Weed management through genetic testing

Weed management through genetic testing

Fast genetic testing for problem weeds saves vegetable growers time, money and increases productivity.

Taking control of garlic pests

Taking control of garlic pests

Advice for optimal control of leek moth and stem and bulb nematode.

Frost protection  for fruit trees

Frost protection for fruit trees

Insights into the latest techniques and technologies available to aid frost protection of fruit trees and berry crops across Canada.

Bringing a new variety to market

Bringing a new variety to market

A look at the what it takes to gain traction in the marketplace with a new club fruit apple variety.

Sweet corn goes cutting-edge

Sweet corn goes cutting-edge

A new processing plant in Guelph will provide benefits for sweet corn growers as a global market is developed for PhytoSpherix.

What started out as a simple idea to add variety to the prairie diet through the winter months has sprouted into a successful family business.
The abundance of bird species living in agricultural environments has decreased both in Finland and elsewhere in Europe. Attempts to rectify the situation have been made with the help of agri-environment-climate subsidies. They are granted to agricultural producers by the EU for implementing measures that are presumed to be beneficial to the environment. There is a range of such subsidies, but their potential effects on biodiversity at national scales have been seldom comprehensively investigated.
Charcoal may be the solution to reducing ammonia pollution and lowering greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer for crop plants, according to a groundbreaking study by a University of Guelph soil scientist.
Ontario’s farm workforce is changing. More farmers are retiring, selling their farms or transitioning the business to the next generation. Younger farm faces are making more purchasing and management decisions. And while technology and automation are changing the way many farm businesses operate, Ontario remains Canada’s largest agricultural employer and we rely heavily on a skilled labour force that is increasingly shrinking.
The last several years have seen a tremendous boost in the popularity and availability of Ontario craft ciders. Craft cider currently represents around 12 per cent of cider sales in Ontario, so there is room for more growth.
As Ontario farmers Brent Preston and wife Gillian Flies lugged their heavy tarps out during each new planting season, they pondered ground cover options for their farm at Creemore. The tarps were working well but would lighter weight ground cover fabric do the same job with less expense and less hassle?
Until recently, New York onion farmers had just two insecticide options for controlling onion thrips, a pervasive insect pest, and neither was good. One was short-lived, the other was dangerous to work with – and both were losing effectiveness.
Eating a cup of blueberries a day reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease - according to new research led by the University of East Anglia, in collaboration with colleagues from Harvard and across the U.K.
Nature Canada is currently leading a project investigating swallow populations along the Southern Great Lakes.
Pollinator gardens are most beneficial to pollinators when they contain a greater variety of plants, according to research from the University of Georgia.
A life-time of giving back to the farming community was acknowledged earlier this year as Simcoe farmer Ken Porteous was named to the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Did you know that the cost of replacing a single worker can be as much as 150 per cent of their annual salary? Do you know what your turnover costs are?
Canadian vegetable growers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on herbicides that don’t kill the weeds they are targeting. Not only do these herbicide-resistant weeds cause farmers yield losses, but also the farmers often find themselves paying for multiple weed control strategies, including hiring workers to manually remove the weeds.
“Samurai Wasps vs. Stink Bugs” is not the title of the latest Avengers film. But it does describe new efforts by Cornell scientists to control a household nuisance and agricultural pest.
Food-borne illness can create big problems for both public health and a business. Most recently, an outbreak of E. coli made headlines across Canada and the U.S., with 29 confirmed cases in Canada. Romaine lettuce and other leafy greens were recalled by producers and food manufacturers after the outbreak was traced back to farms in California.
UPL AgroSolutions Canada recently announced that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has granted registration for Manzate Max liquid fungicide for use on fruit, including apples, potatoes and vegetable crops.
Protecting the health and safety of Canadians and the environment is a priority for the Government of Canada. This includes helping to protect the health of bees and other pollinators by minimizing their exposure to pesticides.
The University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus recently released a number of new tables outlining fungicide efficacy for management of diseases in field tomatoes. 
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of URMULE registrations for Presidio Fungicide for control of downy mildew on field and greenhouse basil and downy mildew of hops, and suppression of Phytophthora blight and pod rot and downy mildew on edible-podded beans in Canada. Presidio Fungicide was already labeled for use on a number of crops in Canada for control of several diseases.
BASF introduces new Versys insecticide for the 2019 season. Versys controls aphids and whiteflies in fruit and vegetable crops.
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of a minor use label expansion registration for Avian Control bird repellent to reduce feeding damage to ripening bushberries (crop subgroup 13-07B), grapes and sweet corn caused by birds in Canada.
The Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) website is undergoing a renovation, and as a result the Pest Management Centre pages have been relocated to join the AAFC Research and Development Centres’ web pages. Along with this migration, the pest management centre homepage has been updated.
New for 2019, BASF will introduce Serifel, an innovative, new fungicide with three modes of action to target powdery mildew and botrytis in grapes.
Syngenta Canada Inc. is pleased to announce the registration of Vibrance Ultra Potato as a new seed piece treatment for the suppression of pink rot and control of key seed- and soil‑borne diseases, including late blight.
Growers sizing up the impacts a changing climate could have on North America are well aware of two key challenges. One is greater rainfall earlier in the winter, meaning smaller snow packs and less runoff during the growing season. This will contribute to drier summers. Compounding the effects of a drier growing season is a rise in temperatures.
While farm machinery innovation often means bigger sizes and more complex technology, one Ontario farm is proving smaller and simpler may be the way of the future for harvesting row crops.
Keep cool is the motto in cherry orchards, where heat rapidly degrades picked fruit and turns stems brown. That’s why nearly all B.C. cherry growers use Mylar covers. White on the outside, reflective on the inside, the tarps keep heat out and humidity in.
In a greenhouse in Belgium, a small robot moves through rows of strawberries growing on trays suspended above the ground, using machine vision to locate ripe, flawless berries, then reaching up with a 3D-printed hand to gently pluck each berry and place it in a basket for sale. If it feels that a berry isn’t ready for harvest, the robot estimates the date it will be ready for it to return and pick it.
Ontario's Government for the People unveiled valuable resources to help farmers reduce the risk of barn fires this winter, the time when most barn fires occur.
When plants are growing outdoors, it’s no surprise that they are at risk for pest activity. But even once produce is harvested and brought inside for storage and packaging, it can fall victim to pests’ appetites. In fact, pest infestations that are established during storage can put your produce at increased risk, as it is easy for pests to move and spread quickly in the closed environment.
Every day there is a new smartphone application launched that claims to assist growers in their farming efforts. And while many of these apps can be beneficial tools, wading through the ever-growing lineup of offerings can be a daunting task.
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.
In 2018, MS Gregson introduced a line of electrostatic sprayers (the Ecostatik) in Canada. While electrostatic technology has been used in agriculture since the 1980’s, this is the first time ground rigs have been so readily available to Ontario (possibly Canadian) growers.
Fresno, CA – Jain Irrigation, Inc. recently announced it is acquiring ETwater, a supplier of intelligent irrigation technology and smart irrigation controllers. ETwater’s patented technology integrates data science, machine learning and predictive analytics about weather forecast and environmental variables to automatically, optimally adjust site-specific irrigation schedules. Connecting over the Internet, ETwater smart controllers get their schedules through secure, cellular data networks, and users are able to remotely monitor and manage controllers from any mobile or smart device. “We’re very proud of the positive impact on outdoor water conservation we’ve had in the U.S. market and raising awareness to the necessity of irrigating in harmony with nature,” said Pat McIntyre, CEO of ETwater. “The Jain acquisition will expand ETwater efficiencies throughout the U.S. and now worldwide to become a gold standard in sustainable water management globally.” “Jain is an early leader in the IoT for agriculture,” said Aric Olson, president of Jain Irrigation, Inc. “ETwater will improve our position in agriculture and helps us make a bigger impact in reducing water waste in landscape irrigation." “We are thrilled to have ETwater join our family. After several successful irrigation technology acquisitions, the addition of ETwater … adds key technologies that can be deployed globally to our growing technology customer base.”
Working in the intense heat of the summer sun can put workers at risk of heat stress, but heat stress can also hit you in places you wouldn't expect."Any job that causes your body temperature to rise has the potential to cause heat stress," says WSPS occupational hygiene consultant Michael Puccini. "Even jobs carried out in air-conditioned environments."Left unchecked, heat stress can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heart attack, and other physical health effects. Plus, it can be damaging to business, by way of lost productivity, disability costs, and fines and penalties.Prepare for the heat nowThese heat waves may last only a week or two, but in this time workers can suffer debilitating effects and even death. A few simple steps taken now can keep your people thriving and productive even in the hottest weather."Based on the internal responsibility system, everyone has a role to play," says WSPS occupational hygienist Warren Clements. "Employers, supervisors and workers can all make a difference in their workplaces."Steps for employers:Put a policy and procedures in place, based on a risk assessment. Ask questions, such as: Have workers been affected by heat in the past? Is work done in direct sunlight? Are there heat producing processes or equipment in the workplace? This will help you understand the magnitude of the issue. If heat stress may be a hazard, you may want to conduct heat stress measurements so you can develop a control plan. The plan should include engineering controls, such as insulating hot surfaces.Train all employees during orientation on the policy and procedures to manage the hazard. Include heat stress symptoms, how to prevent it, and what to do if someone starts showing symptoms. Heat stress training is particularly critical for young and new workers, as well as all manual workers. Research conducted by the Institute for Work & Health shows that heat strokes, sunstrokes and other heat illnesses disproportionately affect those on the job less than two months. Steps for supervisors: Acclimatize workers to hot conditions, and watch out for de-acclimatization. Workers can lose their tolerance in only four days. Schedule work in the hottest locations for cooler times of day. Build cool-down breaks into work schedules. Adjust the frequency and duration of breaks as needed. "Taking a break means going to a cooler work area or providing workers with periodic rest breaks and rest facilities in cooler conditions," says Warren. Get to know your workplace and your workers. "Are there certain jobs at elevated risk? Is anybody working outside today? 'Is so-and-so looking a little different from how he normally looks? A little more flushed? Sitting down more?'" Ensure ready access to cool water in convenient, visible locations. Workers need to replenish their fluids if they are becoming dehydrated. Supply protective equipment and clothing as needed, such as water-dampened cotton whole-body suits, cooling vests with pockets that hold cold packs, and water-cooled suits. Monitor weather forecasts. "If it's Tuesday and you know superhot weather is coming on Thursday, ask yourself, 'Who will be working then? What will they be doing? Who... or what... should I watch out for?'" Be extra vigilant in extreme conditions. "Check on workers frequently. If you can't do this, then assign a temporary pair of eyes to do it for you." Steps for workers: Watch out for each other and speak up. "People suffering from heat stress don't always recognize their own symptoms. If anyone's behaviour is 'more than usual' - more sweating, more flushed, hyperventilating - it could be a sign of heat stress." Other signs could include rashes, muscle cramping, dizziness, fainting, and headaches.For more information, visit: Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
Manfredi Cold Storage recently expanded the facility by 70,000 sq. ft., for 400,000 total sq. ft. of cold storage space, and already plans are in the works for future expansion. The distributor handles fruit, vegetables and foodstuffs from 22 countries, at zero to 55 Fahrenheit temperatures, in its facility that provides retailers with wireless, real-time inventory and access.In order to keep such continued growth on track, effective operation has required the use of rugged drive-in rack, designed to the application, according to Rob Wharry, the facility’s director of operations.“About 150 to 200 truckloads of product move in and out of our storage everyday – about 25,000 pallets – so the drive-in rack needs to be very durable and accessible,” says Wharry. “The product has to go out quickly and efficiently to grocery stores, club stores, distribution centers, and the food service industry.”Drive-in racks enable storing of up to 75 per cent more pallets than selective rack and are ideal for high-traffic and cooler/freezer installations. With drive-in rack, forklifts drive directly into the rack to allow storage of two or more pallets deep.But because forklifts drive directly into the rack, they tend to take more abuse than other rack structures. In cooler and freezer applications, the rack must withstand forklift abuse due to the confined space, slick surfaces, and cold temperatures that slow driver reflexes and make impact more frequent.“We’re in and out of rack with heavy pallets and equipment so many times a day,” says Wharry. “It’s a fact of life that sometimes forklifts will run into the rack, so it just needs to be able to stand up to the daily use.”Looking to optimize the rack’s durability and operation, the cold chain distributor turned to Steel King Industries, a storage system and pallet rack manufacturer. In the most recent expansion, about 4,000 pallets of refrigerated storage capacity were added. For this, Manfredi Cold Storage chose SK3000 pallet rack, a bolted rack with structural channel columns.A number of rack features are helping the distributor to meet its strength, durability, and maintenance goals.Compared to typical racking, the pallet rack constructed of hot-rolled structural channel column with full horizontal and diagonal bracing offers greater frame strength, durability and cross-sectional area. All Grade-5 hardware provides greater shear strength, and a heavy seven-gauge wrap-around connector plate ensures a square and plumb installation with a tighter connection and greater moment resistance.The drive-in rack also includes a number of features that enhance ease-of-use and safety.The drive-in load rail construction includes: structural angle rails that “guide” pallets for ease of use; flared rail entry ends to allow easy bay access; space-saver low profile arms that increase clearance and decrease possible product damage; welded aisle-side load arms that eliminate hazardous load projections into aisles; welded rail stops that prevent loads from being pushed off and increase safety; and two-inch vertical adjustability of the bolted rack, which allows for a variety of configurations for current or future products.“The heavy rub rail inside the rack helps to guide the pallets in,” says Wharry. “The flared rail entry makes it easier to put pallets in and to take them out of the upper positions.”For extra protection and reinforcement against forklift impact, a guard on the front of the rack’s first upright was added. The double column, welded angle column protector is designed for heavy pallets and provides additional strength.According to Wharry, the vendor was also willing to accommodate their needs in other ways as well.“Our operation is a little different than a typical storage customer because we’re dealing with lots of different sized products, so we had a very specific design in mind,” says Wharry. “Everything is specific to our application – rack height, width, pallet loads, and how we utilize it.”The rack openings are about 12- to 16-inches taller than a standard rack opening to allow the use of very tall pallets, he says. Additional adjustments to the rack include the specific implementation of guards, heavy rail, and how it is anchored to the floor.With continuing growth expected, Manfredi Cold Storage is already planning to start the construction of a new facility in southern New Jersey.“When the new facility is constructed, the racking set up will be just like what we have here,” concludes Wharry. “We’ve determined what works for us and our customers, and
Trespassing on farm property is a growing concern for Ontario farmers. From rural trail hikers detouring into a pasture to ATV drivers ruining crops, farmers have dealt with all types of unwanted visitors on the farm who leave varying degrees of damage. The latest threat to farmers, especially livestock farmers and transporters is the increasing risk of activists trespassing, invading, breaking into barns and harassing farmers, their families and employees.
As the spring arrives and the fields begin to come alive I often find myself distracted by what I spot in the fields parallel to my travels. One of the things that has always fascinated me about farming is how different growing conditions and crops can be from region-to-region and field-to-field.
Greenhouse gas is a significant player in climate change and Agricultural and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientists have developed a tool that helps mitigate agriculture’s contribution.
“It is an exciting prospect, to be sure,” says Robert Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF). “Fruit is something that is generally loved by most people. It is healthy, and there are lots of good options to consider.”
The governments of Canada and Ontario are helping the province's corn farmers better manage future occurrences of the plant disease deoxynivalenol (DON) in their crops.
The governments of Canada and British Columbia are investing in the B.C. strawberry, blueberry and raspberry industries to help market competitiveness in berry production through innovative genetics and practices in the province.
More data than ever is being collected in agriculture and the industry is challenged with how to best put it to use to support profitable and sustainable food production.
An open letter from Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs:The Ontario processing vegetable sector is a major contributor to Ontario's economy, with 16 processing facilities and 343 producers generating over $100 million in annual farm gate sales and creating good jobs in Ontario communities. However, for years this unique sector has had challenges which have caused frustrations for farmers and processors. This has led to decreased investment and contributed to declining volumes in the industry.
BC Tree Fruits Cooperative (BCTFC) is excited to officially announce the purchase of 85 acres of land in Kelowna, B.C., with the purpose of building a new facility under the Cooperative’s new “One Roof” plan. In conjunction with this purchase, BCTFC has an agreement in place to sell their property in Penticton, BC. Both transactions will be completed by May 31, 2019.
Vegpro International, a Canadian, family-owned company, is introducing - their most popular products to Western Canada. Fresh Attitude prewashed baby lettuces and salad kits have officially made their debut in the produce sections of Western Canada's grocery stores, and can be found in major retailers.
Wildlife damage to livestock and crops continues to plague farmers. From coyotes attacking flocks of sheep to geese and cranes eating fields of newly emerged wheat or corn, farmers face the effects of nature in everything they farm.
The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry recently heard from witnesses with expertise in soil health. The Honourable Robert Black, who joined the Senate last year after a 30-year career in the agricultural industry, proposed that the committee undertake a study on soil health.

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