March 15, 2017, Guelph, Ont – Ontario’s newest vegetable crop specialist, Travis Cranmer, joins the ministry from the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, where he worked on applied and molecular research in plant biology. With OMAFRA, he will work with vegetable crops including bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chives, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, leeks, onions, shallots and spinach.

In 2015, Carnmer graduated from the University of Guelph with a Master of Science in plant production systems.
During his studies, Cranmer coordinated complex research trials, conducted statistical analysis and interpreted data, providing team leadership to research assistants, technicians and students.
Cranmer grew up on a farm in Bright’s Grove propagating, growing and selling various vegetables including bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, chives, garlic, kale, leeks, onions, lettuce and spinach. He also spent time working at Degroot’s Nurseries as a specialist at plant, pest and pathogen identification as well as disease diagnosis from samples provided by clients.

In his spare time, Cranmer runs a woodworking business and sells many of his products online.

He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 519-826-4963.
March 8, 2017, Victoria, BC – British Columbia’s value-added food companies will increase their chances of having their products sold outside of Canada by participating in a Government of Canada- and British Columbia-funded program to help them meet international food safety and traceability requirements.

The approximately $2-million Post-Farm Food Safety and Traceability Program will offer participants up to $35,000 to:
  • conduct food safety and traceability assessments to identify and document risks, issues and opportunities to improve food safety and traceability capacity, systems and practices;
  • access training to increase the food safety and traceability expertise of their staff; and
  • implement Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), Best Practices (BPs) and recognized Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety practices and traceability systems in their operations. 
The two-year program will improve agrifood businesses’ capacity to address current issues and to meet emerging national and international food safety and traceability requirements. It is being delivered by the Food Processing Human Resources Council and is cost-shared with participants. Application forms, guidelines and related documents are available at: .

The program targets B.C. food-processing businesses seeking first-time certification in internationally recognized HACCP-based food safety assurance programs. Additionally, the program targets B.C. companies that use recognized food safety and traceability standards, implement food safety and traceability systems, effectively manage food safety risk, and create opportunities to access new markets and increase sales.

For additional information and applications for the new program, visit: .
February 23, 2017, Victoria, BC – Due to an underwhelming response by users to register their wells, the province has extended its waiver of the application fee to December 31, 2017.

The new Water Sustainability Act took effect February 29, 2016 and includes licensing requirements for all non-domestic groundwater users. As a result, all wells used for irrigation and livestock watering must be registered. READ MORE
The B.C. tree fruit replant program is having a positive affect on the province’s fruit growing industry and has been so popular, the province’s Ministry of Agriculture has provided additional funds.
January 23, 2017, Victoria, BC — Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick says he will now attend a major conference of B.C. farmers Jan. 26 after earlier bailing on the event to attend a $5,000-a-plate Liberal Party fundraiser with Premier Christy Clark.

The flip-flop came hours after The Province reported exclusively that Letnick had cancelled on 9,000 farmers and ranchers attending the Pacific Agriculture Show in Abbotsford. READ MORE
January 18, 2017 – The U.S. government has launched a trade enforcement action against Canada at the World Trade Organization, stating that B.C.'s liquor regulations discriminate against the sale of U.S. wine.

U.S. Trade representative Michael Froman wrote in a recent news release the regulations breach Canada's WTO commitments by giving local B.C. wine an unfair advantage. READ MORE


With fall harvest at an end, the agricultural labour program that helps Ontario’s fruit and vegetable industry thrive is celebrating another successful growing season.

October 18, 2016, Centreville, NS – A new, hand-held device reminiscent of Star Trek's tricorder scanning device is telling Nova Scotian farmers when an apple is perfect for picking.

The results are already transforming the province's apple industry. READ MORE

August 2, 2016, Vancouver, BC – Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick has a battle on his hands.

Many B.C. winery owners are angry that he plans to change regulations to require all winery owners in the province to be members of the British Columbia Wine Authority (BCWA). READ MORE

July 19, 2016, Ottawa, Ont – The board of directors of the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) recently announced that Rebecca Lee has accepted the position of executive director.

Lee has significant experience in the industry. She obtained her bachelor in science/agriculture from McGill University, her masters in science from the University of Guelph and her doctorate from Wageningen University in The Netherlands.

Lee’s most recent position was as technical director with the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO), where she also served as acting executive director. During her six years with NAPPO, she worked very closely with government, research and industry representatives from the three North American countries.

Prior to that, she worked as technical director with the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters, for whom she designed the Colombian Centre for Innovation in Floriculture. She then served as executive director of the centre for six years. These two positions provided Lee with extensive experience in dealing with government in Colombia.

Lee’s experience also includes consultancies in evaluation for organizations such as:

  • Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture, IICA -Colombia
  • Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje, SENA, Colombia
  • Departamento Administrativo de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación, COLCIENCIAS (the “NSERC” of Colombia)
  • Canadian Embassy, Colombia (Research grants and Government of Canada Scholarships).
  • Ontario African Working Group, as evaluation assistant, Guelph, Canada
  • University of Guelph, as evaluation researcher, Guelph, Canada 

Lee has significant experience in developing strategic plans, working with staff and bringing diverse groups together to develop common goals.

She will be working part-time in August including connecting with CHC members and will be full-time with the council starting in September.

June 2, 2016, Guelph, Ont – Bayer has announced the launch of Priwen fungicide for control of powdery mildew in Canadian wine grapes.

“At Bayer, we are dedicated to pursuing new tools that address specific needs for growers,” said Jon Weinmaster, portfolio manager for horticulture, at Bayer CropScience Inc. “As the only Group 5 fungicide available for wine grape growers in Canada, Priwen not only offers growers a new and unique foliar fungicide, but one that is highly effective against powdery mildew.”

Priwen offers xylem-mobile systemic protection, moving to the leaf tips and underside of leaves.

“Thanks to its unique active ingredient, Priwen is also an excellent rotation and resistance management tool, which supports wine grape growers’ efforts to manage tough diseases year after year,” said Weinmaster.

Priwen is formulated as a 500 g/L emulsifiable concentrate and is available in 1L jugs, with 12 X 1L jugs per case.

For more information regarding Priwen, growers are encouraged to talk to their local retailers or visit

May 24, 2016, Hannover, Germany – Sweet cherries are susceptible to a condition called cracking, in which the skin of the fruit is strained, causing fractures or cracks.

The condition, which limits marketability of the fruit, may be a result of factors such as excessive water uptake or weak fruit skins. In a new study published in the Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science (March 2016) researchers examined the mechanical properties of different cherry cultivars to determine how these properties impact skin cracking.

"Rain-induced cracking imposes a major limitation to (sweet cherry) production," said Moritz Knoche, corresponding author of the study.

"Susceptibility to rain cracking differs among cultivars, but the mechanistic basis of differential cracking susceptibility among cultivars is not clear," he said, adding that cracking is likely related to water uptake into the fruit. "Water uptake leads to an increase in volume, causing the fruit surface area to increase. When the limits of extensibility are exceeded, the fruit is expected to crack."

To determine why sweet cherry varieties have differing levels of susceptibility to cracking, Knoche and co-author Martin Brüggenwirth tested two sweet cherry cultivars using a biaxial tensile test to quantify key mechanical properties, and then investigated the mechanistic basis of differences between the two cultivars. The researchers designed experiments using Regina (a cultivar less-susceptible to cracking) and Burlat (a more-susceptible cultivar).

"Because the fruits vary diurnally in diameter, and hence surface area, and because this may cause the skin to fatigue, we also investigated the effects of repeated loading and unloading cycles on the mechanical properties of the fruit skin of the two cultivars," the authors explained.

The results of tensile tests showed that the mechanical properties of the skins of Regina and Burlat fruit differed: the skin of the less cracking-susceptible variety Regina was stiffer and had a higher fracture pressure than that of the more cracking-susceptible Burlat.

Tests also revealed that repeated loading and unloading cycles did not cause the skin to fatigue in either cultivar.

"The pressures at fracture were of a similar order of magnitude to those reported previously for both cell and fruit turgor. However, the strains at fracture, resulting from surface area increase following water uptake (0.3 to 1.1 per cent), were markedly lower in the cracking assay than in the biaxial tensile tests," the authors said.

They noted that the reason for this discrepancy is unknown and should be studied further.

"These results suggest that cell wall physical (and possibly also chemical) properties account for the cultivar differences in skin mechanical properties, and hence in cracking susceptibility."

The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. electronic journal web site:

May 10, 2016, Orwell Cove, PEI – Tractors chug over wide expanses of tilled, red soil — it's an annual picture postcard scene on P.E.I. — planting thousands of hectares of potatoes.

The Visser farm in Orwell Cove will plant about 400 hectares, or 1,000 acres, in the next couple of weeks. READ MORE

April 29, 2016, Ontario – The Ontario Potato Board and Dr. Eugenia Banks are collaborating on a two-year project to evaluate late blight management technologies new to Ontario.

The goal of the project is to help growers take late blight management to the next level by using state-of-the-art spore traps placed in potato fields and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology to identify late blight spores before visual symptoms develop in plants. Also, drone technology will be used to validate the performance and effectiveness of spore traps. 

Ontario potato production can be seriously affected by late blight, a devastating disease that can destroy potato fields in a few days if effective fungicides are not applied in a timely fashion. In the past, late blight was sporadic in Canada, but it is now an annual, serious concern for potato and tomato growers in Ontario and other provinces as well. 

The late blight pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, has the ability to produce about 700,000 spores on a single leaf lesion. The spores are disseminated by the wind both within a field and also from farm to farm. Each spore has the potential of initiating infections on potato plants or other hosts such as tomatoes and nightshade weeds. This extremely high spore production is the most important factor involved in the destructive nature of late blight. 

The innovative technologies for spore trapping in potato fields and for spore identification should allow potato producers to manage late blight more effectively and avoid epidemics that could pose a serious threat to provincial potato production. 

Information obtained during the growing season will be shared not only with provincial potato growers but with provincial tomato growers as well. 

This project is funded in part through Growing Forward 2. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of Growing Forward 2 in Ontario. 

February 10, 2016, Mississauga, Ont — BASF Canada Inc. has been granted registration for Sercadis fungicide for control of many key diseases in a wide array of horticultural crops.

“We believe Canadian horticulture growers will quickly come to appreciate Sercadis not only for its highly systemic activity and excellent disease control, but also for its flexibility in building a customized program for their farm,” says Scott Hodgins, brand manager for horticultural products with BASF Canada.

Sercadis is a next generation Group 7 fungicide for fruit and vegetable growers. The active ingredient in Sercadis is fluxapyroxad, with the global active ingredient trade name Xemium. According to the company, the disease control of Sercadis is enhanced with its systemic nature, allowing it to protect the crop as it grows. In extensive Canadian and international research and field-scale evaluations, Sercadis has demonstrated tank-mix flexibility.

For 2016, BASF will focus Sercardis on:

  • Pome fruit: control of apple and pear scab, powdery mildew
  • Potatoes: control of early blight and white mould (foliar); rhizoctonia canker (in-furrow)
  • Onions (bulb vegetable group): control of botrytis leaf blight, purple blotch and leaf blight; suppression of stemphylium leaf blight and stalk rot

Sercadis is also registered in berry, brassica, brassica leafy vegetable, carrot, cucurbit, fruiting vegetables, grape, leafy vegetable, stone fruit and strawberry crops.

For more information on Sercadis, please visit

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