Laser technology protects fruit from bird pests

Laser technology protects fruit from bird pests

For fruit growers across the globe, birds are a common bane

Growing beyond average apple production of 40 bins per acre in BC

Growing beyond average apple production of 40 bins per acre in BC

Planning not to replant is planning to get out of business

Galvanizing the food & farming sector to gain back public trust

Galvanizing the food & farming sector to gain back public trust

If you ask a group of random Canadians about whether they trust farmers

Wireworm research following two-pronged approach in BC

Wireworm research following two-pronged approach in BC

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientist Bob Vernon

May 24, 2017 - The International Potato Center (ICP) researchers have been working with NASA to understand how potatoes could be cultivated on Mars through a series of experiments on Earth.We spoke to CIP sub programme science leader for integrated crop and system research, Jan Kreuze, and NASA Ames geobiologist and researcher, Julio Valdivia–Silva, about their otherworldly project.Valdivia–Silva says the partnership between CIP and NASA came about through the organisations' mutual interest in growing crops under difficult conditions."The initiative came from CIP, with the intention of solving problems around cropping in desert areas as a result of climate change and desertification," Valdivia–Silva explains. "Meanwhile, NASA was interested in the project for the need to grow crops in future human colonies outside Earth."But why potatoes? Kreuze says this is down to the minimal amount of water potatoes require per kilogram grown compared to other major cereals, as well as their ability to withstand a wide range of environmental conditions, their nutritional value, and their fast growing, high yield nature. READ MORE
May 24, 2017 Westminster, CO- A recent survey conducted by the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) ranks Palmer amaranth as the most troublesome and difficult to control weed in 12 categories of broadleaf crops, fruits and vegetables, while common lambsquarters ranks as the weed most commonly found.Almost 200 weed scientists across the U.S. and Canada participated in the 2016 survey, the second conducted by WSSA. A 2015 baseline survey explored the most common and troublesome weeds in 26 different crops and noncrop areas.The current survey ranks the following weeds as the most troublesome or the most common among broadleaf crops, fruits and vegetables:TOP 10 WEEDS IN BROADLEAF CROPS, FRUITS & VEGETABLESMost Troublesome Palmer amaranth Common lambsquarters Horseweed (marestail) Morningglory (ivyleaf, pitted, tall) Waterhemp (tall, common) Nutsedge (yellow, purple) Kochia Common ragweed Giant ragweed Nightshade (eastern black, hairy) Most Common Common lambsquarters Foxtail (giant, green, yellow) Morningglory (ivyleaf, pitted, tall) Palmer amaranth Redroot pigweed Waterhemp (tall, common) Horseweed (marestail) Common ragweed Barnyardgrass Velvetleaf Six weed species appeared on both the “most troublesome” and “most common” lists, including Palmer amaranth, common lambsquarters, horseweed, morningglory, waterhemp and common ragweed. “Weed scientists have confirmed multiple cases of herbicide resistance in all six of these weed species, except for the morningglories where there is suspected resistance to glyphosate,” says Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., science policy director for WSSA. “While each of these species has evolved traits that make them widespread and tough competitors in broadleaf crops like soybeans and cotton, there is no question that their difficulty to control with herbicides has pushed them to the top of the list in this survey.”WSSA also sorted the survey data to produce the following crop-specific results, shown below by crop, most troublesome weed and most common weed, respectively: Alfalfa: Canada thistle; dandelion Canola: kochia; wild oat Cotton: Palmer amaranth; morningglory (ivyleaf, pitted, tall) Fruits & nuts: field bindweed; horseweed (marestail) Peanuts: nutsedge (yellow, purple); Palmer amaranth Pulse crops: common lambsquarters; common lambsquarters Soybeans: horseweed, waterhemp (tall, common); waterhemp (tall, common) Sugar beets: common lambsquarters; common lambsquarters Vegetables: nutsedge (yellow, purple); common lambsquarters Although listed as the most troublesome weed in cotton only, Palmer amaranth was ranked first in the overall survey based on the number of respondents who cited it as a problem.Common lambsquarters is widely distributed across the northern half of the United States and southern Canada. It is not surprising that it ranked as the most common weed in sugar beets, vegetable crops and pulse crops, such as dry edible beans, lentils and chickpeas.WSSA plans to conduct habitat-specific weed surveys annually. The 2017 survey will focus on weeds in grass crops, pasture and turf, while the 2018 survey will focus on weeds in aquatic environments, natural areas and other noncrop settings.The 2016 survey data is posted online at http://wssa.net/wssa/weed/surveys. For more information specific to herbicide-resistant weeds, see the International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds, available at http://weedscience.com.
May 23, 2017, New Brunswick - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada entomologist Dr. Chandra Moffat is on the lookout for evidence of an agricultural pest that is causing significant damage to crops in the U.S. and parts of Canada.The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive insect that damages various fruit and vegetable crops including apples, tomatoes, beans and many others.While the insect hasn’t been detected in the province, scientists are expecting its arrival in the next few years.To get ahead of the game, Dr. Moffat is setting traps in key locations across the province to try to determine if the pest has made its way to N.B.Originally from Asia, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug was first detected in the U.S. in 2001.Since then, the pest has established populations in many U.S. states as well as B.C., Ontario and in 2016 it was discovered in Quebec.While there are other stink bugs native to this region, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug has distinct markings that give it away.These pests have two obvious white bands on otherwise dark antennae, inward-pointing white triangles between dark markings along the edge of the abdomen, and a smooth edge along the pronotum or "shoulders".They are mottled brown-grey dorsally and a have a pale underside. Legs have faint white bands.The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug can be found in homes or storage sheds over the winter and start making their way outside in the spring. Moffat is asking New Brunswickers to be our citizen scientists this season and be on the lookout for this pest.Campers and travellers spending time in the U.S. or central and western Canada this summer are asked to check their luggage and trailers for signs of the pest before returning to N.B.If you think you’ve found a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, please contact Dr. Chandra Moffat at ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) to make arrangements for identification.
May 19, 2017, Holland Marsh, Ont. - Environment Canada says a downburst destroyed a barn and caused all sorts of damage in the Holland Marsh and York Region.Wind gusts stronger than 85 km/h accompanied a band of thunderstorms that moved east across central Ontario on Thursday evening.The hardest hit areas were in the Holland Marsh, where winds obliterated a barn, tossing debris across a large field. Winds also forced a tractor trailer to flip on Highway 400 north at Canal Road. READ MOREVideo: Drone footage of the Holland Marsh following the May 18 storm system
May 17, 2017, Mississauga, Ont. – Bee Vectoring Technologies is pleased to announce successful, verified results from large commercial scale demonstrations of its proprietary crop production system, with strawberry growers in Florida.The demonstrations were conducted in the Plant City area of Hillsborough County, Florida, the main winter strawberry growing region in the U.S. which produces around 20 million flats of strawberries on 11,000 acres every year.Three influential growers who combined, control about 30 per cent of the production in the region, expressed interest in gauging how the BVT System, consisting of a bumble bee hive with proprietary dispenser technology through which BVT's proprietary plant beneficial microbe BVT-CR7 is delivered to crops using bumble bees, could improve the productivity of their farming operations and how it could be incorporated into their crop production practices on a commercial scale.The demonstration fields were assessed for both (a) control of botrytis gray mold, a costly disease in strawberries which causes the fruit to rot and reduces the shelf life of berries, and (b) the ability to improve marketable yield."These are significant results and confirm that the positive results we have seen in the numerous field trials we have done over the last couple of seasons, also apply in commercial fields under real-life conditions," stated Ashish Malik, CEO of BVT. "We have been able to demonstrate that the BVT system improves yields 1) in the presence, or even in the absence of botrytis disease pressure, which is significant since it shows our system brings value to growers regardless of the severity of the disease which will follow a natural cycle from year to year; 2) with full or reduced amounts of chemical fungicides giving the grower flexibility in how they want to use the system."Jay Sizemore, owner of JayMar Farms where one of the demonstrations was done said "These are some encouraging results. Growers are always looking to improve what we do since our margins keep getting thinner. I thought the BVT system had a lot of promise when I first learnt about it which is why I was eager to try it, and I am pleased to see my thoughts confirmed with the positive results from the demo. It is especially compelling since this is an all-natural way to seemingly improve productivity of the berry crop."Mr. Malik added "It is notable that, based on the yield increases that have been recorded because of using the BVT system on the three test sites, if the entire Plant City strawberry crop was treated, it could theoretically lead to the production of 1.2M to 5.8M additional flats of strawberries, or put another way, generate between $10 million to $50 million in additional revenue for the growers in the area. We are very thankful to our three grower partners for their cooperation and look forward to continuing our discussions with them on how best to integrate our system into their long-term farming operations.""Large-scale commercial demos represent the final pre-commercial stage in the well-established path to commercialization that forms the basis of any major adoption of new on-farm technology. We expect these latest demos to further accelerate demand for our technology and allow us to successfully complete our go-to-market plans," said Mr. Malik.In the first demonstration, conducted on 40 acres at JayMar Farms, the field was divided into three sections: one section was treated with chemical fungicides alone, the second section was treated with the BVT system and the same chemical program used in the first section, while in the third section the BVT system was used with a 50 per cent reduction in the chemical sprays. The two sections with the BVT system had statistically significant reductions in incidence of botrytis gray mold (3 per cent vs 13 per cent) The section where the BVT system was used with a 50 per cent reduction of the chemical fungicides had the best marketable yield, 26 per cent better yield than chemicals alone in direct comparisons The section where the BVT system was used together with the full chemical program produced a 6 per cent higher yield than where the chemicals were used alone in direct comparisons The second grower demonstration was conducted on 20 acres with three sections: one section was treated with chemical fungicides alone, while the other two were treated with the BVT system in addition to the chemical fungicide program. All sections of the field had low levels of botrytis gray mold The two sections where the BVT system was used produced 6 per cent and 24 per cent more marketable yield respectively than chemical fungicides alone On average for the season, plants in the sections where the BVT system was used produced 11 per cent more berries per plot compared against the chemical fungicide section The third grower demonstration was conducted on 10 acres with two sections: one with a chemical program, and the other with the BVT system plus the same chemical program. Both sections of the field had low levels of incidence of the botrytis disease The section with the BVT system had a 29 per cent higher marketable yield across two observations when compared against the chemical only section The Company is continuing to successfully execute on its documented growth strategy while driving towards commercialization of its proprietary system. BVT is selectively expanding its market opportunities while continuing towards securing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory approval of its BVT-CR7 beneficial microbe.In the next six months, the Company will complete its go to market planning for the commercial launch including finalizing the business model, pricing and distribution partnerships, and is planning trials in additional crops and countries, including sunflowers in the U.S. and in strawberries and tomatoes in Europe.
May 15, 2017, Augusta, ME – With little fanfare, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control recently approved the registration of three new types of genetically engineered potatoes that have been developed by a major Idaho agribusiness company.The move means that the J.R. Simplot Co.’s Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic potatoes could be planted in Maine fields at any time. These potatoes were created by adding genes from a wild potato plant and are designed to be resistant to late blight. READ MORE
May 11, 2017, Simcoe, Ont – Aside from some sleepless nights for those in charge, frost in Norfolk hasn't greatly affected this year's berry crop. Paula Zelem of Kent Kreek Berries, located west of Simcoe on Highway 3, said Tuesday that a warm lead-in to spring has worked to combat recent frost and keep crops relatively close to on schedule. Mercury dropping both Sunday and Monday nights had the farm's temperature alarms ringing and their crew up at all hours to irrigate the combined 23 acres of planted berries. READ MORE
May 11, 2017, Sonoma, CA – In 2014, Sonoma wine growers committed to being the first 100 per cent sustainable wine region in the U.S. They are recycling their pomace – white wine grapes get turned into compost, and red wine waste turns out to be a great fertilizer and helps keep weeds down. But wineries can only use so much. Each year, California wineries produce more than 100,000 tons of pomace. Now, that waste is being turned into everything from cooking oil to cosmetics. Chris Simmons is a biological systems engineer and assistant professor at University of California, Davis. His lab is studying how food-processing waste products might be used, other than as compost in the vineyards. READ MORE
May 10, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – Statistics Canada released the 2016 Census of Agriculture today, providing an overview of each agriculture sector in Canada.According to the Census, fruit, berries and nuts acreages rose 6.7 per cent from 2011.Blueberry area continues to expand in Quebec, B.C. and the Atlantic regions. Overall, blueberries hold 196, 026 acres nationally.The Census reports that the blueberry sector is being driven by international demand and in 2016, Canada exported 94.8 million kilograms of frozen blueberries, an increase of 33.7 per cent from 2011.Cranberry acres have also increased from 15,191 acres in 2011 to 18,134 acres in 2016. Cranberry exports increased by 77.6 per cent to 63.5 million kilograms.The Census notes that both blueberries and cranberries are amenable to mechanized harvesting, allowing operators to increase the scale of their operation with a minimal increase in the number of employees.The area of strawberries, raspberries and apple orchards show declining numbers. Strawberry acres dropped 8.4 per cent to 10,155 acres and raspberry acres decreased by 23.7 per cent to 5,651 acres.According to the Census, both the strawberry and raspberry sectors have been faced with disease outbreaks and labour and market challenges.Apple orchard acres across Canada have decreased 3.2 per cent from 2011 to 43,631 acres in 2016. The largest decrease in has been in Nova Scotia and Quebec.However, despite declining area, the apple sector reports acres being used more intensively, with the yield of apples in Canada increasing from 7.2 tons per acre in 1996 to 10.0 tons per acre in 2016.Field vegetable area rose 10.3 per cent from 2011 to 270,294 acres. Sweet corn remains the largest vegetable crop in terms of production area, but reports a decrease of 16.9 per cent since 2011.According to the Census, one in eight farms, or 12.7 per cent, sell food directly to consumers, with 96.1 per cent of products being fruits and vegetables.Overall, farm profits are unchanged since 2010 and farms were as profitable in 2015 at the national level as they were in 2010. The gross farm receipts totaled $69.4 billion in 2015, with primary agriculture accounting for 1.5 per cent of the national gross domestic product in 2013.Agriculture goods accounted for 2.2 per cent of Canada’s total imports and 4.6 per cent of total exports.For more information or to view the entire Census of Agriculture, visit: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/170510/dq170510a-eng.htm
May 9, 2017 – Laboratory testing can detect Dickeya — but is there enough of it present to justify the higher costs?It’s a relatively new threat to North American potato production. The invasive pathogen Dickeya dianthicola — not to be confused with blackleg causing Dickeya solani — was first spotted in Canada in Ontario fields, having come in on seed potatoes from Maine. READ MORE
May 9, 2017, Guelph, Ont – The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is again developing fire blight risk maps during the 2017 apple and pear blossom period based on the Cougarblight Model to help support apple and pear growers with their fire blight management decisions. The risk is based on inputting the seven-day weather forecasts from 67 locations from various regions throughout the province into the Cougarblight model. The results from Cougarblight are then mapped and posted on the OMAFRA Website.This year, there will be a separate webpage for apples and pears (in English and French).The maps are animated and will cycle through the seven-day fire blight risk predictions based on the seven-day weather forecast. Updated fire blight risk prediction maps will be generated and posted three times per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) until bloom period is over. A new feature on the maps will allow growers to zoom in and out of the maps, reposition them to their specific locations and pause or start the maps.As with any model, the fire blight risk is a general guide and environmental conditions may be more conducive for fire blight infection in a particular orchard than what is indicated by the maps. All apple and pear growers are encouraged to run either the Cougarblight or Maryblyt model with data generated from their orchards for a more accurate prediction.Assumptions: The risk assumes that open blossoms are present and dew or rain will wet the blossom, which is necessary for a fire blight infection to occur. If there are no open blossoms or if wetting of the open blossoms does not occurs, infection will most likely not take place. However, it only takes a little dew to wash the fire blight bacteria into the open blossom for infection to occur.How to use the maps: There are only two maps that will be generated this year, one for 'fire blight occurred in the neighbourhood last year' and another for 'Fire blight occurred in the orchard last year and is now active in your neighbourhood'. To use the maps, orchards must be assigned to one of two categories based on the fire blight situation in the orchard last year and this year. Fire blight occurred in the orchard last year and is now active in your neighbourhood (use the 1st map labeled 'Active Fire Blight in Apples 2017') Fire blight occurred in the neighbourhood last year (use the 2nd map labeled 'Fire Blight Occurred Last Year in Apples') If the fire blight situation from last year is not known, it is best to assign the orchard to 'Fire blight occurred in the neighbourhood last year' and follow the 2nd map on the webpage. Once the orchard has been assigned to one of the categories above, locate the region of the orchard on the fire blight risk prediction maps and follow the animated maps for the predicted fire blight risk corresponding to the dates on the map. The animated maps will change through the changing risks over the seven day forecast, so watch them carefully. A brief interpretation of the risk will be posted above the maps for each update.Interpretation of Risk: The following risks (Legend) are colour coded on the maps and designated as follows: Low (green): Indicates a low risk of fire blight occurring. Wetting of blossoms during these temperature conditions has not resulted in new infections in past years. Caution (orange): Wetting of flowers under these temperature conditions is not likely to lead to infection except for blossoms within a few meters of an active canker. Risk of infection will increase if the weather becomes warmer and wetter. Weather forecasts should be carefully monitored. If antibiotic materials are not being used, blossom protection with other materials should be initiated one or two days prior to entering a high infection risk period. Continue appropriate protective sprays until the infection risk drops below the "high" threshold. High (purple): Under these temperature conditions, serious outbreaks of fire blight have occurred. Orchards that recently had blight are especially vulnerable. The risk of severe damage from infection increases during the later days of the primary bloom period, and during petal fall, while blossoms are plentiful. Infection is common, but more scattered when late blossoms are wetted during high-risk periods. The potential severity of infection increases if a series of high-risk days occur. Extreme and Exceptional (magenta): Some of the most damaging fire blight epidemics have occurred under these optimum temperature conditions, followed by blossom wetting. Orchards that have never had fire blight are also at risk under these conditions. Infections during these conditions often lead to severe orchard damage, especially during primary bloom or when numerous secondary blossoms are present.
May 9, 2017, Columbus, OH – When Celeste Welty unzips the white, nylon cage, none of the stink bugs inside move.“They’re very tranquil,” she says.Why wouldn’t they be? Inside their cage, they enjoy spa-like conditions with all the sunflower seeds and nuts they can feed on, the warmth of the sunlight coming through the window beside them and a few house plants to make it feel like the outdoors, though they’re in a lab.Young offspring clutch the walls of a separate cage inside what appears to be a refrigerator but instead is a warming chamber.Such special treatment for the brown marmorated stink bug, which farmers despise and homeowners often flick out of the way when they discover them indoors during the cold months.Thriving on a range of fruits and vegetables, the marmorated stink bug has damaged or destroyed enough crops in Ohio and across the United States to get the attention of entomologists nationwide.Welty, an Ohio State University Extension entomologist, is involved in a 15-state study to determine the best, and ideally natural, way to get rid of the marmorated stink bug. The study is one of several being done on stink bugs through Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.The brown marmorated stink bug is a foreigner to the U.S., and in the absence of natural predators here, its populations are exploding, particularly in the mid-Atlantic region. Arriving in the U.S. from China, the grayish brown bug was first detected in Allentown, Pa., in 2001. Six years later, one was reported in Ohio.How the first brown marmorated stink bug got to the U.S. is unclear, but often it is carried through boxes or packages, a hitchhiker of sorts, Welty said.“They like to nestle down into protected, narrow spaces, and that’s often present in packing materials,” she said. “That’s why they’re known to go in cargo and hang out.”Three years ago, a grower in eastern Ohio ordered a shipment of snow fencing, the perforated plastic fencing that comes in large rolls. When the grower unrolled the fencing sent from Pennsylvania, he found live stink bugs sprinkled throughout.From Welty’s colony of marmorated stink bugs, she takes the eggs and places them outside the lab on plant leaves. Two days later when she retrieves them, she hopes some have been attacked by the bug’s natural predator, the tiny Trissolcus japonicus wasp. Also a native of China, the wasp was detected in the United States in 2014 and has since been found in eight states but not yet in Ohio. And nowhere in the U.S. is it plentiful – at least not plentiful enough to keep down the marmorated stink bug population.“The wasp appears to be spreading on its own, but it’s so early on in the introduction of the wasp that we really don’t know,” Welty said.Welty and entomologists across the U.S. are hoping to happen upon some T. japonicus wasps in their states.“We’ve known for a number of years now that this one species of wasp would be great to have,” Welty said. “The stink bug is a terrible pest in agricultural crops, and we want to know how to control it with more sustainable methods than just spraying a lot.”Stink bugs of any species can be tricky to spot outdoors. They hide well – stationing themselves on the underside of leaves and the backside of flowers.
May 17, 2017 – The tip-and-pour method, as well as poorly designed pumps, can expose workers to injury and companies to significant financial losses.Every day, handlers and applicators transfer potentially hazardous chemicals and concentrates such as pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and liquid fertilizers from large drums into smaller containers or mixing tanks. This transfer process can have serious consequences if manual “tip-and-pour” techniques or poorly designed pumps are used.Whether the chemicals are toxic, corrosive, or flammable, the danger of accidental contact can pose a severe hazard to workers.In fact, each year 1,800 to 3,000 preventable occupational incidents involving pesticide exposure are reported in the U.S. A closed system of transferring chemicals reduces unnecessary exposures by providing controlled delivery of chemical products without fear of worker exposure, over-pouring, spilling, or releasing vapours.“When handling pesticides, toxicity and corrosiveness are the main dangers, but even organic pesticides can be harmful if there is exposure,” says Kerry Richards, Ph.D., president elect of the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators and former director of Penn State’s Pesticide Safety Education Program. “No matter what their toxicity level, all chemicals, even those that are organic are a particular contact exposure risk if they are corrosive.”In addition to the potential for injury, there can also be serious financial ramifications for the grower or ag product manufacturing facility if pesticides or liquid chemicals spill.“Beyond workers compensation issues related to exposure, there can be other huge potential liabilities,” Richards says. “This is particularly true if a pesticide gets into a water source, kills fish, or contaminates drinking water.”Richards, who works with the National Pesticide Safety Education Center, has seen and heard many examples of worker and environmental exposure from pesticides during more than 30 years of pesticide safety education experience.“Exposure risk is highest for those loading chemicals into mix tanks because it is more concentrated and hazardous before diluted with water,” she says. “Any time you lose containment of the chemical, such as a spill, the risks can be serious and spiral out of control.”Corrosive chemicals, for example, can severely burn skin or eyes, and many chemical pesticides are toxic when touched or inhaled.“Some organic herbicides are so highly acidic that they essentially burn the waxy cuticle off the above ground parts of plants, killing them,” says Richards. “If you splash it in your eye or on your skin, it can burn in the same way and cause significant damage.”Some chemicals are flammable as well, and if not properly handled and contained, can be ignited by sparking from nearby motors or mechanical equipment. The danger of a fire spreading can be serious both in the field and at ag product manufacturing facilities.In addition to the cost of cleanup or treating injuries, substantial indirect costs can also be incurred. These include supervisors’ time to document the incident and respond to any added government inspection or scrutiny, as well as the potential for slowed grower production or even a temporary shutdown at ag manufacturing plants.“The direct and indirect costs of a pesticide spill or injury can be substantial, not the least of which is the loss of wasted chemicals,” says Richards. “Pesticides, particularly newer concentrated formulations, are very expensive so spilling a few ounces could cost you several hundred dollars in lost product during a single transfer.”Traditional practices of transferring liquid chemicals suffer from a number of drawbacks.Manual techniques, such as the tip-and-pour method, are still common today. Tipping heavy barrels or even 2.5-gallon containers, however, can lead to a loss of control and over pouring.“When manually transferring chemicals from bulk containers, it is very difficult to control heavy drums,” cautions Richards. “I’d advise against it because of the significantly increased risk of exposure or a spill, and the added potential of a back injury or muscle strain.”Although a number of pump types exist for chemical transfer (rotary, siphon, lever-action, piston and electric), most are not engineered as a sealed, contained system. In addition, these pumps can have seals that leak, are known to wear out quickly, and can be difficult to operate, making precise volume control and dispensing difficult.In contrast, closed systems can dramatically improve the safety and efficiency of chemical transfer. California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation, in fact, requires a closed system for mixing and loading for certain pesticides so handlers are not directly exposed to the pesticide.“The availability of new technology that creates a closed or sealed system is ideal for handling pesticides or other dangerous chemicals, and should become a best management practice,” suggests Richards. “With such devices ... pesticide handlers can maintain a controlled containment from one vessel to another and significantly reduce any potential for exposure or spill.”A sealed system delivers liquids to an intermediate measuring device and is useful for low toxicity liquids. A closed system moves the material from point A to point B through hoses using dry-break fittings on the connection points. This prevents leaking and exposure to the handler which helps guarantee safety. Liquids are transferred from the source container, into the measuring system, and then to the mix tank.Small, versatile, hand-operated pressure pumps are engineered to work as a system, which can be either closed or sealed. The pumps can be used for the safe transfer of more than 1,400 industrial chemicals, including the most aggressive pesticides.These pumps function essentially like a beer tap. The operator attaches the pump, presses the plunger several times to build up a low amount of internal pressure, and then dispenses the liquid. The device is configured to provide precise control over the fluid delivery, from slow (1ML/ 1 oz.) up to 4.5-gallons per minute, depending on viscosity.Because such pumps use very low pressure (<6 PSI) to transfer fluids through the line and contain automatic pressure relief valves, they are safe to use with virtually any container from 2-gallon jugs to 55-gallon drums.When Jon DiPiero managed Ricci Vineyards, a small wine grape vineyard in Sonoma, Calif., he sought a safer, more efficient way to transfer pesticides for mixing and spraying that complied with the state’s closed system requirement for certain pesticides.“We had to fill 2.5-gallon containers from a 55-gallon drum,” says DiPiero. “Traditional tipping and pouring from a drum wasn’t going to work due to the potential for spills, splashes, over pouring and chemical exposure, as well as the state mandate for a closed system for some pesticides.”DiPiero turned to GoatThroat Pumps and was happy with the results for a number of reasons.“Because the pump is closed, sealed, and allows containers to remain in an upright position, it complied with state regulation and virtually eliminated the potential for all forms of chemical exposure,” DiPiero says.He adds the air pressure supplied by the hand pump allows the precise flow required into a measuring cylinder.In case of overfill, “the operator can open a valve to release air pressure and the pesticide will backflow into the tank with no cross contamination,” DiPiero says. “This gave us the exact amount we needed so there was no waste.”According to DiPiero, a multi-directional spray attachment also enables rinsing of every corner of the container without having to pour into it and shake it. He says this helps to minimize exposure when cleaning a container for reuse and satisfies California “triple rinsing” requirements.“Whether for pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or liquid fertilizers, a closed and sealed pump design could help with the safe production or mixing of any liquid chemical,” says DiPiero.When Lancaster Farms, a wholesale container plant nursery serving the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions, required a lower pH to adjust its well water for a pesticide spray application, it had to transfer sulfuric acid to buffer the spray water.According to Shawn Jones, Lancaster Farms’ propagation and research manager, the nursery chose to purchase 55-gallon drums of sulfuric acid to raise chemical pH. The drums of chemicals were much more cost effective than multiple 2.5-gallon containers and much easier to recycle. However, Jones was wary of the danger that tipping and pouring acid from the drums would pose, along with pouring bleach and another strong disinfectants for different uses in the propagation area.“We use 40 percent sulfuric acid to buffer our spray water,” Jones says. “Our irrigation water is all recycled from ponds, with the drum storage areas relatively close to our water source, so we wanted to avoid any possibility of accidental spillage.”Previously, the nursery had used siphon pumps to transfer the acid, bleach, and disinfectant, but Jones was dissatisfied with this approach.“None of our siphon pumps lasted more than six months before we had to replace them, and none allowed metering with the kind of precision we required,” he says.Instead, Jones chose to implement several closed, sealed GoatThroat Pumps, along with graduated cylinders for precise measurement.“With the pumps, the drums always remain in an upright position so they won’t tip over accidentally,” Jones says.The one-touch flow control dispenses liquids at a controlled rate.“We get precise measurement into our mix tanks. We use every drop, spill nothing, and waste nothing.”In terms of longevity, Jones’ first sealed pump has already lasted six years and outlasted a dozen previous siphon pumps.“Our GoatThroat Pumps paid for themselves in safety and savings our first growing season, and should last a decade or more with just routine maintenance or repair,” Jones concludes. “Any grower, farmer, or nursery that needs to move or measure dangerous liquids safely and reliably should consider one.”Agricultural chemicals are very expensive, and growers are always looking for ways to decrease the cost of inputs to help increase profits. Sealed systems and closed systems allow for accurate and precise measuring of chemicals, which ensures that you’re using only the amount of product required and not one extra drop.Taking the guesswork out of measuring costly materials, and providing an efficient means of transferring custom blended or dilute products from original containers to mix tanks or back pack sprayers cuts input costs. This keeps expenses to a minimum, with the important bonus of increasing the safety of handlers by reducing the potential exposure to the chemical, which helps increase the bottom line and can assist with regulatory compliance.
May 17, 2017 - In an effort to educate growers about the use of injectors in chemigation and fertigation agricultural applications, Mazzei has put together a PowerPoint training program.The program is available in both English and Spanish and can be viewed for free through the Mazzei website and the MazzeiSolutions YouTube page.The presentation was designed to help users properly size Mazzei chemigation/fertigation systems for various applications and to better understand the most effective methods.
The post-application risk of carbaryl to workers and growers alike has recently been re-evaluated by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and some cautionary changes have been made for both low and high-density apple trellis systems.“Rates are not reduced,” assured Amanda Green, tree fruit specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), and apple session moderator at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Convention (OFVC). “It’s the number of applications per year and total amount applied per year that is reduced.”She explained that growers are now limited to just one carbaryl application per season and they must stay under 1.0 kg of a.i. per hectare for low-density orchards, and 1.5 kg a.i. per hectare for high-density orchards.“This has been quite a challenge,” Green said, adding that three panelists – Charles Stevens of Wilmot Orchards; Zac Farmer of Watson Farms Ltd. and Sean Bartlett with N.M. Bartlett Inc. – had been invited to speak about their thinning experiences and how they plan to manage crop load in the future.Charles StevensStevens opened the panel discussion with a question for the audience.“If you have perfect bloom, perfect set, and you have chemically thinned and left all king blooms – have you over thinned, under thinned or got it just right? How many in this room have over thinned or under thinned?” he asked. Not a single hand was raised. He answered that given 10 per cent of bloom set gives a full crop of apples and you have left 20 per cent of apples on the tree, you have under thinned by 10 per cent.“My wife says it’s like I have PMS for two weeks every year,” Stevens said. “Thinning is one of the most stressful jobs on the farm and makes us moody, grumpy and stressed out.”“I want to touch on three different apples: Honeycrisp, Gala and Ambrosia. Last year, we thinned Honeycrisp in a totally different way. We found out from Michigan, where they did some research, that two doses of NAA [napthaleneacetic acid] by itself at 10 parts per million – one at full bloom and one at petal fall – came out with perfect thinning jobs after performing two trials,” Stevens said.“So, we applied 10 parts per million at full bloom and then it got hot and we got a bit scared. We backed off to 7.5 parts per million at petal fall. Fear is the detriment of thinning. At the end of the day, all fruit buds had very few seconds, or side blooms. If I had to do it over again, I would have gone in again at 10 to 12 mm fruit size with a full dose of Sevin [carbaryl] and 10 parts per million of NAA, resulting in me chemically thinning three times. At the end of the day, Sevin was not used for thinning Honeycrisp last year,” he said.“We used ATS [ammonium thiosulphate] on Honeycrisp last year instead of Sevin as an alternative and had little response. It’s very sensitive to environmental conditions and thus was not an effective alternative,” said Stevens.“The Galas were under thinned again last year. Normally, we do a full dose of Sevin on everything at petal fall but we missed that window. There was too much going on and it got hot, so we didn’t get it on. And, because of the restrictions, we’re not going to do that down the road,” he said.“Sevin is the most important thinning chemistry at this time as the balance of the thinning chemistries perform better when mixed with Sevin. For Galas, we put on a full dose of Sevin, 115 parts per million of 6-BA at 8 to 10 mm fruit size, and we felt we did a good job. But, at the end of the day, we still left too many apples on the trees,” said Stevens.“We will use 6-BA for size enhancement. It’s not strong as a chemical thinner so, without Sevin, it does not do a good job on anything,” he said.“In all my chemical thinning days, Ambrosia is the only crop that I dropped on the ground one year because it was temperature and climate related. I used the same chemistry as the years before and it was cloudy for a couple of days. I sprayed and the next day it was 28 degrees [Celsius]. We dropped all our Ambrosia on the ground. That was probably the only over thinning of apples I have ever done,” said Stevens.“Last year, we did a perfect job on Ambrosia. I feel that the size of the apple at around at least 11 to 12 mm bud size is the time to thin. From my experience, anything earlier and you’ll over thin Ambrosia. We use a full dose of Sevin and about 60 parts per million of 6-BA. So, that’s the story on Ambrosia. It’s a little simpler apple to thin and makes for a beautiful crop,” he said.“In the world of chemistries that are coming along, there are two acids that are in the works and hopefully will be registered for use here in Canada. One is called ACC [1-aminocyclopropane carboxylic acid] and the other is Brevis,” he said. “Both ACC and Brevis are stand alone products that don’t require the use of Sevin and also have a wider range of use, meaning that they can be used on a larger apple.”Zac Farmer“I’m going to touch on the same three apples as Charles: Honeycrisp, Gala and Ambrosia. We were in the same boat as him. In the past, we took the same approach with a Sevin (application) at petal fall early,” said Farmer.“We chose not to do that last year to jump-start our learning curve on living without Sevin, using it just once a season.”On younger Honeycrisp trees, Farmer applied 10 parts per million of NAA, thinning at the 100-gallon rate.“It seemed to work nicely with two applications,” he said. “We live just 10 minutes from Charles and we got the same heat but we didn’t back off on the second application except for two blocks at 5 parts instead of 10 parts per million NAA. We wish we hadn’t. We did less hand thinning last year, and I still wasn't happy with the amount we took off.”“We did some trials with ATS, our second year with it, and we’re running two per cent oil. At full bloom, you’re aiming for the kings. You have to watch the bees to make sure they’re done pollinating or you’ll burn a lot more off than you wanted. We did that on a block of Gala. Not everything got burned but there was a valley in the field where pretty much everything there got smoked due to lack of pollination. It was all sprayed at the same time so it’s very weather and time sensitive,” said Farmer.They also did some trials with lime-sulphur at 1.2 per cent with two per cent oil.“We did it again this year and we’re happy with it. It’s a lot more finicky than ATS so we’re going to do more ATS this year,” he said.“All that stuff we try to do early, then we come back in with a litre of Sevin or two litres of MaxCel, plus one or two per cent oil. If we’re limited on the Sevin, we’re going to have to do more with the NAA and those new thinners once they come along,” said Farmer.“On Ambrosia, we’ve never used a lot of Sevin. We do thin a little bit earlier than Charles but usually one litre of MaxCel is enough, or a half litre of Sevin on the really heavy stuff. They seem to respond really well to that. I think Ambrosia is very manageable with one application of Sevin, it’s Gala that’s a really hard one.”Last year, Watson Farms Ltd. had a drought so thinned hard on the Gala. The variety never did size and part of that was due to lack of moisture.“On older trees, we did some side by side trials with Gala and Honeycrisp with two per cent ATS versus 10 parts NAA at full bloom, and there was a noticeable difference between the two.”“If you hit that ATS on the nose, it thins as fast as you can walk by the tree. We’re very happy with that. I’m not saying that’s what we’ll rely on as it’s very weather sensitive but we’ll keep working on it and fine tuning it so we can knock those fruit off at early bloom,” concluded Farmer.Sean Bartlett“I just want to touch on some of the different things guys across the province are doing for apple thinning,” said Bartlett.“Ultimately we are doing more and more to get down to the promised land for fruit per tree to create the best returns at the end of the day. With this, we have started to follow many precision thinning tools to do this, including pruning models, carbohydrate model, and pollen growth tube model, to name a few. With these models in mind, we have started thinning at different timings and more often lending itself to the nibble thinning approach,” he said.“We’re also having to re-invent old chemistry using bloom thinners, like lime sulphur and oil, and ATS and NAA. Of course, we’re looking for some new chemistries down the road, like Brevis and ACC. We have also started reaching out to other non-chemical alternatives, such as mechanical thinning,” said Bartlett.“Mechanical thinning is popular in Europe where over 600 of the Darwin Blossom Thinners are in use in pome and stone fruit orchards. These are popular in peaches in North America but slow to take hold in apples, perhaps because there are some great thinning products available there,” he said.“A three-year study by Cornell University found that it was possible to replace a conventional thinning program with mechanical thinning. In the study, they compared a comprehensive thinning program with NAA, 6BA and Sevin to mechanically thinning with a follow up of 6BA. In the end, they were able to perform comparably with the standard on Honeycrisp and Gala,” said Bartlett.“The important factors in this were the correct spindle speed, depth, and speed of the tractor. It took them a few attempts to perfect the thinning response. It will be different for most blocks as canopies are never the same,” he said.“What we have learned is more strings are better, and the deeper into the canopy they can get is also better. Hedged rows are optimal and 6BA has a synergistic affect with the use of mechanical thinners. Thus far, the work has not shown to cause fire blight but, if in doubt or a troubled block, I would recommend following up with a strep.”“Do your own trials and keep good records. Research is proving that mechanical blossom thinning is a viable option,” he concluded.
Days may be numbered for carbaryl, an insecticide and apple-thinning agent commonly sold under the brand name Sevin by Bayer.Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulation Agency (PMRA) completed a re-evaluation of carbaryl in 2016, which led to some changes and restrictions on the product label. This included eliminating its use in residential areas plus as an insecticide on some fruit and vegetable crops. Apple thinning has remained on the label but at reduced rates: Maximum seasonal rate of 1.5 kg a.i./ha and an REI of 14 days for hand thinning [high-density trellis production such as spindle or super spindle] Maximum seasonal rate of 1.0 kg a.i./ha and an REI of 17 days for hand thinning [dwarf, semi-dwarf and full-sized trees] As a result, research is underway to discover a new thinning regime for Canadian apple producers.“We’re restricted to one application per season with further restrictions on re-entry into the orchard,” explained Dr. John Cline, apple researcher and associate professor at the University of Guelph. “We’re looking for an alternative that works as well as carbaryl.”He recently shared the initial findings of his work, which he undertook with the assistance of graduate student Michelle Arsenault, during the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention held in Niagara Falls, Ont.“Apple thinning is something done to prevent over cropping and small fruit,” said Dr. Cline. “When we thin early, we are able to focus more energy resources into the fruit that persist until harvest. When you have larger fruit, harvest efficiencies increase dramatically.”Hand thinning is the least desirable way of managing crop load because it has the least effect on return bloom and final size at harvest but it is still an option. It also requires a large labour requirement.“We rely on bio-regulators or chemical thinners as a result,” Dr. Cline said. “We have to remember that fruit drop in early June is a natural process. The tree goes through this process naturally and the bio-regulators are meant to augment it.”There are a number of bio-regulators registered and these affect the plant metabolism and add to the natural process of fruit drop. The registered products in Canada are Sevin XLR Plus [carbaryl], MaxCel [6BA] and Fruitone [NAA]. The industry is hopeful some alternatives will become available. One product registered in the U.S. is Ethephon or Ethrel, which involves ethylene needed for fruit drop.Dr. Cline’s research team’s objectives were to determine the optimal concentration of new and existing plant bio-regulators for the thinning of Gala during fruit set. Doing an early spray followed by a second spray was the focus of their work plus what thinners perform the best, and what the final crop load, yield and final size would be.The first experiment was done on Gala using a hand-thinned control plot and compared to carbaryl and 6BA/MaxCel sprays.Late frost in 2015 forced the researchers to find another orchard where they applied thinners at the 17 mm stage. The treatment was thought to be ineffective because it was conceivably applied too late. Compared with 2014, they found fruit set was 40 per cent, considered too high for a commercial crop, and 2015 was slightly less than that.“In 2014, we found that 6BA tank mixed with NAA reduced fruit set by 50 per cent, whereas the ACC compound did not work at all,” Dr. Cline said. “In 2015, 6BA tank mixed with 5ABA and ACC reduced fruit set to a level comparable with carbaryl.”The crop load at harvest was reduced with thinners in 2015, explained Dr. Cline. The hand thinned was just under three fruits per trunk cross-sectional area while the target was about five to seven, so crop load was light so the trees probably didn’t need the aggressive thinning that might be needed in a heavy crop year.The researchers tried high and medium rates with the thinners and found a reduction in yield but no effect on quality factors, such as sugars, titratable acidity, starch index and fruit firmness.Conclusions on the two-year study suggest that at low rates, the ethylene precursors were effective the one year. However, crop loads were light in both years of the study and response could change with a heavier crop. Dr. Cline said the study needs to be repeated over several years to get a more definite answer.ACC and 5ABA appear to be effective alternatives for Gala if carbaryl is removed from registration, he added.“I think the results are encouraging.”In a study working with Gala conducted over 2013 and 2014 – before the concern with carbaryl came up – researchers wanted to know if growers applied the first thinning spray at 8 mm, what happened when the second spray was applied? This was a concern for growers who wanted to know if they should go in with a second spray and, if so, what should they use.In 2013, researchers used a standard rate of carbaryl, as recommended for Gala, and applied at 8 mm, then again with a second spray in seven days, near the closing of the window for thinning. It seemed to work, Dr. Cline said, adding carbaryl did reduce fruit set.“A tank mix of 6BA and carbaryl applied at 8 mm followed by carbaryl at 15 mm thinned the most.”Fruit size, for the untreated, was around 140 grams. In 2013, 6BA followed by a carbaryl spray produced the largest fruit size.“Yields always go down when you thin but hopefully you are compensated by the higher price of the fewer but larger fruits,” Dr. Cline said.“To summarize, 12 to 14 days was required from the time of the first spray to initiate fruit drop. A single application at 8 mm, applied separately or tank mixed, of 6BA and carbaryl was the most effective.”When it comes to future research, new thinning techniques and mechanical blossom thinning are on the list to be examined. According to the industry, string thinners are more effective now with the movement toward high-density, spindle-type orchards. New products, such as Metamitron – a herbicide registered in the EU and U.S. – are also of interest.“We will ... be looking at that,” Dr. Cline said.
May 5, 2017, Montreal, Que. - Inocucor Technologies Inc. of Montreal signed an agreement with Axter Agroscience Inc., one of Canada's leading providers and distributors of foliar feeding crop solutions, to distribute Inocucor's biological crop input Synergro™ in Canada.Under the agreement, Axter will also have certain prime-mover rights to rapidly develop the market in Quebec and Ontario.Synergro™ is a live-cell formulation for high-value produce, such as strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce and broccoli.This state-of-the-art biological product, approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in December 2016, is among the first microbial products registered in Canada.It is also a Pro-Cert Approved Input for use in organic growing in Canada.Inocucor uses a patented fermentation process to combine multi-strains of bacteria and yeasts into powerful soil and plant optimizers that are safe for people and the environment.Synergro will be available through Axter's well-established distribution network in all the Canadian provinces.For more information, visit www.inocucor.com, www.axter.ca
April 17, 2017, Guelph, Ont – The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of an URMULE registration for Prowl H2O herbicide for control of labeled weeds on direct seeded, green (bunching) onions grown on muck soil in eastern Canada and British Columbia. Prowl H2O herbicide was already labeled for use on a number of crops in Canada for control of weeds. The minor use project for green onions grown on muck soil was sponsored by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Pest Management Centre (AAFC-PMC) 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. Follow all precautions and detailed 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 http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pest/registrant-titulaire/tools-outils/label-etiq-eng.php .
April 17, 2017, Guelph, Ont – Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has completed a special review on Paraquat (Gramoxone Liquid Herbicide) and proposed a phase-out of the product. See part of the decision below: [PMRA] recently conducted a Special Review of Paraquat and concluded that changes to the Gramoxone Liquid Herbicide with Wetting Agent, Reg. No. 8661   (i.e. “Gramoxone”) product formulation and packaging are required. As a result of this decision, a phase-out of the current product is being implemented. As mandated by the PMRA, Syngenta will not be selling Gramoxone (in its current form) after March 31, 2017. The last date that retailers can sell this product is September 30, 2017. Growers may continue to use the current formulation of Gramoxone during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. After December 31, 2018, this formulation of Gramoxone must not be used and must be properly disposed of. Please contact CleanFarms (1-877-622-4460) for information regarding the pesticide disposal program in your area. Options to make this tool available to Canadian growers beyond December 31, 2018, are currently being considered and evaluated. We will update you in the future, as appropriate. In order to continue to use Gramoxone for 2017 and 2018, there are additional stewardship requirements that must be met: Gramoxone may only be sold to and used by individuals that hold an appropriate pesticide applicator certificate or license as recognized by the appropriate provincial/territorial pesticide regulatory agency. See amended label for changes in PPE and first aid instructions. Gramoxone may only be tank-mixed with products on the label. Retailers must provide a copy of the Paraquat Stewardship Counter Card to the end-user (i.e. grower, applicator, etc.) at the time of sale. These stewardship requirements can be found on the Gramoxone Product Page, short video and Powerpoint presentation.
April 10, 2017, Calgary, Alta – An exclusive new Canadian distribution agreement between bio-ferm and Nufarm Agriculture Inc. adds two biological fungicides to Nufarm’s horticultural line of crop protection solutions. Blossom Protect and Botector are now available from Nufarm in Canada, as part of the company’s lineup of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides for Canadian horticultural growers. “Biological fungicides make up an important and growing part of our fungicide portfolio,” says Maria Dombrowsky, horticultural specialist at Nufarm Agriculture Inc. “Blossom Protect and Botector are great complements to our existing products, and will allow Nufarm to continue to support growers and their IPM programs.” Blossom Protect is a biological fungicide that provides protection for pome fruit against fire blight (Erwinia amylovora). Botector is a biological fungicide used to protect grapes from botrytis (Botrytis cinerea). “bio-ferm products contain a unique mode of action that hinders the development of resistance,” says Werner Fischer, managing director with bio-ferm. “Our products are suitable for conventional and organic production, and bring the additional benefit of being safe for humans, animals and beneficials. They are certified through Ecocert Canada.” Blossom Protect and Botector are available exclusively through Nufarm Agriculture Inc., its distributors and retailer partners across Canada.
April 3, 2017, Guelph, Ont – Syngenta Canada recently launched Aprovia Top fungicide, a new tool for controlling foliar early blight and suppressing brown spot. Early blight, which is caused by the Alternaria solani fungus, is found in most potato growing regions. Foliar symptoms include small, brown, irregular or circular-shaped lesions that form on the potato plant’s lower leaves later in the season. The disease prefers warm, dry conditions to develop, and can be more severe in plants that are stressed and weakened. Brown spot, caused by the Alternaria alternata fungus, is closely related to early blight and is found wherever potatoes are grown. Unlike early blight, brown spot can occur at any point during the growing season, producing small, dark brown lesions on the leaf surface. Aprovia Top fungicide combines two modes of action with preventative and early curative activity on these two key diseases. Difenoconazole (Group 3) is absorbed by the leaf and moves from one side of the leaf to the other to protect both surfaces against disease. Solatenol (Group 7 SDHI) binds tightly to the leaf’s waxy layer and is gradually absorbed into the leaf tissue to provide residual protection. “After a strong start, a foliar application of Aprovia Top can be used to manage these key diseases and keep potato crops greener longer,” says Eric Phillips, fungicides and insecticides product lead with Syngenta Canada. Aprovia Top is available now for use in 2017 production. In potatoes, one case will treat up to 40 acres. At this time, maximum residue limits (MRLs) for Solatenol use on potatoes have been established for markets in Canada and the U.S. Growers should consult with their processor prior to use. In addition to potatoes, Aprovia Top can be used to control scab and powdery mildew in apples. Aprovia Top also provides control of early blight, powdery mildew, and Septoria leaf spot in fruiting vegetables, as well as powdery mildew, Alternaria blight and leaf spot in cucurbit vegetables. See the Aprovia Top label for a complete list of crops and diseases. For more information about Aprovia Top fungicide, please visit Syngenta.ca or the Customer Interaction Centre at 1‑87‑SYNGENTA (1‑877‑964‑3682).
March 28, 2017, Calgary, Alta – Four new crops have been added to the Presidio fungicide label as the result of Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) minor use approvals. Presidio is now approved for use on ginseng, tobacco, brassica leafy vegetables and greenhouse ornamentals for a variety of troublesome diseases. The PMRA has also approved Presidio for control of pink rot on potatoes. “These Presidio label additions are really important news for Canadian growers that depend on minor use approvals to protect their high value crops,” says Maria Dombrowsky, horticultural specialist at Nufarm Agriculture Inc. “Now more growers can access Presidio as part of their integrated pest management (IPM) program with a unique class of chemistry for better resistance management.” Presidio (Group 43) provides growers with preventive and some curative reach-back action against downy mildew and Phytophthora spp., including late blight, on a variety of crops. In addition to these new crops, Presidio is also registered for use on head, stem and root brassica, cucurbits, fruiting vegetables and leafy vegetables. “Presidio offers a great new option for domestic potato growers managing pink rot,” says Dombrowsky. “Growers should check with their processors before using Presidio on potatoes, because maximum residue limits (MRLs) for potatoes have not been established in all export markets.”
March 27, 2017, Guelph, Ont – Engage Agro Corporation has announced the release of two new products to serve horticultural producers across Canada. Property 300 SC fungicide is a suspension concentrate fungicide that offers protection against powdery mildew in grapes, cucumbers, pumpkin, squash and melons. Pyriofenone, the active ingredient in Property, is the newest generation chemical found in the FRAC U8 group. It demonstrates extremely fast translaminar activity that is complemented by a “vapour effect” that is stronger and longer lasting than that of other chemistries found in the same group. Property is the only group U8 fungicide that can be applied up to the day of harvest on grapes. Cosavet DF is a dry flowable sulphur fungicide that prevents powdery mildew and controls erinium mite of grape. Its patented formulation ensures a low dust, easy to mix product that helps to minimize the risk of scorching. Cosavet DF also controls a wide variety of diseases in tree fruit, Saskatooon berries, cucumbers and peas. Variations in particle size ensure immediate, mid-term and residual activity through contact and vapour action to protect against target fungi. For more information contact Engage Agro at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 1-866-613-3336.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientist Bob Vernon continues his work with wireworm controls for good reason.
May 11, 2017, Grapevine, TX – Kubota Tractor Corporation introduces four new specialty ag tractors designed for narrow and low-clearance applications. The new M-Series introductions include the M4N-071, M5N-091 and M5N-111 narrow tractors, and the M5L-111 low profile* tractor. Engineered to combine Kubota power and performance with versatility and reliability, the new M-Series specialty tractors bring more variety, performance and operator options to the orchard and vineyard markets. These tractors are available at Kubota dealerships now.The new M-Series models feature updated engines, intelligently revamped operator stations and improved hydraulics. The new M-Series specialty models also feature highly versatile transmissions designed to provide superior power and efficiency for the most rigorous specialty environments. The M5L-111 low profile tractor features a telescopic ROPS frame, engineered for work in orchards or other applications requiring a low profile design. The M4N/M5N narrow tractors deliver Kubota’s renowned M-Series power in tractors engineered specifically for work in vineyards, orchards and other narrow environments.M-Series Power You Can Count On – And Then SomeEach new M-Series specialty tractor features a Kubota-designed and Kubota-built V-3800-Tier IV engine, performance-matched to bring Kubota durability to the strenuous demands of specialty agricultural applications. The updated engines feature increased alternator capacity, larger radiator and larger diameter cooling fan. All engines include a common rail fuel system, intercooler and exhaust gas recirculation, while employing a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and selective catalytic reduction for minimizing emissions. Standard RPM memory settings for repetitious actions enhance performance efficiency.The Kubota M-Series specialty tractor transmissions are performance-matched with each Kubota engine, providing versatility and increased productivity for demanding specialty applications. All tractors are available with 12F x 12R speed, offering six speeds in two ranges, with an electric over hydraulic shuttle shift. The M5N has the option of a 24F x 24R speed. The M4N/M5N comes standard with Kubota’s exclusive BI-SPEED turning system to cover more ground in less time, and both the M5N and the M5L have overdrive to save fuel. Creeper options are available to add even more precision to specialty tasks, with a 36-speed creeper available on the M5N models and an 18-speed creeper option on the M4N-071 narrow and M5L-111 low profile tractor.Designed with Operator Comfort in MindA newly designed operator station features enhanced comfort while logging long hours in vineyards, orchards or other crop fields. Ergonomic steps lead to an operator’s station with increased floor area on the M5L-111, and floor pedals on the low profile tractor have been adjusted for improved comfort. A redesigned cab on the M4N/M5N models features an updated dashboard with a multi-function, multi-view Intellipanel™ and LED cluster lighting. The M4N/M5N steering wheel has 40 degrees of tilt, making it easier to get in and out of the suspension seat. The control panel is ergonomically designed, with all main controls on the right side of the four new M-Series tractors. The M5N also features luxury items such as dual side mirrors and an optional air ride seat.Improved HydraulicsThe new M-Series specialty tractors have more hydraulic valve options, ready to accept implements requiring multiple valves with different flow requirements. The new models offer two self-cancelling detent deluxe built-in flow control valves, with an option to add up to five total valves on the M4N/M5N. Each tractor features a Category II 3-point hitch with easy adjust stabilizers to handle the wide range of specialty implements, and the M5L-111 low profile tractor’s strong rear lift capacity ranks top-of-class.Standard Shielding on M5L-111 Low Profile TractorThe M5L-111 utility tractor has a newly-designed solid-steel sloping hood and fenders that help reduce damage while tending to high-value specialty crops. The SCR/DPF components are incorporated under the hood – an industry first – and steel shields for the fuel and DEF tanks are standard. The operator console, left foot area and clutch area are all shielded from heat and potential obstacles, adding another safety element for the operator.
May 10, 2017, Chatham, Ont. - AGRIS Co-operative, Wanstead Farmers Co-operative and Haggerty Creek Ltd. announced an aggressive expansion of its web based weather service, the "AGGrower Daily Dashboard" across southwestern Ontario.This collaborative effort will see the current compliment of 80 automated weather stations across southwestern Ontario expand to a goal of more than 400 reporting locations when completed. Producers who sign up for the AGGrower Daily Dashboard will have the ability to have field specific climate information delivered directly to their laptop, cellular phone or tablet."Our web based weather service will assist producers in managing their crops by providing real time precipitation, relative humidity, wind speed, growth models on individual fields and notifications of critical stages during the growth cycle," says Dale Cowan, senior agronomist and sales manager for AGRIS Co-operative and Wanstead Farmers Co-operative. "The AGGrower Daily Dashboard will also assist in timely do it yourself crop scouting using integrated pest management principles," added Cowan.To supplement the web based weather reporting network, Cowan is now recruiting dedicated "citizen scientists" to join the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow network, (CoCoRahs). "These volunteers would be part of a larger community of like-minded people that would help support our automated weather stations with additional rainfall data to support our new initiative of the AGGrower Daily Dashboard program," says Cowan.Volunteer "citizen scientists" must live in Essex, Chatham-Kent, Lambton, West Middlesex or Elgin Counties, have a keen interest and dedication to collecting rainfall and a smart phone. Installation and training on the use of the special rain gauge is provided at no charge to those participating. For more information on how you can become a "citizen scientist" contact Paul deNijs at 226-626-1048.This project is 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.
May 4, 2017 – Roughly $4 billion worth of apples are harvested in the U.S. each year. Startup Abundant Robotics hopes to suck up some of it with a machine that vacuums ripe fruit off the tree.Dan Steere, cofounder and CEO of Abundant, says recent tests in Australia, where apple season is under way, proved that the company’s prototype can spot apples roughly as accurately as a human, and pull them down just as gently. The machine deposits apples in the same large crates that human pickers use. READ MORE
For fruit growers across the globe, birds are a common bane, particularly for those seeking a quiet, humane and cost-effective mitigation strategy. Starlings are especially unsavory interlopers as they not only spread disease but often destroy an entire crop, forcing growers to walk away and leave everything on the tree.
Drip irrigation systems have seen a lot of improvements since their invention in the mid 1960s. They are worth considering as a watering system, says Bruce Naka, an independent irrigation consultant who spoke to growers at the Pacific Agriculture Show in Abbotsford, B.C.
After fruit and vegetable producers put so much careful attention and effort into planting and tending their crops and orchards, they naturally want to minimize losses due to bruising, nicks and scrapes, temperature issues and so on.
There is nothing like a just picked, tree-ripened apple. At a BC Tree Fruits (BCTF) field day last fall, I was offered a Honeycrisp the size of a grapefruit. It was the first one I had tried and it lived up to its reputation.
A recent consumer news story had me both laughing and squirming with discomfort. The laughter was in response to the memory of a similar incident involving my children. The squirming was a basic, guttural human reaction.
March 9, 2017, Wenatchee, WA – The Trump administration’s immigration enforcement directives are adding to existing anxiety about U.S. farm labour availability and fueling interest among growers for robots to stand in for migrant workers. Two technology companies showed off progress on robotic pickers at the International Fruit Tree Association conference in Wenatchee, Wash., in late February. READ MORE  
February 8, 2017 – Walki, a producer of technical laminates and protective packaging materials, has developed an organic mulching solution based on natural biodegradable fibres instead of plastic. Walki Agripap is made from kraft paper that is coated with a biodegradable coating layer, which slows down the degradation of the paper. Without the coating, the paper would degrade in the soil within a few weeks. Walki’s new organic mulching solution has been the subject of extensive field-testing in Finland. The tests, which were carried out in 2016 by independent research institute Luke Piikkiö, compared the performance of different biodegradable mulches for growing iceberg lettuce and seedling onions. The tests demonstrated that Agripap was easy to lay on the fields and delivered excellent weed control. The results in terms of yield and durability were also good. Following the successful testing and approval of Agripap in Finland and Sweden, the next step will be to complete testing in Europe’s main mulching markets: Spain, France and Italy.
When a new crop takes off, it’s not unusual that specialty equipment is designed and commercialized in order to make things easier. In this case, the crop is garlic, and the equipment is a planter and an add-on under-cutter (both pulled behind a tractor), designed and manufactured by Garlic-EEZ of Dundalk, Ont., owned by garlic grower Ken Hunt.
January 17, 2017, Edmonton, Alta – The HortSnacks-to-Go 2016-2017 Webinar Series continues on January 30, 2017, at 3 p.m. MT (5 p.m. ET). “The webinar will feature Rebecca Shortt from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs,” says Dustin Morton, commercial horticulture specialist, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF). “An expert in irrigation management, Rebecca will discuss scheduling with drip irrigation and how to get the most bang for your buck from your irrigation system.”There is no charge to attend the webinar. To register, call Dustin Morton at 780-679-1314 or via e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For more information on the HortSnacks-to-Go Webinar Series, go to AF's horticulture homepage.
May 23, 2017, B.C. - Cooler weather this spring has resulted in a later start to the season for all commodities, which means consumers will see and taste cherries starting end of June this year.The good news - BC Tree Fruits are anticipating a record 12 million pounds of cherries this season.The 12 million pounds of BC Tree Fruits cherries estimated for the season is up from the 8 million pounds from 2016, although last year's estimate was for 12 million pounds as well before inclement weather reduced the crop volume.At this time, BC Tree Fruits is anticipating a very good peach, nectarine, prune, plum and grape crop with volumes similar to last year."With weather serving up a cooler spring this year, it has enabled our grower base to be prepared for a delicious and high quality crop of cherries at more traditional timing," says BC Tree Fruits Marketing Manager Chris Pollock. "Cherries and the rest of our summer fruits went through the bloom period exceptionally well and our growers are excited for a great crop this year with harvest starting end of June for cherries in the South, with the fruit hitting retail shelves very soon after."The primary market for BC Tree Fruits summer fruits remains Western Canada. BC Tree Fruits also continues to export increased volumes of cherries to the United States and key export markets.
May 19, 2017, Guelph, Ont. - Thought leaders from the farming and food industry will gather in Calgary September 18-20 at the second annual Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) Public Trust Summit.Transparency in our food system is no longer optional; so farmers and ranchers through to the largest food companies need to know more on how to effectively earn public trust in our food and how it’s grown.“The CCFI Public Trust Summit is not ‘just another meeting.’ It’s an experience for you to come and learn from the entire food system,plus help shape the path forward for earning trust in Canadian food and farming,” says Crystal Mackay, Canadian Centre for Food Integrity.This year’s theme “Tackling Transparency — the Truth About Trust” kicks off with a full day of Experience Alberta farm and food tours on September 18th, capped off by an evening celebrating the “Science of the Six-Pack.”Brew masters will be on-hand to walkthrough how local barley, hops, yeast, and water combine to make pints of beer.The second day’s highlights include: Release of the 2017 CCFI public trust in food and farming consumer research World class speakers with a variety of perspectives and insights on transparency and trust A lively consumer panel of millennials sharing exactly what they think about food and farming The conference wraps up with a “Connecting with Canadians” working breakfast on September 20, where attendees will learn more about what they can do and idea swap on what’s happening in Canada to engage with consumers.The inaugural CCFI Public Trust Summit, held last June in Ottawa, sold out with an incredibly diverse representation from food companies, retail and food service, government, academia, farmers and food influencers, like bloggers and dietitians.Read Fruit and Veg Magazine’s coverage of the 2016 Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, Public Agriculture Summit: https://www.fruitandveggie.com/marketing/its-a-matter-of-trust-20066For more information, visit: www.foodintegrity.ca
May 19, 2017, Santa Rosa, Cali. - “Bittersweet” from Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse in British Columbia took the Sweepstakes Award for best cider at the Second Annual Dan Berger International Cider Competition (DBICC).The traditional English style cider is produced from apples grown in the Sea Cider's own orchards.The Sea Cider Bittersweet beat out nearly 200 other ciders entered into the competition held in Sonoma County, California on May 5th.Off dry and rich in tannin, the Sea Cider Bittersweet impressed the judges with its rich yet balanced style and a complexity that results from use of well-cultivated traditional cider apples.Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse is located in Saanichton, British Columbia.All the medal winners can be viewed at: http://www.dbiwc.com/results/cider/_2017_Resultslist.php
May 18, 2017, Borden-Carleton, PEI - The recipients of grants from a $2 million transition fund set up by McCain after it closed its potato processing plant in 2014 in Borden-Carleton were announced Tuesday.Nine businesses and the municipal government received grants. The amounts ranged from $7,000 to $1 million. The 10 successful applicants announced in a press release include:MacDougall Steel: $1 million.Silliker Glass: $300,000.Atlantic Beef Products: $142,000.Mrs. Dunsters: $26,000.Tree Top Haven: $25,000.Island Apple Storage: $25,000.P.E.I. Handpie Company: $7,000.Town Of Borden-Carleton: $50,000.Canadian Cold Storage: $200,000 (subject to project approval).Larkins Poultry: $225,000 (subject to project approval).Relevant to the fruit and vegetable industry, Island Apple Storage Association will construct and operate a “controlled atmosphere” storage facility in the Borden-Carleton area that will have the capability to hold up to 1000 bins of apples.
May 18, 2017, Guelph, Ont. – The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) applauds Minister Leal for highlighting the need to reform business risk management programs for farmers.The Federal-Provincial-Territorial meeting of Ministers of agriculture was held recently in Ottawa to discuss the next agricultural policy framework. During the meeting Minister Leal advocated on behalf of Ontario farmers when he urged his provincial counterparts to work together to address business risk management as part of the new agricultural policy framework, which is to be revealed at their July meeting.“OFVGA would like to thank Minister Leal for his leadership in tackling a reform to Ontario’s business risk management programming,” said Jan VanderHout, Chair of Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association. “Our member associations appreciate the efforts made to bring this important issue to the table during national discussions.”Our sector is pleased to see that there is recognition by the provincial government for the need towards rebuilding these programs. It is vital to have sustainable risk management programs that meet the needs of farmers, which allow them to focus on what they do best: growing local food.“Farmers are tasked with managing risk as part of their livelihood,” said VanderHout. “We don’t have to look too far to see the unpredictability with farming, and the most recent weather events with extreme flooding in parts of the province are an example of that. OFVGA thanks the government for their support in dealing with issues such as this.”
May 17, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – Fertilizer Canada has released a 4R Nutrient Stewardship Sustainability Report. The document is a comprehensive overview of the associations 2016 milestones through several initiatives pertaining to agriculture sustainability.The report can be found at:4R Nutrient Stewardship Sustainability ReportFor more information, visit: http://fertilizercanada.ca/
May 16, 2017, Thornbury Village, Ont. - Thornbury Premium Apple Cider, Ontario's number-one-selling Ontario Craft cider is enjoying a newly renovated home at the recently restored, historic apple storage building overlooking beautiful views of Georgian Bay and the Blue Mountains.A grand opening celebration and ceremonial apple tree planting was held among local dignitaries and industry stakeholders on May 16th to celebrate the conclusion of the year-long renovation.Jim Clark, President of Thornbury Village Craft Cider and Brew House commented, "We are thrilled to be able to open our doors to the public following our extensive renovations. Everyone involved in the project is proud of the results and we're confident that our historic location will become an important landmark in the area, both for local residents and tourists."The century-old cider house is nestled in the heart of Ontario apple country, which has over 7,500 acres of apple orchards in the surrounding area.
May 15, 2017, Summerland, B.C., Canada – Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF), the developer of nonbrowning Arctic apple varieties, today announced the hiring of Don Westcott, who joins the team as OSF’s Director of Operations.Effective May 15, 2017, Westcott will assess, plan and facilitate the execution of the company’s orchard establishment and fruit production, in addition to supporting infrastructure and facility operations.Westcott comes to OSF with over twenty years of tree fruit industry experience, most recently with BC Tree Fruits Cooperative as their Director of Logistics, Planning, and Industry Relations. Prior to his tenure with BC Tree Fruits, Westcott held multiple roles over eight years with Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative, preceded by a nine-year stint with Sun Fresh Cooperative Growers in a variety of positions.“We are thrilled to add a professional of Don’s caliber to help lead our rapidly growing team,” stated OSF President Neal Carter. Carter pointed to Westcott’s past roles and local ties as key reasons for his fit with OSF, explaining, “Over the past two decades, Don has been a key leader in the tree fruit industry in the Okanagan Valley, and his experience and enthusiasm will help ensure the successful commercialization of our nonbrowning Arctic® apple varieties.”Don Westcott expressed his eagerness to join Okanagan Specialty Fruits, saying, “I am proud to become part of this hard-working team that’s bringing innovation to the tree fruit industry, beginning with Arctic® apples. The same spirit that drives OSF motivates me and I couldn’t be more pleased to bring my organizational skills and experience to this central role with a pioneering organization like OSF.”Westcott’s addition comes just weeks after OSF announced a number of other new hires, including Jeanette De-Coninck-Hertzler as Sales Manager and Denise Everett as Communications Specialist.
May 12, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Canada’s farmers and processors need the federal government’s help to navigate the increasingly complex labyrinth of international trade to ensure they have access to the foreign markets they depend on, according to a report released Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.The committee met with over 500 witnesses and other stakeholders from across the country to examine international market access priorities for Canadian farmers and processors — a key contributor to the Canadian economy — to understand the challenges they face when exporting their products and to identify possible solutions to facilitate and encourage international market access.The committee’s report, Market Access: Giving Canadian Farmers and Processors the World,  outlines ways to ensure Canadian products get to shelves around the world.World-renowned products like Quebec maple syrup, Alberta beef, blueberries from Atlantic Canada, Okanagan and Niagara wines, and canola from the Prairies all reinforce the Canada Brand.The committee sees the Canada Brand as crucial to positioning Canadian products on the international stage.The committee makes 18 recommendations in its report, including: That the federal government eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade and pursue free trade agreements with other countries. That all levels of government work together to eliminate interprovincial trade barriers and invest in rail, road and marine infrastructure to guarantee that Canadian producers and processors are able to efficiently transport their products to consumers. That the federal government improve access to infrastructure grants for farmers and food producers who want to invest in new technologies, and that Employment and Social Development Canada and Immigration and Citizenship Canada create programs that help farmers hire foreign workers to address labour shortages. Adopting the committee’s recommendations will help the government ensure that the Canadian agriculture sector continues to thrive.
May 10, 2017, United States - A key U.S. potato industry organization is asking the Trump administration to address its concerns in upcoming negotiations.The U.S. National Potato Council (NPC) is calling for action in any upcoming NAFTA renegotiations.In a letter to President Donald Trump, John Keeling, NPC’s CEO, said the group “... is strongly supportive of improving the conditions for trade that we confront with Canada and Mexico.”He also noted that the two countries represent important markets for U.S. producers. Canada is the second-largest export market with annual sales of US$315 million or 17.8 per cent of U.S. exports. Mexico comes in third with annual sales of US$253 annual, equalling 14.3 per cent of annual U.S. exports. READ MORE
May 8, 2017, Mississauga, Ont. – Considering Canadians' preference for tomatoes grown at home, Great Value has created a selection of sauce recipes that put even more Canada into ketchup."Last year Canadians voiced their opinion about the importance of buying ketchup made with our own tomatoes," said Paul Goldsmith, senior director of brand management, private brands at Walmart Canada. "We couldn't agree more and want to take that sentiment even further. Starting with our Great Value Ketchup as a base, we've come up with a few suggestions to get more Canada into your ketchup."The new Great Value Ketchup was introduced in May and will be available in all Walmart Supercentres by July.Ontario is home to the tomatoes and production of the new sauce that is made without high-fructose corn syrup and is free of artificial colours, artificial flavours and preservatives.
May 8, 2017, Kelowna, BC – BC Tree Fruits recently announced the company has submitted an application to expand its Winfield packinghouse to allow space for a new apple bagging line. Once approved, the new line would be ready for operation prior to the 2017 apple crop starting this fall and would expand BC Tree Fruits’ capacity by 30 per cent. READ MORE

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