toxic and has no negative environmental impact.”During the competition, 10 companies pitched their businesses to a panel of judges representing the investment, startup and business communities. Judges considered innovation, market potential, market viability and overall pitch.The following three companies were also grand-prize winners of $25,000 and space at Velocity. Three of the five top-prize-winning companies are based at Velocity Science. Altius Analytics Labs is a health-tech startup that helps occupational groups better manage musculoskeletal injuries. EPOCH is a skills and services marketplace that connects refugees and community members, using time as a means of exchange. VivaSpire is making lightweight wearable machines that purify oxygen from the air without the need for high pressure. For the first time, the prize of $10,000 for best hardware or science company went to a team that was not among the grand-prize winners. Vena Medical is making navigating through arteries faster, easier and safer by providing physicians with a camera that sees through blood.During the VFF event, an additional 10 teams of University of Waterloo students competed for three prizes of $5,000 and access to Velocity workspaces.The winners of the Velocity $5K are: HALo works to provide manual wheelchair users with accessible solutions to motorize their wheelchairs. QuantWave provides faster, cheaper and simpler pathogen detection for drinking water and food suppliers. SheLeads is a story-based game that helps girls realize their unlimited leadership potential. “Building a business is one of the boldest risks you can take, and yet our companies continue to demonstrate the vision, talent, and drive to think big and tackle challenging problems,” said Jay Shah, director of Velocity. “Today we are fortunate to benefit from an enormous wealth of experience from our judges who are leaders from the global investment, health and artificial-intelligence communities and entrepreneurs at heart. In helping Velocity award $125,000 in funding to these companies, we have taken a bet of our own in these founders, and said be bold, think big, and go out and change the world.”The judges for the Velocity Fund $25K competition travelled from Palo Alto, San Francisco and Toronto. They were Seth Bannon, founding partner, Fifty Years; Dianne Carmichael, chief advisor of health tech, Council of Canadian Innovators; Eric Migicovsky, visiting partner, Y Combinator; Tomi Poutanen, co-CEO, Layer 6 AI.The judges for the Velocity Fund $5K competition were Kane Hsieh, investor, Root Ventures; Tobiasz Dankiewicz, co-founder, Reebee; Karen Webb, principal, KWebb Solutions Inc.For more information on the Velocity Fund Finals, please visit www.velocityfundfinals.com
July 20, 2017, Ontario - Grapes and apples are high-value crops that require adequate water to grow properly. low water conditions such as drought stress have a negative impact on grapes and apples, lowering yields and reducing fruit quality.The Water Adaption Management and Quality Initiative project is using a suite of technology to determine soil moisture for grapes, apple and tender fruit and improve recording and monitoring of natural and artificial irrigation events to create best management practices and improve water conservation and efficiency while increasing yields. For more, check out the video above!
July 19, 2017, Guelph Ont. - A new weather database providing real-time updates from 80 automated weather stations along with customized weather-based recommendations from agronomists is helping Ontario crop farmers make key growing decisions in real time.Access to this new type of information means farmers can adjust the timing of everything from planting and necessary crop applications to harvest to get the most out of each acre.Three major Ontario co-operatives, AGRIS Co-operative, Wanstead Co-operative and Haggerty Creek, recognized the need for a weather database providing real-time updates and customized recommendations from agronomists to Ontario growers.In 2016, with Growing Forward 2 (GF2) funding accessed through the Agricultural Adaptation Council, the group successfully launched the AGGrower Dashboard, a project bringing southwestern Ontario growers together and assisting farmers making informed agronomic decisions.The AGGrower Dashboard gives producers an edge when it comes to dealing with weather; one of the most unpredictable and volatile aspects of farming. Participating growers have access to a database dashboard with 80 automated weather stations across southwestern Ontario measuring variables including temperature, rainfall and heat units.“We allow farmers to go onto the database and plot their individual field locations,” explains Dale Cowan, senior agronomist, AGRIS and Wanstead co-operatives. “Once they input their planting information, we give them field specific rainfall and heat unit data and then start to map out the growth stages in the crops throughout the growing season.”This project is a game-changer for the Ontario agricultural industry because it not only allows farmers to access information from the entire region, but also sends farmers timely agronomic advice and recommendations for their crops based on the crop stage and weather.“Everyone’s interested in how much it rains,” explains Cowan, “but what you have to know from a farm management standpoint, is if it rains, what do I need to do based on my crop growth stage?”The collaboration of the three co-operatives allows producers to make smart, informed decisions that end up benefiting not just the producer, but also the industry, land and environment.Cowan explains the database using nitrogen fertilizer application as an example. A farmer would never apply nitrogen the day before a big rainfall because the moisture would cause leaching.As a member of the database dashboard, the farmer could have a more accurate reading on weather or receive a warning and know to hold off on nitrogen application. Small management changes like this go a long way in helping the farmer act as an environmental steward of the land.When producers sign up, they enter geographical and crop information for each of their fields and adjust notification settings to what fits their lifestyle best. Farmers can group fields together to reduce the amount of notifications they receive, or check the site manually.“Once you put your data in, you can see the entire growth season for your fields,” says Cowan. “Farmers can log onto the website and see weather-wise what’s going on in their fields in near real time.”This is the first year all 80 weather stations are operating and recording data, but even during partial roll-out the previous year, the 160 early adopters using the dashboard were pleased with the results and Cowan expects to see an increase in farmer memberships this year.This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.
July 18, 2017, Ontario - New storage bins are currently being tested that could extend the shelf life of fresh Ontario produce.Dr. Jennifer DeEll, frest market quality program lead with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, is currently leading a two-year project to test the effectiveness of the Janny MT modified atmosphere storage bins on Ontario fruits and vegetable crops.Check out the video for more!
July 17, 2017, Niagara on the Lake, Ont. - The Penn Refrigeration forced air system dramatically reduces the time peaches need to reach the optimal temperature. Take a look at how the equipment is being used at the Niagara on the Lake, P.G. Enns & Sons' facility.
July 11, 2017, Waterloo, Ont. – Good lighting can do more than illuminate your salad. It can actually tell you the quality of those soon-to-be ingested leafy greens.With the right technology, light can be used to measure the quality of food in real-time. When it comes to food processing, that can help make for more efficient and less wasteful production systems.With funding through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), Waterloo’s P & P Optica has patented a system allowing them to incorporate hyperspectral imaging technology into a fast-paced, food processing environment.“We developed what we call PPO Smart Imaging, which is a process that uses light to analyze the chemical makeup of a specific food product,” said Kevin Turnbull, Vice President of Sales for P & P Optica.“The science lets us see what products make the grade, and which ones don’t. Incorporating it into a food production system can help processors improve their grading and sorting efficiency,” he said.Hyperspectral imaging (also called chemical imaging) involves illuminating an object with bright light. Special cameras pick up hundreds of different colour variations as the object passes under the light – conventional consumer cameras work at a much, much lower level – and generate data from those colours. In turn, that data indicates what the object is made out of and what quality the material is.Turnbull and his colleagues are now working with local spinach processor Ippolito Produce Ltd. and Conestoga College to operationalize their technology in a working environment. Similar technology has been used by P & P Optica in recycling and in the biomedical field, but this is the first time it has been brought to the food world.A major benefit, according to Turnbull, is significantly reducing food waste.“Hand-sorting is either ineffective or impractical, so processors often use limited technologies like primitive vision, X-ray or metal detectors,” he said. “Still, waste and foreign material contamination persists, sending good food to the waste pile and potentially allowing foreign materials to reach the consumer. Our system will address that.”While Turnbull does not yet know the exact impact his company’s method will have, he said they are anticipating “significant waste reduction.”“Even if only 25 per cent less spinach is thrown out, that will translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars every year,” he said.The prototype from P & P Optica was just recently installed at the Ippolito plant in Burlington. Now the companies are working closely to actively test and fine-tune the system.According to Turnbull, the goal is to improve the system so it can be can be brought to other food processors – including companies managing meat and animal-based products – as a workable solution for inline food grading and safety.While the field test is not slated to finish until later in the year, Turnbull said they have already seen growing interest in the technology.“Riga Farms, which is a carrot producer from the Holland Marsh, and Earth Fresh Foods, a Burlington-potato company, are also partners in the project. When we applied to Growing Forward 2, they jumped onboard and made their own investment contributions,” he said. “They have enthusiastically supported this project from the beginning.”
February 15, 2018, Portage La Prairie – The Manitoba government and J.R. Simplot Company recently announced a major investment and expansion in the company’s Manitoba-based operations near Portage la Prairie. “Manitoba delivers in so many ways that will help make this project a success,” said Mark McKellar, food group president for J.R. Simplot. “It has access to quality potatoes, a strong grower community, availability of highly skilled employees and distribution routes that continue to expand our footprint. We are convinced Manitoba’s business-friendly environment made this the right decision for the J.R. Simplot Company.” Simplot confirmed the $460 million construction project is expected to begin this spring and will increase the size of the facility from 180,000 to 460,000 square feet. The expansion will more than double the plant’s need for potatoes from regional growers, while increasing its employment by 87 expected new full-time positions. Current operations are expected to continue during construction, with expanded processing capacity expected in fall 2019. The investment package provided by the Manitoba government includes tax increment financing up to $6.31 million to assist with anticipated capital investments and road improvements. Manitoba will also provide up to $522,000 in employee training contributions, based on the number of new positions. Manitoba Hydro will provide $1 million in Power Smart program funding for electrical and natural gas efficiency projects, based on the plant meeting program guidelines. As part of the expansion, Simplot will incorporate similar industry-leading energy and water efficiency processes which were first established at the company’s plant in Caldwell, Idaho. “Simplot has been an outstanding corporate and community partner since establishing its operations in Manitoba,” said Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler. “This investment further cements their reputation as a pillar in Manitoba’s agriculture and food processing sector. The plant’s increase in capacity also presents a tremendous opportunity for Manitoba farmers to strengthen their partnership with a reliable local processor and increase potato production in Manitoba.” Founded in 1929, J.R. Simplot Company is headquartered in Boise, Idaho and has operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and China, marketing products to more than 40 countries worldwide. Manitoba growers annually harvest over 65,000 acres of potatoes, representing one-fifth of the Canada's total potato crop and making Manitoba the second-largest producer in the country.
The frustration in the room was palpable.
February 12, 2018, Kentville, NS – Perennia, a not-for-profit corporation in Nova Scotia that assists farmers, recently announced that Neslihan Ivit had joined its team as a wine quality specialist for a two-year term. Her position is a unique collaboration between Acadia University and Perennia where she works from both locations directly with the industry to maximize the quality of the wines produced in Nova Scotia.  Neslihan holds an MSc of viticulture and enology from Montpellier SupAgro, Bordeaux Science Agro and Universidad Politecnica de Madrid and a BSc in food engineering from Middle East Technical University. She has international winemaking experience, including California, Chile, France, Spain and Turkey.
February 7, 2018, Edmonton, Alta – Alberta's government will immediately boycott all imports of wines from British Columbia, Premier Rachel Notley announced Feb. 6, escalating the inter-provincial spat over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. The province's tough stance follows B.C.'s call last week for further review of the oil-spill risk from the pipeline expansion, a move that could delay a project Alberta sees as vital to its economy. READ MORE
February 7, 2018, Victoria, BC – A pilot project that matches new farmers looking to get their start in B.C. agriculture with available fertile farmland in the Metro Vancouver area will kick off in 2018, thanks to a $25,000 investment from the governments of Canada and British Columbia. The project is led by the Young Agrarians, in partnership with Farm Folk City Folk Society. This Metro Vancouver project builds on the success of a two-year pilot in partnership with the City of Surrey, and in collaboration with Quebec’s L’ARTERRE. It addresses a major challenge for new farmers – gaining access to expensive land in Southern B.C. “My mandate includes getting more young people farming, and making sure that they have the land to farm on through projects like the Metro Vancouver land-matching project is an essential first step,” said Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture. “Part of why we established Grow BC was to help young farmers access land. I believe strongly that agriculture has the potential to unlock prosperity throughout our entire province, and we need farmland and farmers to make that happen.” The previous Surrey pilot matched new farmer Roger Woo with David Feldhaus, a local landowner. Woo, a former chef with a passion for local, organically grown and sustainably farmed produce, was just the type of person that Feldhaus was searching for when he was looking to expand agricultural activity on his farmland. “I knew I wanted to farm in B.C., but I saw significant challenges to acquiring the appropriate farmland in the Lower Mainland,” said Woo. “Through the land-matching program, I’ve been able to find a supportive land owner who has agreed to let me farm his land. I came to this process with my farm dream, and have received step-by-step support to make it a reality.” The land-matching project screens owners of underutilized land and farmers ready to start a business, and supports the parties in the development of legal contracts. The goal is to create seven to nine new farm operations in the region in 2018 with secure leasing agreements.  “For years we have wanted to make a positive change with our farm,” said Feldhaus. “In a short time, the Young Agrarians were able to understand our needs and the goals that we had for our farm, and helped guide us through the land-matching process, matching us with a great young farmer. Seeing our fields blooming with row after row of organic vegetables is proof of the value provided by the land-matching program.” “We are excited to see investment at all three levels of government in this program and the future of new and young farmers in B.C.,” said Sara Dent, Young Agrarians B.C. program manager. “Fifty per cent of farmers in Canada under 35 lease land. The prohibitive cost of farmland in southern B.C. means that we have to facilitate solutions to land access if we want to see a future generation farming the land.”
February 7, 2018, Kelowna, BC – There will be two candidates running for president of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association when fruit growers gather for their annual general meeting in Kelowna February 15 and 16. North Okanagan orchardist Jeet Dukhia and BCFGA vice-president Pinder Dhaliwal will bid to succeed current president Fred Steele, who has chosen to not seek re-election. READ MORE
February 7, 2018, Kelowna, BC – Agriculture and food production contribute to the fabric of British Columbia in terms of food supply, economic activity and community strength. The question is clear: How can B.C. continue to build its agriculture industry? For the past two days, Agriculture Minister Lana Popham has been providing her vision to local leaders, and hearing their ideas on ways to ensure British Columbia has secure farmland and secure farmers in the future. “Agriculture has a way of bringing people together and I have been sharing my exciting ideas to Grow BC, Feed BC and Buy BC,” Popham said. “However, when you walk into a room and a local legend like orchardist Fred Steele is there, it is time to listen. I want to thank Fred and all the growers in the Okanagan for their leadership and advice during my visit.” The British Columbia government is building opportunities for the province’s tree-fruit sector with programs that will encourage new growers, and increase production and a higher consumption of B.C. tree-fruit products today and for future generations. The tree-fruit replant program received another successful intake for the 2018 planting season. It is helping growers replace fruit trees with new, high-value and high-quality fruit, such as Ambrosia and Honeycrisp apples, as well as late-season cherries. The replant program has been so popular that the B.C. government has provided an additional $300,000 in funding for fiscal year 2017-18, so even more growers can take part in the tree-fruit replant program. “Whether it’s a freshly picked apple from an orchard in the Similkameen, tasty Oliver cherries, a fruity glass of award-winning Okanagan wine or a jar of local honey, agriculture is for everyone,” Popham said. “The Okanagan is a vital part of our food system and part of B.C.’s heritage, and I look forward to continuing to work with people in this region and building B.C. agriculture.” British Columbia is Canada’s largest fruit producer, with over 296,000 tonnes of fruit valued at $397 million in 2016.
February 5, 2018, Ottawa, Ont – As communicated recently, the CanadaGAP manuals have been updated for 2018. Version 7.1 of the Fruit and Vegetable and Greenhouse Manuals can now be found on the CanadaGAP website at http://www.canadagap.ca/manuals/downloads/. Why are manuals updated? To respond to user requests. CanadaGAP receives many requests each year asking us to clarify wording in the manual or the intent of the requirements. Most requests come directly from producers or from those working with producers (consultants, auditors, etc.) who need the expectations explained more clearly or who suggest ways to simplify the wording. To maintain technical rigour of the program as science, industry, buyer, or government requirements change. There are still many unanswered questions in food safety research, and as the science progresses, technical requirements must keep pace. We are also in an environment of fast-paced change in food safety regulations both in Canada and internationally. CanadaGAP is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). Most major customers now require certification to a GFSI-recognized program. To maintain recognition, CanadaGAP must implement updates whenever GFSI makes changes to its requirements. The CanadaGAP program has been reviewed for technical soundness by federal and provincial governments. To maintain our government reconition, CFIA requires that CanadaGAP review the manuals regularly and submit changes for approval by government. CanadaGAP's Stakeholder Advisory Committee reviews all proposed changes and often brings forward suggestions of their own. They meet once a year to discuss requests for changes. How do I update my manual?As part of the CanadaGAP program, you are required to go through and update your manual each year to meet the requirements found in Section 24. The release of Version 7.1 is the optimal time to go through your manual to review its currency and to update it with the 2018 changes. CanadaGAP has the following material available on the website to help you: Outline of Main Changes to the CanadaGAP Manuals - an overview of the changes for 2018 Revisions document - shows changes from the previous version Additionally, a PowerPoint Presentation of the Main Changes for 2018 is available on the website at http://www.canadagap.ca/publications/presentations/. There are a number of ways to update your manual for 2018. You do NOT need to reprint the entire manual. Use the Outline of Main changes handout to get an over view of the changes. Determine which changes affect your operation (there may be few or none). When you have identified the changes that affect you, we encourage you to view the revisions document, as it provides the detailed wording. Reprint only the pages that contain changes that affect your operation. Print from the PDF version if you want a formatted, clean copy without the tracking. Insert any new pages into your existing manual, showing you have completed (checked off) any new procedures relevant to your operation. Go through each section, make updates as needed, and initial at the bottom to show that you have reviewed your manual. It is wise to reprint the entire Glossary,or at least print/review any changes to definitions. The terms that have been redefined are listed in the Outline of Main changes handout. Changes (usually clarifications) to terminology are important to understand, as they can impact how program requirements are met. On the title page of your manual, cross out last year's version number/date and write in "Version7.1 2018", or print a new title page. Updating your CanadaGAP Forms for 2018 Find out which record-keeping templates (CanadaGAP Forms) have changed. These are identified on the Outline of Main changes handout. There is a new Form (V) to accompany the new requirement in Section 2. There are a few changes to other forms. Some changes may not be applicable to your operation. Determine whether the changes pertain to you. Start using the new versions of the Forms.
February 2, 2018, Summerland, BC – Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.’s third non-browning Arctic apple variety, Arctic Fuji, has been approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada (HC). The CFIA and HC announced recently that the Arctic Fuji variety “did not pose a greater risk to human health than apples currently available on the Canadian market. In addition, Health Canada also concluded that the Arctic Fuji apple would have no impact on allergies, and that there are no differences in the nutritional value of the Arctic Fuji apple compared to other traditional apple varieties available for consumption." Arctic Fuji trees will join the growing commercial orchards of Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny apples in spring 2018. “Canadian approval of the non-browning Arctic Fuji is great news for our company and even more exciting for families looking to add another favorite apple variety to their healthy diets and lifestyles,” said Neal Carter, president of OSF. “There has been very strong interest from retailers as we launched our first product – fresh, preservative-free Arctic Golden slices – and we look forward to introducing additional Arctic non-browning varieties into Canada and U.S. markets soon.” Arctic apples have a unique trait that prevents enzymatic browning even when apples are bitten, sliced, or bruised. Through biotechnology, the enzyme in apples responsible for browning has been turned off. The resulting non-browning advantage benefits every sector of the supply chain, reducing food waste and boosting product appeal. “It’s an exciting time at OSF,” said Carter. “This latest announcement allows us to continue looking ahead toward providing new non-browning varieties and additional value-added fruits and vegetables. Arctic apples are just the beginning for OSF.” The announcement follows approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) of the Arctic Fuji variety, granted September 23, 2016. Arctic apples will be available commercially in select U.S. cities this fall and in additional areas of North America over the coming years as fruit availability increases.
January 18, 2018, Regina, Sask – Canadians are once again gearing up to celebrate their pride and passion for an industry that puts food on tables across this country and around the world every day. Canada’s Agriculture Day will be held on Feb. 13 this year, marking the second annual celebration of the sector of the economy that employs one in eight Canadians – from farmers and their suppliers to food processors and retailers. “It’s a time to showcase all of the amazing things happening in Canadian agriculture and help consumers see the connection to where their food comes from and the people who produce it,” said Candace Hill, manager of Agriculture More Than Ever, one of the driving forces behind Canada’s Agriculture Day. The first-ever Canada’s Agriculture Day on Feb. 16, 2017 inspired hundreds of events across the country, opened doors to food conversations through social media and showcased the industry to young people who attended a day-long, event in Ottawa, alongside industry and political leaders. “Canadian agriculture is an innovative, vibrant and forward-thinking industry, which plays a significant role in our economy,” said Lawrence MacAulay, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “As Canadians, we can be proud that we produce among the safest, high-quality food for our country and the world,” MacAulay said. “Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector contributes over $110 billion to our economy and Canada’s Agriculture Day is an excellent opportunity to take stock of our success and celebrate.” This year’s celebration promises even more events, social media conversations and will once again feature a roster of dynamic speakers in Ottawa geared to building a better understanding and appreciation of the industry, as well as inspiring young people to consider the career opportunities in agriculture and agri-food. Bob McDonald, best-selling author and host of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks, will be one of the Ottawa event’s keynote speakers. He is able to provide meaning behind some of the more complex scientific issues we face on this planet. “The future of agriculture depends on attracting youth, so we especially want to appeal to young people who are not always aware of the wide range of career opportunities in agriculture,” Hill said. “It’s all about celebrating this dynamic and growing industry while engaging in fun, respectful and informative dialogue.” The key to successful Canada’s Agriculture Day starts with the participation of farmers, according to Crystal Mackay, president of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity. Their most recent survey showed Canadians consider farmers among the most credible sources of information when it comes to making informed decisions about their food. “Farmers and the entire food system have a great story to tell which helps earn consumer trust and confidence in food,” Mackay said. “Consumers want to know more, and Canada’s Agriculture Day is a great way to start the conversation in person and on social media.” Hill said to watch for events and activities happening in communities across Canada, including those sponsored by industry associations, businesses and Agriculture More Than Ever partners. Individuals can also participate by making a meal for your family with all Canadian foods, snapping a farm or food photo and sharing it on social media using hashtags like #CdnAgDay and #FarmLife, or by giving back to their community by volunteering at the local food bank or soup kitchen. For more ideas on how to celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Day or for a list of community events, visit AgDay.ca.
January 9, 2018, Morell, PEI – The federal government is supporting new automated processes at Green Meadow Farms to help increase productivity, allowing employees to focus their skills in other aspects of the business. A repayable contribution of $155,141 – provided through ACOA’s Business Development Program – will help Green Meadows purchase and install new automated sorting and bagging equipment at its Morell farm. The technology upgrades will improve efficiency and productivity at the operation. “At Green Meadow Farms, we are continuously looking for ways to update our operation to compete in the global marketplace,” said Anneke Polstra, one of the founders of Green Meadow Farms Inc. “With this repayable contribution from ACOA, we are able to invest in new packaging technology that will support the work of our staff and help us keep up with growing industry demand.” Green Meadow Farms Inc. was established in 1993 by Anneke and Reitze Polstra, and is now managed by brothers, Terry and Thys Polstra. The 2,000 acre farm has more than 1,000 acres of potatoes and grain in production with up to 14 full-time and part-time employees. “Nearly 25 years ago, the Polstra family moved to the Island and began a successful farm operation,” said Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay. “Hard work and a continued commitment to updating the technology in their processing facility has allowed them to remain competitive and to create employment in rural P.E.I. I applaud their successes and am pleased to show support for this latest investment.”
January 5, 2018, Ottawa, Ont – CanadaGAP is excited to announce the launch of its new website, at the same address – www.canadagap.ca. The website has an updated look and feel, with a similar layout and the same comprehensive content that users are accustomed to. While the manuals, audit checklist and certification information can be found in the same places as before, the whole site has been redesigned to simplify navigation and to help visitors find what they need more quickly. The site introduces several new features: The new search function – it will even pull up FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) The FAQs have been reorganized for ease of use For visitors new to the program, the chart on the Certification Options page will help find the certification option that's right for them More "Latest News" links are accessible on each page. The content of CanadaGAP communications, including annual reports, presentations, brochures and communiques, is now more visible, and the repository of documents is easier to explore. External resources on the Food Safety Links page have been organized into more navigable categories so that visitors can see at a glance the many available tools. Members Only – The Members Only page continues to provide program participants with access to restricted documents such as the corporate financial statements. However, for privacy reasons, log-in details have changed. Please contact the CanadaGAP office for updated information on how to sign in. CanadaGAP welcomes feedback on the new website. Please direct any questions, comments or requests for technical support to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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