Production

Most on-farm marketers would agree that the seventies were the pinnacle of the pick-your-own (PYO) era. The majority of families at that time had one wage earner and by going to a farm to pick your own fruits and vegetables and preserve them for the winter, families were able to stretch the single salary a little bit further.
According to recent reports from south of the border, two senators from North Dakota are asking their federal government to investigate allegations that Canadian growers are dumping potatoes into the U.S. market. The proof? Over the past few years, there’s been a surge in potato imports from Canada to the U.S. [$212 million worth of fresh potatoes in 2015-2016] while demand for U.S. spuds has decreased. A recent report from Potatoes USA showed exports of fresh U.S. potatoes bound for Canada have dropped 13.5 per cent from July 2017 to June 2018. And U.S. producers believe this is due to Canadian protectionist trade practices and a sign the government is subsidizing the industry. But, according to reports in Canadian media, growers in the Great White North are merely benefiting from a favourable exchange rate. And the only government support they are receiving is through loans that need to be matched 50/50 by the recipient and repaid over 10 years. Senator John Hoeven (Rep) and Senator Heidi Heitkamp (Dem) have both come out strong against Canada, accusing their northern neighbour of “unfair treatment” of American potatoes. “Red River Valley potato growers have a strong case to be made that Canada has unfairly limited their profits and narrowed their fair market access,” Heitkamp said. “Canada remains one of our closest friends and allies, but we still need, and our farmers deserve, reciprocity in trade,” Hoeven said. “That’s why we continue urging the administration to address Canada’s unfair treatment of American agriculture exports. Our trading partners would never tolerate this kind of treatment from the U.S.” This isn’t the only trade woe facing the U.S. potato industry. According to a recent report from Potatoes USA, the U.S. potato market share to Mexico has dropped to 76 per cent from 82 per cent from July 2017 to June 2018 as the European Union and Canada made significant gains in the market.
After a short 5 years in business, the Cloverbelt Food Co-op has changed the face of local food distribution in the Northern region of Ontario.Much of the rural communities in the North are geographically vast, preventing its residents from having access to healthy, fresh and locally-produced products. Cloverbelt, a small co-operative located in Dryden Ont., whose mission is to strengthen food security and foster a thriving local food community, has solutions to combat this problem.“The objective of the food co-op was to make local food more visible and accessible by offering products sourced entirely from this region,” notes Jennifer Springett, Cloverbelt’s president. But it’s much easier said than done. Adds Springett, “We’ve had to become innovative to find ways for food to reach many parts of the region.”One such innovation is the development of their online farmer’s market and distribution service. The initiative was developed out of a need to provide access to more fresh foods produced by local farmers, and to find a more sustainable way to operate the local food box program in Dryden. By allowing consumers to select what local products they want to buy rather than getting a box of goods with items they may not use, it enables farmers to match their supply with demand.The program was so well received in Dryden, that residents from other small communities – many of which don’t have access to a full grocery store – requested a similar program in their region. The online market recently expanded their transportation and distribution network to the Fort Francis, Atikokan and Red Lake areas, thanks to a partnership with Louden Brother Wholesale.“Rather than reinventing the wheel and replicating what we’re already doing, we found ways to expand and distribute food between communities. This gives consumers access to a greater variety of foods, while serving more communities,” says Springett.In order to continue innovating, Cloverbelt is developing a Food Charter for the Kenora and Rainy River Districts, with the objective of encouraging community policy and commitment to support local food.“Such a policy is necessary to align municipal level commitment with provincial objectives for increased Ontario food sales. It is also critical to ensuing continued support for local food in the North, and to overcome key barriers to growth in the agricultural sector,” says Springett.Using a collaborative approach, consultations were held with the different municipalities in small, rural communities. The draft Charter, completed in March 2018, sets out a vision for local food supply in Northern Ontario, and is currently being circulated for final input.“Cloverbelt is a prime example of how co-operative businesses address both social and economic challenges within the province, by finding innovative ways to collaboratively solve a need within a community or region,” says Erin Morgan, executive director of the Ontario Co-operative Association.Learn more about the Cloverbelt Food Co-op online at https://www.cloverbeltlocalfoodcoop.com
Hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables grow in Ontario each year, but many Ontario residents still face barriers to accessing those foods. Now, an innovative food accessibility program in Guelph is making it easier for its community members to buy fresh produce.The SEED – a community food project that delivers community programs to address food insecurity – offers weekly, affordable fresh food markets with items priced on a sliding price scale. The markets, running a few hours each week now in two neighbourhoods in Guelph, offer a large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables to residents who may face income, transportation or other barriers to eating well.“When people come to the market, they choose what they want to pay,” says Becca Clayton, community food markets co-ordinator at The SEED. “On the reduced end of the scale, we price items as low as we can offer while still covering our costs. The upper value of the scale is retail value. Customers can pay the retail end or the reduced rate, or anything in between — no questions asked.”While the community market has been operating in a downtown location at the Guelph Community Health Centre for less than a year, the program is already expanding. A second site, in a so-called “food desert” (located a significant distance from grocery stores) in Guelph’s east end opened in April 2018.Clayton says while a number of communities offer affordable fresh food markets, she believes the sliding scale model is less common.“We came to the sliding scale model in a collaborative meeting, after a large amount of research,” says Clayton. “Research suggests in sliding scale models for other services, people choose their price point based on their income very accurately. People are generally honest about choosing where their income sits on a sliding scale, and we thought it would make sense for fresh food too.”Clayton says in the market’s downtown Guelph location, approximately half of its sales are at the low-end of the sale. The other 50 per cent is sold at mid-to-retail price points.“That’s exactly the balance we’re looking for, because it allows everyone to shop in stigma-free space together,” says Clayton. “We need people of all incomes at the market for the model to work.”The food sold at the markets come from a variety of sources, including the Toronto Food Terminal and the Guelph Youth Farm, another project run by The SEED, which provides youth with urban agriculture and employment experience. Wherever possible, Clayton says market organizers seek direct relationships with local farmers.“It’s important to us that we offer good prices for our low-income customers as well as pay farmers fair wages for what they’re growing,” Clayton says. “We have relationships with apple farmers and garlic farmers, and we’re always looking for new connections.”The markets run on a social enterprise model, which allows for a small amount of profit. After staffing, cold storage and transportation costs are paid, the market aims to turn a small profit that will allow the project to operate sustainably, without reliance on grant funding.The Seed’s community markets have been awarded a Transformative Change Award from the Ontario Association of Health Centres.
The butter tart has risen to celebrity status in the last few years. There are butter tart tours, butter tart trails, but if truth be told, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. I would take a piece of pie over a butter tart any day of the week.
Alberta farms are seeing more opportunities to sell their products directly to consumers, as more people want to know where their food comes from and how it is produced.Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) has been tracking local food demand trends in various direct to consumer market channels, including on-farm retail, farmers’ markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) since 2004.“Local food sales through direct to consumer market channels have more than doubled since 2008,” says Christine Anderson, local foods specialist with AF. “We are expecting sales from this past year to reach $1.2 billion.”The Study of Local Food Demand in Alberta 2016 found that food spending at farmers’ markets, farm retail, and restaurants serving local food in Alberta exceeded $1.5 billion in that year.The 2016 Census of Agriculture included a question about farms selling food directly to consumers. It found that about five per cent, or 2,062 farms in Alberta, sold food directly to consumers, below the national average of 12.6 per cent.“That breaks down to one Alberta farm selling directly to consumers for every 1,972 Albertans,” says Anderson. “When compared to the national average of one direct to consumer farm for every 1,434 people, there is a clear opportunity for new farms to enter the direct sales market in Alberta.”Of those 2,062 Alberta farms selling directly to consumers, 35 per cent were new entrants to direct to consumer market channels. Beef cattle farms represented the highest proportion of new entrants at 21 per cent, followed by apiculture at 12 per cent, and animal combination farming at 11 per cent.More than two-thirds of the new entrants were small farms with annual sales less than $50,000, 18 per cent were medium-sized, and 10 per cent were large with sales in excess of $250,000.Most farms, or 85 per cent, sold food and products directly to consumers either at a farm gate, stand, kiosk, or U-pick operation. About 20 per cent sold their product at farmers’ markets, and six per cent through CSA.“Census data indicates that direct marketing farms yielded higher than average profitability compared to farms that did not sell directly to consumers,” explains Anderson. “The profitability ratios of some direct marketing farms were further improved if they sold value-added products through farmers’ markets or CSAs.”Farms marketing directly to consumers also showed a higher average of gross farm receipts to farm area at $442 per acre, compared to farms that did not sell directly to consumers with $349 per acre.“Direct marketing farms also revealed a higher percentage of female operators, at 38 per cent, than other types of farms, at 31 per cent,” notes Anderson. “Interestingly, Alberta has more female direct marketing farm operators than the national average, which is 36 per cent.”The data also showed that young operators who were under the age of 35 were more involved in farm direct marketing in Alberta: Nine per cent compared to eight per cent province-wide in all agriculture operations.For a more information on opportunities in direct to consumer marketing, visit Explore Local or contact Christine Anderson local foods specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
As producers across Canada continue to struggle with finding and keeping skilled labour, three innovative Canadians have partnered up to explore a highly sought-after solution – Robotics.
Women in agriculture around the world, whether in developing or developed countries, say widespread gender discrimination persists and poses obstacles to their ability to help feed the world, according to a new study from Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont.The study was released to coincide with the celebration of the International Day of Rural Women. Corteva Agriscience commissioned the 17-country study to underscore the importance of women in agriculture and to identify barriers to their full and successful participation. The study included 4,160 respondents living in both the developed and developing world on five different continents."We conducted this study to further understand the current status of women farmers around the world - from the largest farms in the most advanced economies to the smallest subsistence farms in the developing world - and to create a baseline from which we can measure progress going forward," said Krysta Harden, vice president external affairs and chief sustainability officer of Corteva Agriscience.Identifying barriers to success The survey's findings reveal that although women are overwhelmingly proud to be in agriculture, they perceive gender discrimination as widespread, ranging from 78 per cent in India to 52 per cent in the United States. Only half say they are equally successful as their male counterparts; 42 per cent say they have the same opportunities as their male counterparts, and only 38 per cent say they are empowered to make decisions about how income is used in farming and agriculture.Almost 40 per cent of the respondents reported lower income than men and less access to financing. High on the list of concerns were financial stability, the welfare of their families and achieving a work/life balance.Many said they need more training to take advantage of the agricultural technology that has become essential for financial success and environmental stewardship. This desire for training emerged as the most commonly cited need among the respondents for removing gender inequality obstacles. The numbers significantly exceeded 50 percent for all 17 countries, with Brazil, Nigeria, Kenya, Mexico and South Africa leading the way.Removing the obstaclesThe majority of women reported progress toward gender equality, but 72 per cent said it would take one to three decades or more to achieve full equality. Five key actions, according to the respondents, were identified to remove obstacles to equality: More training in technology (cited by 80 per cent) More academic education (cited by 79 per cent) More support – legal and otherwise – to help women in agriculture who experience gender discrimination (cited by 76 per cent) Raise the public's awareness of the success women are achieving in agriculture (cited by 75 per cent) Raise the public's awareness of gender discrimination in agriculture (cited by 74 per cent) "While we know women make up almost half of the world's farmers, this study validates challenges continue to persist, holding back not only the women in agriculture but also the people who depend on them: their families, their communities, and the societies. Identifying the existence of these challenges is the first step in removing obstacles for rural women farmers to achieve their full potential," Harden said.
Protecting fruit crops from birds and other predators has never been easy. Scarecrows, reflective tape, netting, shotguns, propane-powered bangers and other audible bird scare devices, as well as traps and falcons, number among the most popular tools at growers’ disposal.
University of Florida scientists plan to use a $7.3 million, four-year grant to find the genetic traits that will make sweet corn taste even better, last longer and grow better.Mark Settles, a professor of horticultural sciences at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, will lead the project. UF/IFAS researchers will also get help from scientists at Iowa State University, the University of Wisconsin, Washington State University and the USDA to conduct the study.“What we want to do is find those genes that make sweet corn a tasty vegetable and be able to then use those genes in traditional breeding,” Settles said.For example, researchers hope to boost the sugar levels of sweet corn.“It’s a really popular vegetable. But there have been few game-changing innovations that would boost the taste and yield of sweet corn.”Fewer than 14 per cent of American adults consume the USDA recommended amount of vegetables for a healthy diet, and overall, fruit and vegetable consumption is declining in the U.S., Settles said.“As the fifth most popular vegetable in America, sweet corn is no exception to this trend,” he said. “However, demand for fresh market and frozen corn is increasing, relative to canned corn, and breeders need to be able to provide the best sweet corn seed possible.“Both fresh and processed sweet corn must meet consumer desires for taste, appearance and convenience,” Settles said. “Many quality traits are best addressed through the genetics of sweet corn varieties.”Through test panels run by Sims, researchers will find out tastes, aroma and texture that consumers like. As study participants sample the corn, they’ll also tell how much they’d be willing to pay for it, which makes up the economics portion of the research, Settles said.To get started on finding the best genetic traits, scientists will screen existing sweet corn seeds to find genes that, among other things, help corn grow right after planting, Settles said. This will be particularly helpful for organic farmers, he said.They also hope to try to beat back any pests.Lastly, scientists seek genetic traits that make corn last longer on grocery store shelves and requires less pesticide use, Settles said.“We also want to make corn taste good for longer,” he said.
A University of Florida scientist will lead a team of researchers trying to help battle Fusarium wilt, a major tomato disease around the world.Sam Hutton, an associate professor of horticultural sciences at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, will use a new $490,000 federal grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to find ways to develop improved varieties that contain genes to help tomatoes thwart Fusarium wilt.Resistance to one type of Fusarium wilt comes from a gene known as I-3, said Hutton, a faculty member at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Florida. Several years ago, UF/IFAS researchers found this gene in wild tomato relatives and introduced it into commercial varieties through traditional breeding, he said.But while the I-3 gene makes tomatoes more resistant to Fusarium wilt, it also reduces fruit size and increases the potential for bacterial spot disease, Hutton said.“We are conducting the study to remedy this situation,” he said. “Less bacterial spot and larger fruit size should both translate into better returns for the grower.”Hutton wants to know whether the negative impacts that come with the I-3 gene stem from genes that tagged along from the wild tomato relative.“If this is the case, we should be able to eliminate these problems by getting rid of those extra genes by whittling down the size of chromosome that came from the wild species,” Hutton said. “Plants that lack the negative genes will be developed using traditional breeding techniques, and simple molecular genetic tools will help us identify which individuals to keep.”In the project, scientists also are looking again to tomato’s wild relatives, searching for new sources of resistance to Fusarium wilt.“These new resistance genes may not have any of the problems that we currently see with I-3,” Hutton said. “And they may provide novel mechanisms of disease resistance that could further improve breeding efforts.“We expect these efforts to result in an expanded toolkit of resources that can be leveraged to develop improved Fusarium wilt-resistant varieties,” he said.
The word “riparian” refers to the place where streams meet land. This important intersection controls a lot of processes – especially with regard to water quality. Human use of land near streams can negatively impact the purity of the water. And, the aquatic ecosystem is important to overall environmental health. A variety of plant and animal life call these streams their home. Creating strips of vegetation, called buffer strips, is something that scientists have found helps protect these aquatic systems.“Riparian buffer strips” is the technical term that agronomists use to refer to buffer strips on the edge of farm fields. This technique had long been used in Southern Europe for agricultural land. During the 1960s, scientists studied the benefits of leaving riparian buffer strips on the forest land. In the Pacific Northwest industrial forestry was expanding. Riparian buffer strips were found to protect salmon populations from forest harvesting activities. Soon enough, riparian buffers became the primary tool for protecting freshwater ecosystems.Riparian buffer strips can be used for industrial, residential, or even agricultural use.A few of the benefits of riparian buffer strips are: reduce sediment loss from upslope terrain; provide shade and moderate temperature; maintain bank stability; recharge groundwater; protect aquatic habitat; provide wildlife habitat; and, enhance nutrient uptake. Since the 1960s, they have only grown in popularity. As a tool to manage and protect freshwater resources, they are relatively easy to administer and operate. Many states provide resources and financial incentives to support landowners build or restore buffers.How are riparian buffer strips built or maintained? A riparian buffer is usually made up of three zones with the first zone at the water’s edge. Zones two and three move further inland. Each zone has a different width and mixture of plants that depends on the size of the water body, and the desired functions of the buffer. Each zone of the riparian buffers protect freshwater ecosystems in different ways.Zone one usually gets planted with large trees and shrubs. Tree and shrub roots promote bank stability. Even the leaves of the trees can slow down the flow of a heavy rainfall onto the soil. This helps prevent erosion of the soil. Not only is it important to keep the soil where it is, it’s important to keep the soil out of the streams. The leaf canopy provides shade for the much of the riparian area. This shade in this zone can keep the water temperature cooler for fish. Falling leaves and branches provide organic materials for the stream. They even provide resources for animals that live near streams, like beavers (to read more on that, visit here https://www.soils.org/discover-soils/story/beavers-take-chunk-out-nitrogen-northeast-rivers). Trees also provide a habitat for insects that fish feed on, and provide nesting areas for birds. Plants in zone one need to be very tolerant to wet conditions.The second zone is usually a managed forest or a mixed forest shrub land. Zone two is usually planted with native shrubs and small trees like American holly, inkberry, persimmon, and gray dogwood. Tree roots in this zone can slow down water flow from human land use. This improves the flow of water back to groundwater sources, instead of into the stream. The trees also use many of the nutrients that are running off agricultural land. This reduces the amount of nutrients that get to the stream.Zone three is furthest away from the water source, right next to the human use (besides agricultural land, it could be an urban area, parking lot, or even an industrial site.) Zone three is planted with grassland or a mix of grassland and wild flowers. If you’re in a residential or urban area, this area can even be a garden. Zone three also contributes to slowing down nutrient runoff and trapping sediment. This zone can attract many beautiful species of birds, butterflies, and moths on to your landscape.There are many technical aspects to the design of a riparian buffer zone which depends on what the aquatic ecosystem needs. A few examples of these technical details include determining: the width of the buffer strip; what the land use is adjacent to your property; the slope of the land; soil conditions; current stream health; and, creation of corridors to connect habitat for wildlife. There are many programs to help both farmers and residential landowners design a riparian buffer project. Given the range of benefits a riparian buffer can provide, I think it’s probably pretty easy to find a riparian buffer project near you.
Canada currently imports millions of dollars’ worth of seed every year, despite mild winters in the southwest of B.C. that position the province as a viable climate for seed production.
A recent survey from the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity reveals that most Canadians are disconnected from the people who grow their food and how it is grown. Perceptions of farming are often outdated, inaccurate and cliched. In fact, 93 per cent of Canadians say they know little-to-nothing about farming.
Woodstock, Ont – Brothers Jordan and Alex McKay were named Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2018. The brother team operates Willow Tree Farm, a community supported agriculture [CSA] farm and market, at Port Perry, Ont. The winners were announced at the Ontario regional event held on September 11, 2018, in conjunction with Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock. Alex received his Bachelor of Science in Forestry but always knew he wanted to go back to the family farm. He had inherited his passion for the land and seeing what he could grow on it from his dad. Once Jordan completed his Bachelor of Commerce in Ag Business degree, he travelled the world following his passion for skiing before returning to the farm market. Jordan had his mom’s passion for selling produce at farmers’ markets so the brothers’ strengths complement each other well. With a mission of providing fresh food by sustainable farming, Willow Tree Farm takes local farm fresh food to a whole new level. In 2016, they opened a year round market that includes a commercial kitchen, fresh butcher market and 4,300 sq. ft. of retail space. With the market open year round, Jordan and Alex have to come up with many unique ways to sell or use their produce, whether it is fresh corn on the cob in the summer or corn chowder at the cafe in the winter. They have designed the market to tell a story about buying food locally, decorating it with beams from surrounding old barns. Being a family business, you will find Jordan’s wife Alyson and Alex’s wife Kelty working at the market. The other nominees recognized were Derek and Marie Brouwer of Brouwer Farms, Branchton, Ont; and Darold and Kara Enright of Enright Cattle Company, Tweed, Ont. Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2018 will be chosen at the National Event in Winnipeg, Man, from November 29 – December 3, 2018.
Doug Alexander, director of engineering with Ippolito Fruit and Produce, will serve another year as chair of the Agri-Food Management Institute (AMI).He is joined on the AMI executive committee by vice chair Laurie Nicol, recently retired as executive director of the Ontario Independent Meat Processors, and secretary/treasurer Jean-Marc Beneteau, a southwestern Ontario grains and oilseed grower. They were re-elected to their positions at the organization’s annual meeting in Guelph.“I look forward to leading this dynamic group for another year as we continue to build awareness around the importance of business management in both agricultural and food businesses in Ontario,” says Alexander. “There is tremendous benefit that farmers and processors can realize in their operations through business management and planning, and AMI is here to help facilitate and encourage those activities in the Ontario food and agriculture industry.”Also serving as AMI board directors for another year are Peter Henderson, managing director of Toronto-based consultancy Ideovation; Jim Gracie, president of Wheatley-based Presteve Foods; Ed Verkley, chair of the Poultry Industry Council; Sara Mann, an associate professor in strategic human resource management and organizational behaviour at the University of Guelph; Andrea Gal, managing editor of Better Farming, Better Pork and Farms.com, and Chris Hiemstra, an agri-tourism operator and beekeeper who is also vice chair of the Agricultural Adaptation Council.The annual meeting included highlights of AMI accomplishments over the past year. The organization ran three cohorts of its flagship Advanced Farm Management Program, three farm tax and business seminars for farm advisors, a food entrepreneurs conference in eastern Ontario, a Transition Smart workshop in Wellington County and a pilot of its new Building Your Food Business Program.In partnership with the Ontario Apple Growers, AMI delivered Ontario Apple Academy 2.0, and together with Farm & Food Care Ontario, ran two business planning workshops in Eastern Ontario. The organization was also a principal supporter of the Agricultural Excellence Conference last fall.New resources released in the past year included a New Entrant to Farming business planning resource, a Selling Beyond the Farm Gate training program, and a white paper on barriers to scaling up for small and medium enterprises in food and beverage processing called The Food Entrepreneur’s Journey.“We work hard to deliver programming and resources for various audiences, from beginning farmers to new food entrepreneurs to established farm and food businesses,” says AMI executive director Ashley Honsberger. “Research has shown that business management activities can help every business be stronger and more profitable, and AMI is proud to play a leading role in facilitating that potential.”
Lynden-area vegetable grower Ken Forth will receive an honorary degree from the University of Guelph’s College of Business and Economics. Forth is being recognized for the profound impact he has had on the Canadian fruit and vegetable industry and on the lives of thousands of families across Mexico and the Caribbean over the course of his farming career.For 49 years, Forth has been directly involved with the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), and were it not for his work on labour issues on behalf of Canadian growers from coast to coast, Canadians would be hard-pressed to find fresh, locally grown produce on their store shelves. The program has also directly improved the standard of living of thousands of seasonal workers, allowing them to educate their children, and buy and operate their own farms and businesses in their home countries.“This is a tremendous and very unexpected honour,” says Forth. “This kind of work doesn’t happen alone – I’ve been fortunate to have the help and support of many great people over the years, from fellow growers to farm organization staff, and none of this would have been possible without them.”It’s through his involvement with many provincial and national organizations and committees that Forth represents the industry’s interests on everything from NAFTA and SAWP to minimum wage, labour regulations and unionization of agricultural workers.Forth has served on the board of Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (FARMS), the organization that administers SAWP, for more than 25 years, and assumed his current role as president more than a decade ago.He’s a past president of the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA), and is the long-serving chair of the labour and trade committees at both organizations. Forth also volunteers his time with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council, and is the chair of the Labour Issues Coordinating Committee that represents the interests of Ontario farm employers.“Our fruit and vegetable industry in Canada would not be what it is today without Ken’s tireless dedication to labour issues,” says OFVGA chair Jan VanderHout. “This work takes a lot of time on the road and away from farm and family and it’s almost always behind the scenes, but Ken has had an impact on every single grower in this country and we appreciate his service to our industry.”Forth was nominated for the honorary degree by University of Guelph associate professor Dr. Sara Mann, whose current research includes examining employment issues in the agricultural and rural sectors. He will formally receive his degree at a ceremony at the University of Guelph next spring.
Less than five per cent of family businesses make it to the fourth generation but the Davison family did just that.Davison Orchards has been growing apples since 1933. This year they celebrate 85 years and four generations of family farming in Vernon, B.C.Bob Davison is the eldest of the three generations currently working on the farm. His uncle Tom began the business after emigrating from England after the First World War in the hopes of a more prosperous future. The family realized their dream of owning their own orchard in the Okanagan in 1933. Bob began working in the orchard with his uncle in 1948. He was 17 at the time and still works at the family orchard today. | READ MORE
Researchers at the Fort Valley State University have been working to develop a robotic solution for monitoring and spraying peach orchards.
Canadians clearly love having fresh local strawberries several times a year and Canada’s day-neutral strawberry industry is growing to meet the demand.
Cornell University’s berry breeding program is releasing two new varieties, which will be available for planting in spring 2019: a strawberry, Dickens, and a raspberry, Crimson Treasure. Both varieties produce large fruits with vibrant colors that maintain peak flavor for longer than most heritage varieties.The new berries are the handiwork of berry breeder Courtney Weber, associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences based at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, New York.Dickens is a traditional, June-bearing strawberry with high yields and bright red fruit that continues bearing late into the season. The berries are firm, so they hold well on the plant and in the container, Weber said, but not so firm that they have no flavor.The Dickens strawberry was first discovered in Weber’s breeding fields in 2002 and was originally noticed for the plant’s hardiness in surviving cold winters, making it especially suitable for New York and other cold-winter climates. Production trials throughout the region have shown Dickens to be an adaptable and consistent producer of high-quality fruit.Weber has named his strawberry varieties after his favorite authors, including L’Amour, Clancy, Herriot, Walker and, most recently, Archer. Because this newest berry “yields like the dickens,” Weber decided to name it after prolific English author Charles Dickens.The new raspberry, Crimson Treasure, is also very high-yielding, with larger fruit than traditional varieties grown in the region. The well-known Heritage raspberry produces fruit of approximately 2.5 grams, while Crimson Treasure produces berries twice as large – averaging between 4 to 6 grams. That’s typical of what you see with supermarket raspberries, Weber said.Crimson Treasure is a fall-bearing raspberry with bright-red fruit that holds its color and texture well in storage.The name continues another Weber tradition. This is the third raspberry in the “Crimson” series. Two previously released raspberries were named Crimson Giant and Crimson Night.Cornell’s berry breeding program is the oldest in the country and is the only one in the Northeastern U.S. The university’s berries are grown all over the world: Crimson Treasure has been planted in trials in New York, California, Mexico and the European Union. The berry program works with commercial partners across North America, in Morocco, Spain and Portugal. Heritage, the most commonly grown raspberry variety in Chile, was developed at Cornell, and two Cornell raspberry varieties, Crimson Night and Double Gold, are under license in Japan.
Geneva, NY – The newest offering from Cornell University’s grape breeders is a fruit that’s big, bold and comes with a towering history. Those factors led the grape’s breeders to name the new variety Everest Seedless, a nod to the celebrated Nepalese mountain, said Bruce Reisch, professor of horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and grape breeder with Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, NY. “We were looking to develop very flavorful grapes with large berries and large clusters, and we’ve achieved that with Everest Seedless,” Reisch said. The new variety is a cold-tolerant, blue-coloured Concord-type, with berries that weigh up to 7 grams – roughly twice the size of the traditional Concord. It is also the first truly seedless Concord-type grape ever released. It’s intended as a table grape – meant primarily for eating fresh, rather than using for jams, juice or wine, as most American Concords are used. “Everest is one of the largest mountains in the world, and this is one very large grape,” Reisch said. “With its formidable ancestry and big flavour, we feel this variety can live up to its name.” The grape is tolerant of midwinter temperatures as low as 10 to 15 below zero Fahrenheit, making it suitable for most of the grape-growing regions in New York. It’s moderately resistant to downy mildew and powdery mildew, the most troublesome grape diseases in the Northeast. Insects don’t seem to bother these grapes, according to Reisch, who said the variety has thrived in research vineyards where insecticides are not applied, but insects could be a problem at other locations. Because the grapes are relatively easy to grow and produce large, flavourful, seedless berries, Reisch predicts they will become popular with home gardeners as well as professional growers. Everest Seedless is being exclusively licensed in the U.S. to Double A Vineyards of Fredonia, NY, for 10 years, and vines can be purchased from them starting this fall.
A group of Canadian apple researchers, growers and marketers have joined forces to give one of Canada’s oldest and most famous fruit crops some new crunch in the marketplace.Members of the National Apple Breeding Consortium say advances in the science of apple breeding and more efficient orchard designs are making it possible to bring new varieties more quickly to market to capitalize on consumer interest in apples with unique tastes and textures, while giving growers varieties that are more resistant to disease and insects.Premium varieties like Gala, Honeycrisp and Ambrosia and high-density orchards helped the Canadian apple industry post its first increase in acreage in decades in 2016.Taking a page from wine grapes, the consortium believes more regions of Canada could become renowned for their own unique apple varieties."It’s not necessarily about creating a new apple that can be grown across the country. It’s about finding that variety and that local growing environment that together produce a quality that you won’t find anywhere else," says Joyce Boye, science director for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s research centres in Agassiz and Summerland in British Columbia.The consortium was created late last year to streamline apple development in Canada and boost returns to the industry and increase consumer satisfaction."The consortium allows key players in Canadian apple breeding to work more closely together and that’s a win-win for all involved," says Brian Gilroy, president of the Canadian Horticultural Council and an apple grower himself.Genome Atlantic, Genome BC and Ontario Genomics also helped drive the creation of the consortium. The associations encourage the combination of biology, genetics and computer science to create economic opportunities in the resource and health sectors."Over the last three years, Genome Atlantic has been working hard with all the stakeholders to develop this consortium, and we are very pleased that it is now in place," says Richard Donald, a business development associate with Genome Atlantic. "With everyone pulling together, research will be shared across Canada, accelerating the development of new apple varieties suited to different regions of the country."In the past, it took up to 25 years to develop a new apple variety and orchards were dominated by large trees that were difficult to pick. Today, gene sequencing is allowing apple breeders to find and select the traits they want much more quickly.At the same time, growers are increasingly turning to high-density orchards featuring dwarf trees that are much easier to harvest.Consortium members include Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dalhousie University, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Summerland Varieties Corporation, Réseau d’essais de cultivars et porte-greffes de pommiers du Quebec, and the Canadian Horticultural Council. Also represented are a number of major grower associations, including the Ontario Apple Growers Association, the BC Fruit Growers Association, Les Producteurs de pommes du Quebec and Scotian Gold Cooperative Ltd.
Publication 360, Fruit Crop Protection Guide 2018-2019 is now available as a downloadable pdf file, through the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) website at the following links: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/pub360/p360toc.htm http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/french/crops/pub360/p360toc.htm  Individual chapters will be made available on the OMAFRA website soon. There will only be a limited number of copies of the print version of Publication 360 available through Service Ontario.
The corn salvage benefit for 2018 covers cases where DON (deoxynivalenol) levels in harvested corn exceed five parts per million (5 ppm). The benefit is designed to help producers cover costs to harvest and then market, use as feed or find an alternative use for damaged corn.
Soil advocates want potato growers to bump soil management up their priority list.
Research at the James Hutton Institute has led to the discovery of genetic variations which can help protect potato crop yields at high temperature, potentially providing potato breeders with a valuable tool in their quest to create varieties resilient to heat stress and suited to the requirements of growers, industry and retailers.
Some relationships can be complicated. Take the one between sweet potato crops and soil nitrogen, for example.
Late blight has been confirmed on potatoes near Alliston, Ont.
Cavendish Farms recently announced that they will be focusing on the frozen potato processing business on Prince Edward Island due to the limited availability of raw product.

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