Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

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Disease management of vegetables


November 2, 2010
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

November 2, 2010- Downy
mildews can destroy entire crops of onions, lettuce and cucumbers. This means
less income for farmers and fewer homegrown vegetables for Ontario consumers.

November 2, 2010- Downy
mildews can destroy entire crops of onions, lettuce and cucumbers. This means
less income for farmers and fewer homegrown vegetables for Ontario consumers.

Now, a new research
project launched by the Fresh Vegetable Growers of Ontario (FVGO) is hoping to
find some answers to the downy mildew problem that will make it easier to
control and help farmers avoid the crop losses they have suffered in recent
years.

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“The fresh vegetable
sector needs new, effective and economical solutions for managing vegetable
diseases so that we can provide consumers with a healthy, safe and plentiful
supply of produce," says Jeff Wilson, a vegetable farmer and chair of the
FVGO.

Downy mildew can be
controlled through the use of fungicides but these must be applied before
infection takes place in order to be effective. This project, funded in part
through a $24,573 grant from the Farm Innovation Program (FIP), will test an
improved system of disease forecasting using rotorod spore traps to help
farmers identify if their crops are at risk. Trials using onions, lettuce and
cucumbers will be conducted in muck soil at the Muck Crops Research Station in
the Holland Marsh, and at the Simcoe Research Station, where vegetables are
grown in mineral soils.

Researchers will also be
testing some newly available fungicides to determine whether they can be
effectively used to prevent outbreaks of downy mildews. As well, two onion
varieties resistant to downy mildews are newly available on the market and will
be evaluated for their resistance, quality and yield levels when compared to
other commonly grown onion cultivars. 

“This project will
increase awareness and access to new on-farm technologies that will be
important tools for vegetable growers to increase their productivity and
competitiveness in the marketplace,” says Jim Rickard, chair of the
Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC), which administers FIP on behalf of
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food
and Rural Affairs
.

FIP is aimed at boosting
agricultural research, competitiveness and productivity in Ontario's
agricultural sectors and is one of the innovation and science suite of programs
in Ontario for Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.