Canada
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.

The decision will result in the closure of their fresh produce packaging facility in O’Leary, Prince Edward Island at the end of the year. The closure will affect 40 employees.

“Cavendish Farms has had to make this difficult business decision based on ongoing demand, and limited availability of potatoes on the Island,” said Ron Clow, general manager, Cavendish Farms. “The supply of raw product is critical to our business. Cavendish Farms had to make up for a shortage of 150 Million lbs. of potatoes in 2017. As a result, we needed to find other sources on the Island as well as import potatoes from New Brunswick, Manitoba, Alberta and Maine. Plans are already in place to import 65M lbs. this year. This practice is not sustainable. There simply aren’t enough potatoes on PEI for both our lines of business.”

“Our human resources team will be providing support to all impacted employees by helping with new assignments, assistance to find other positions across J.D. Irving or with post-employment support once operations cease. We are making every effort to assist impacted employees,” added Clow. “This is an unfortunate consequence of low yields and lack of raw potatoes on PEI.”

“Our contracted potatoes will be used to supply our frozen potato processing plants in New Annan,” said Clow. “We will continue to use the O’Leary facility for raw potato storage and, as such, it will continue to provide some seasonal employment.”

If farmers are not able to grow more potatoes (by increasing yields, not acres) then the Prince Edward Island industry may not be sustainable as competition in the frozen potato export market intensifies. The PEI industry will require supplemental irrigation as part of the solution. The Island cannot afford to have its largest export product entirely dependent on rainfall.
Published in Vegetables
The Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) is pleased to welcome Gabrielle Ferguson as the new leadership programs director.

In this new position, Ferguson will be directly responsible for managing ROI’s long-running Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program, and continuing to develop the organization’s other leadership program offerings. Ferguson will also be instrumental in maintaining and creating sponsor relationships for current and future programs.

Ferguson comes to ROI with over 25 years’ experience in both industry and government, having worked with organizations such as the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Cargill, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the University of Guelph.

She is also a graduate of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (Class 15). Ferguson lives on a cash-crop farm in Lambton County and is passionate about promoting a greater understanding between agriculture and the public.

Chief Executive Officer Norm Ragetlie is delighted that Ferguson has joined the team and says, “Gabe’s arrival will give us a chance to take a fresh look at our leadership programming offerings. Gabe brings a wealth of ag sector relationships to this job which we will build upon to ensure the needs of the sector are being met.”

Ferguson is expected to begin her position with the organization in September.

“I’m excited to support leadership development in the ag sector and rural communities,” Ferguson says. “I’m looking forward to this new role and engaging with industry stakeholders to explore existing and new opportunities for leadership programming.”

The Rural Ontario Institute is a non-profit organization committed to developing leaders and facilitating collaboration on issues and opportunities facing rural and northern Ontario. More information is available at www.ruralontarioinstitute.ca/.
Published in Companies
In addition to the bronze medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards, held in London, for the 2011 Brut Réserve won earlier this year, Blomidon Estate Winery has received two Bronze Medals at the WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada for their 2014 Blanc de Noirs and 2010 Blanc de Blancs, and also a 2018 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Nova Scotia Wines for the 2010 Blanc de Blancs.

“Receiving these awards locally, from across the country, and also internationally is a great testament to our winery team and wine program,” says winemaker, Simon Rafuse. “It’s important for us as a benchmark, and it’s very gratifying to be rewarded for the hard work we try to do, placing Nova Scotia on the world wine map.”

The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Nova Scotia Wines was established in 2014 to honour the outstanding achievements of Nova Scotia’s flourishing wine industry. That inaugural year Blomidon Estate Winery was bestowed the very same award for their sparkling 2010 Cuvée L’Acadie.

The National Wine Awards of Canada (NWAC) is held annually as a showcase of the best wines from across the country. In 2018, over 1,850 wines from 257 wineries were entered into the NWAC, making this the largest and most comprehensive wine competition in Canadian history. In 2015 and 2016 Blomidon Estate Winery received Gold Medals for two of their sparkling wines, as well as two silvers and one bronze medal in 2017.

The Decanter World Wine Awards is the world’s largest and most influential wine competition annually held in London. This year 16,903 wines from around the world were tasted, judged by top wine experts from around the globe. In 2017 Blomidon Estate Winery received two silver medals along with a bronze for their wines.
Published in Companies
After another strong financial performance in 2017-18, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has renewed its commitment to support growth and innovation in Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry.

“Agriculture and agri-food remains one of the strongest and most vibrant sectors in Canada’s economy,” said FCC president and CEO Michael Hoffort, in releasing the federal Crown corporation’s annual report . “FCC had record demand for financing this past year as producers and agriculture business operators continue to invest in the industry by expanding their businesses, building new facilities and adopting technologies to increase their efficiency.”

In 2017-18, FCC grew its portfolio by 8.4 per cent to $33.9 billion, including $3.3 billion in new lending to young farmers. FCC also increased lending in the agri-food and agribusiness sector, supporting young entrepreneurs and helping business operators become leaders in job creation and innovation.

“Innovation spurs increased productivity and competitiveness,” Hoffort said. “We understand the needs of our customers across the agriculture value chain, from primary producers to the agribusiness and agri-food companies that create value-added products for Canadian and global markets.”

Looking ahead, FCC has set its sights on advancing its public policy role by contributing to a more sustainable and inclusive agriculture and agri-food industry. The federal Crown corporation is launching initiatives to advance mental health awareness in agriculture, developing financing and business support for women entrepreneurs, and exploring ways to involve more indigenous people and communities in the industry.

“By helping primary producers and agri-food operators achieve their full potential, FCC is enabling the industry to create more opportunities for a broader range of people who can bring fresh ideas and new energy to Canadian agriculture and agri-food,” Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay said. “At the same time, FCC is contributing to our government’s ambitious goal of increasing agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025.”

In 2017-18, FCC support programs were provided last year for Ontario and Quebec customers impacted by excessive moisture and, more recently, New Brunswick and Quebec maple syrup producers and Maritimes fruit and vegetable producers impacted by unfavorable weather this spring.

FCC also gave back almost $4 million through community investment initiatives, launched the Ignite summit for young farmers, offered a wide range of Ag Knowledge Exchange learning events attracting more than 15,000 participants and raised an equivalent of 7.2 million meals in conjunction with its like-minded partners through the FCC Drive Away Hunger tour in support of food banks across Canada. It also continues to support groups, such as 4-H Canada, Ag in the Classroom, the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, STARS air ambulance service and numerous industry associations.

“Our role goes well beyond loan transactions,” Hoffort said. “We look forward to continuing our support for young and new entrants, enabling intergenerational transfers of family farms and supporting the growth of our customers and the industry.”

Other 2017-18 financial highlights include:
  • Net income of $669.9 million, to be reinvested in agriculture through funding new loans and developing agriculture knowledge, products and services for customers.
  • A dividend of $308.3 million paid by FCC to the Government of Canada.
  • A healthy loan portfolio with the allowance for credit losses remaining steady, reflecting a strong and vibrant industry.
  • Strong debt-to-equity and total capital ratios, indicating continued financial strength and an ongoing ability to serve the agriculture and agri-food industry.
A full copy of the report can be found at www.fcc.ca/annualreport
Published in Companies
Nematodes are pests that you need to keep an eye on in order to ensure the productivity of market garden crops. Several species are considered parasites of fruits and vegetables. Various types of nematicides have been used in the past to eliminate and/or control the spread of nematodes. Since the 1970s, these nematicides have been phased out of commercial use. The last fumigant nematicide was withdrawn over the last five years. Over time, it became apparent that they were not safe for users or for the environment.

Consequently, it became important to develop alternative nematode control methods for producers of market garden crops. The researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guy Bélair (retired) and Benjamin Mimee (a nematologist currently working in this field), are dedicated to the development of nematode control methods, for example through integrated pest management measures. This approach relies on a combination of cultural methods used in conjunction to reduce the density of nematodes in fields in order to minimize crop damage.

The research experiments conducted by Mr. Bélair provided conclusive results concerning the most effective integrated pest management methods, in particular against endoparasitic nematodes. Because this type of nematode is an internal plant parasite, it prevents the plant from absorbing water and nutrients from the soil, which are necessary for optimal plant growth. This class of nematodes causes the greatest economic damage. There are three species of endoparasitic nematodes: the root-knot nematode, the lesion nematode, and the stem and bulb nematode.

According to researcher Bélair, the following is a summary of the most important facts to remember in integrated pest management.

Root-knot nematode
Learn more about it: Eggs are laid outside the root in a gelatinous mass. The second-stage larva (or infectious larva) is the only stage found in the soil. All the other stages are inside the root. Abundant rootlets (hairy roots) and whitish nodules on the rootlets. In carrot, significant deformation of the primary root. Complete development cycle: four to six weeks.

Main market garden crops affected: carrot, celery, lettuce, tomato, potato, leek, Brassicaceae (broccoli, cabbage, turnip) and Cucurbitaceae (melon, cucumber).

Best practice: To effectively and significantly reduce root-knot nematode populations, practise crop rotation with a grain at least every three to four years, since this type of nematode does not attack any grains. If the infestation is too heavy, two years of grains may be necessary. One year of onion followed by one year of grain has proven to be very effective in controlling nematode populations and increasing carrot yields by more than 50 per cent the following year.

Other integrated pest management approaches:
  • Fast-growing crops (spinach, radish): control by trapping, since the harvest will have taken place before the nematode has had time to multiply in the roots.
  • Weed control on the edges and in the fields since weeds are excellent host plants for this nematode.
  • Oriental mustard seed-based organic product registered in Canada for strawberry and cranberry.
Lesion nematode
Learn more about it: All the stages of development except the egg can infect a root and are found in the soil. The entire development cycle takes place inside the root. By moving within the root, the nematode causes injuries or lesions, allowing certain pathogenic fungi to enter the plants. Complete development cycle: Four to six weeks.

Main crops affected: potato, legumes, grains (rye, barley, oat, wheat), market garden crops.

Best practice: A rotation with forage pearl millet reduces populations to below the damage threshold for several crops (potato, strawberry, raspberry, corn, apple tree, soybean). Sow millet in early June since it prefers a hot climate. If sown too early in the spring in wet, cool soil, it will not germinate well and will be quickly invaded and smothered by the growth of annual grasses.

Based on our research between 2000 and 2006, we can conclude that, for potato, this type of rotation increased yields by 15 per cent to 35 per cent, depending on the density of the initial lesion nematode population.

Other integrated pest management approaches:
  • Weed control on the edges and in the fields since weeds are excellent host plants.
  • Oriental mustard seed-based organic product.
  • Manure- and/or compost-based soil amendments.
  • Green manures from crucifers with high glucosinolate contents (including brown mustard).
Stem and bulb nematode
Learn more about it: Unlike the other nematodes, this nematode does not affect the roots, but only the above-ground part of the plants (the stems). This endoparasitic nematode causes very significant damage in garlic crops. Through cryptobiosis (dehydration and dormancy), this nematode can survive in a field for four to five years without the presence of host plants. It is spread through contaminated plants and seeds.

Our greenhouse trials demonstrated that this nematode reproduces well on garlic and onion, poorly on potato, and not at all on corn, soybean, barley, alfalfa, mustard, carrot and lettuce.

Main market garden crops affected:
Bulb race: garlic, onion, pea, strawberry, sugar beet.
Oat race: rye, corn and oat, and most grains.
Best practice: For producers, it is essential to use clean, i.e. nematode-free, plants or seeds.

Other integrated pest management approaches:
  • Based on genetic analyses of specimens from Quebec and Ontario, we can conclude that it is the same race. The integrated pest management methods used in Ontario can therefore also be used in Quebec.
  • Garlic: hot water treatment to kill nematodes present in the cloves (study under way with agrologists from MAPAQ).
Plant in nematode-free soil. A rotation of four to five years without host plants is a good method for getting rid of stem and bulb nematodes.

Key discoveries (benefits):
  • Since the 1970s, many nematicides used to control nematodes have been phased out of commercial use. It became important to develop alternative nematode control methods for producers of market garden crops.
  • Guy Bélair, a researcher at the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu R&D Centre, has studied the most effective integrated pest management methods against endoparasitic nematodes, those that cause the most economic damage. These nematodes are internal plant parasites which prevent the plant from absorbing water and nutrients from the soil, necessary for optimal plant growth.
  • This article presents a summary of the most effective integrated pest management practices for the three species of endoparasitic nematodes, i.e. the root-knot nematode, the lesion nematode, and the stem and bulb nematode.
Published in Vegetables
The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC)’s Board of Directors recently welcomed industry and government representatives on their summer tour of several berry and vegetable farms, as well as an apple orchard near Quebec City.

Most notably, the group was joined by MP Jean-Claude Poissant, Parliamentary Secretary for agriculture, and MP Luc Berthold, Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.

CHC was also pleased to host representatives from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Pest Management Centre, the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec, CropLife Canada, Farm Credit Canada, the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation, l’Association des producteurs maraîchers du Quebec, l’Association des producteurs de pommes de terre du Québec, and Lassonde.

Throughout the day, key topics of discussion centered on labour, small business tax deductions, and crop protection issues.

At each location, group participants also learned directly from the farmers about the kinds of innovative practices that are being implemented in their operations. | READ MORE 
Published in Federal
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency recently announced that it will be cancelling the use of the group M3 chemicals mancozeb and metiram in a wide range of crops, including field tomatoes.

In 2020 products like Manzate, Penncozeb, Dithane and Polyram will no longer be available for sale and in 2021 use will be banned completely. This will ultimately have an effect on how we control diseases, including anthracnose, early blight and, most importantly, late blight. Although mancozeb is currently an important player in fungicide programs, tomato growers do have other options available.

For best control it is always good to start with preventative or protectant fungicides once environmental conditions are conducive to disease development and before symptoms appear. | READ MORE
Published in Diseases
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.
Published in Profiles
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
Published in Marketing
On July 4, CanadaGAP program participants received notice that the annual program fee for participants enrolled in certification options A1 and A2 (four-year audit cycle) will increase to $600 (CAD), effective September 1, 2018. If program participants are paying in US funds, the CanadaGAP annual program fee for these options will increase to $500 USD.

The increase will be reflected the next time program participants are invoiced by CanadaGAP on the anniversary of their enrolment.

The increase in the annual program fee for Options A1 and A2 is necessary to cover growing costs related to administration and oversight, including the fees billed to CanadaGAP by the certification bodies for review of self-assessments and for surveillance (i.e. random audits).

The fee increase will be phased in over the next year, starting with invoices dated September 1, 2018. The timing of the increase coincides with the original launch date of the CanadaGAP program ten years ago, on September 1, 2008, not with the calendar year. If program participants are not due to be invoiced until September 1 or later, please note that the annual program fee cannot be prepaid at the $525 rate. Program participants will pay the amount indicated when they receive their invoice.

"The CanadaGAP program is owned and operated by a not-for-profit corporation, CanAgPlus, which maintains a commitment to stability, fairness, and responsible fiscal management," notes Jack Bates, chair of the board of directors for CanAgPlus. "The fees charged to program participants reflect only the amount necessary to cover the cost of delivery and to maintain program rigour and integrity."

If you have any questions or require additional information, contact the CanadaGAP office at 613-829-4711 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Published in Associations
Canada's AgGrowth coalition and our members believe it is critical to continue the Business Risk Management (BRM) review with a comprehensive mandate, and encourage the Federal Provincial Territorial (FPT) Agriculture Ministers to extend the review process without delay.

In summer of 2017, the FPT Agriculture Ministers initiated a review of the BRM programming in response to concerns that BRM programming did not meet farmer's needs. The review is not complete, and more work needs to be done to achieve a complete picture of gaps in the BRM suite and identify solutions.

"We urge Canada's Agriculture Ministers to extend the BRM review process under the guidance of a new steering committee, including more participation from our farming organizations." said Mark Brock, chair, AgGrowth Coalition. "This will help ensure that BRM programing is more effective at managing risk for producers on the farm."

The External Advisory Panel, established to advise on the BRM review, will be submitting recommendations to the FPT Ministers this July in Vancouver. AgGrowth encourages the FPT Ministers to support their work to find solutions for farmers. The AgGrowth Coalition supports the work of the External Advisory Panel (EAP).

"The Canadian agri-food sector has great potential - it is a strategic national asset," said Jeff Nielson, vice chair, AgGrowth Coalition. "There are many opportunities for growth, but they come at a time with increased volatility and risk. Canadian farmers need a suite of BRM programs that they can use to effectively manage risk so they seize these opportunities."

AgGrowth Coalition was established by farmers to advocate for a comprehensive reform of risk management programming. The agriculture sector wants to continue to work in partnership with governments across the country to establish the right policies and programs to better reflect modern farming needs in Canada.
Published in Federal

Shipping cherries overseas is a high stakes game – every container carries approximately $100,000 of fruit. International consumers are becoming increasingly picky and buyers will only accept high quality cherries at port. Growers and packers are making it a top priority to ensure cherries make the journey in top form, impressing both international buyers and consumers.

Fortunately, advances in science are making it possible to measure cherries’ quality while they are still hanging on the tree, without damaging any in the process.

A team of researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Summerland is working with mobile hand-held optical spectrometers to develop models to precisely gauge the quality of cherries, and predict their firmness and flavour after storage or shipping.

The research team 
Dr. Peter Toivonen leads the Postharvest Physiology program at AAFC’s Summerland Research and Development Centre, which includes research technician Brenda Lannard and biologist Changwen Lu.

Together, they are fine-tuning models using specific commercial spectrometers to make this technology useful for Canadian cherry producers.

The team is determining the best values for fruit quality and storability for cherry varieties, including Lapins, Staccato, Sweetheart and many others that are grown commercially.

The work includes fine-tuning and expanding the use of the technology by developing specific protocols for working under a variety of conditions while ensuring consistent and meaningful readings.

The team is also working to identify any limitations to the technology before transferring it to end-users. As with other technologies, users – most likely skilled quality assurance or field service staff – will need training before putting these devices to work in the field. Working with industry to properly implement the technology will be the key to success.

What is the impact to growers?
Using hand-held spectrometers, in combination with knowledge generated from Dr. Toivonen’s research, will give cherry growers precise data on their crop’s ‘best before’ date.

“Being able to reliably measure the maturity and quality of cherries, without sacrificing any of that crop to sampling, will save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on container shipment claims for the industry,” estimates Dr. Toivonen.

Consumers’ expectations are high and if Canadian growers can improve their reputation for consistent high quality and flavour, the industry will benefit. Growers could see a 10-20% increase on returns thanks to improved consistency in quality.

“People are doing this work in other countries. If we are not part of it, we are behind,” advises Dr. Toivonen. Luckily, his team is working to keep the industry on the leading edge and consumers happy.

A closer look at the science: Q&A with Dr. Toivonen
What are optical spectrometers?

An optical spectrometer is a scientific instrument that emits light and measures how much of that light reflects back to the instrument. You hold the device against a cherry, it shines light on the surface of the intact fruit, and it measures the amount of light of each wavelength reflected back. The reflected light depends on the chemical composition of the fruit. Spectrometers were once cumbersome pieces of equipment, suited only for laboratory use, but now they are designed specifically for use in orchards.

What is dry matter?

Dry matter is what’s left in the fruit after all the water is removed. In cherries, dry matter is equivalent to sugar content, and is a good indicator of ripeness, quality after storage and flavour.

A grower who knows the dry matter content of their cherries can determine how well that fruit will do in storage, and decide which fruit to sell immediately and which to store or ship internationally. In short, using dry matter to make decisions on storage, shipping and market selection could lead to a consistent supply of crisp and delicious cherries from Canadian growers.

How do you measure dry matter?
The ‘old fashioned way’ of measuring dry matter isn’t practical for an orchard operation. You cut fruit into thin slices, weigh it and bake it at 60oC in an oven for two to three days until all the water is removed, then weigh it again. Your sample size is limited by oven space, samples are tedious to process, and valuable time is lost waiting for results. That could mean missing the best time for harvesting and shipping your cherries.

After the team completes validation of the scientific models for commercial spectrometers, growers will have a tool that can produce instant dry matter readings on as much fruit as needed without damaging any of it.

Published in Fruit
Canada's agriculture and agri-food system contributes $110 billion to Canada's economy, with more than $64.6 billion in exports.

Agriculture risk management is important to the sector – it helps stabilize farmers' incomes, strengthens farm businesses, and encourages growth in the agricultural sector.

Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, governments continue to support the development of new risk management tools that reflect the changing nature of the business.

Building on the successes of Growing Forward 2, the AgriRisk Initiatives Program has been renewed under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay announced that the $55 million program will encourage partnerships between agriculture industry stakeholders, researchers, and federal, provincial and territorial governments to proactively explore and develop new risk management products and services for the agricultural sector.

Funding is available under two components: Research and Development and Administrative Capacity Building.

In response to recommendations received from the BRM Review Expert Panel, priority will be given to proposals for industry-led projects to develop new and innovative business risk management tools.

"Canada's hard-working farmers constantly face volatility and unpredictability in their business. Our Government is launching this renewed AgriRisk program to help protect our hardworking farmers from the risks they face so they can continue to grow the economy and create good, well-paying jobs. This announcement responds to what we heard from the external advisory panel on business risk management," said Minister MacAulay
Published in Federal
This September, the Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO) will welcome Rick Mercer to the stage at the organization's Celebrity Luncheon. This event has been held for the past 35 years to celebrate the opening of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival.

The GGO is pleased to partner with Meridian, Ontario’s largest credit union, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival to bring this outstanding entertainer to Niagara.

Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Mercer has won over 25 Gemini Awards for his top-rated CBC series’ The Rick Mercer Report, Made in Canada, and This Hour has 22 Minutes. He is also an author of three national bestsellers and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2014.

“Rick’s keynote, Canada: Coast to Coast to Coast, is guaranteed to make us appreciate this unique nation we all call home, and a perfect way to applaud what our great country has to offer,” says Matthias Oppenlaender, chair of GGO.

Debbie Zimmerman, CEO, GGO adds, “The GGO are thrilled to finally welcome Rick Mercer to our event to celebrate the 2018 grape harvest, the Greenbelt and all Niagara has to offer.”

The Grape Growers of Ontario’s Celebrity Luncheon is Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 11:30 a.m. at Club Roma in St. Catharines.

Order tickets by clicking here or contacting the GGO Board office at: (905) 688-0990 ext 224 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Published in Associations
The story of how Ontario’s first and only wild blueberry farm and winery came about perhaps started when a large parcel of land near Wawa was deforested some years ago. The 600 acres of ancient Lake Superior bottom – completely stone-free and extremely flat with a sand/silt soil type – quickly filled in with wild blueberries bushes.
Published in Fruit
Ontario’s horticultural industry has launched a digital campaign to demonstrate public support for a long-running program that allows growers affected by a chronic labour shortage to hire workers from Mexico and the Caribbean on a seasonal basis.

The Fairness for Growers campaign uses a web portal to provide information about the benefits of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and to help consumers to directly email their Members of Parliament, voicing support for the program and the importance of continued access to fresh, local food.

The campaign was initiated in May. As of June, 1,400 Canadians had used the portal to send letters of support for SAWP to their MPs.

The labour program was established in 1966 to respond to a severe shortage of domestic agricultural workers. It continues to serve the same role 52 years later, enabling Ontario farmers to stay in business.

This year, more than 18,000 workers from Mexico and the Caribbean are expected to fill vacancies on a seasonal basis — up to a maximum of eight months — at approximately 1,450 Ontario farms.

But the federal government may change that. Federal regulators who oversee the program are implementing more and more regulations, and some growers are concerned about the program’s future.

These changes could threaten the livelihoods of thousands of farmers, making it harder for local growers to get the workers they need and operate effectively.

They could also significantly reduce access to local fruits and vegetables on store shelves, put Canadian jobs at risk and hurt thousands of seasonal workers who want these jobs to provide a better standard of living for the families.

The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program is a “Canadians first” program, which means supplementary seasonal farm labour is hired from partner countries only if farmers cannot find Canadians willing to take the same jobs.

It’s estimated that at least two jobs for Canadians are created in the agri-food industry for every seasonal worker employed through SAWP at Ontario farms.

Without the program most Ontario farmers simply couldn’t continue to grow fruits and vegetables. Some would move into less labour-intensive crops, while others would abandon agriculture altogether.

Recent labour market research by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council cited the program as a key reason Ontario’s horticulture industry is able to generate $5.4 billion in economic activity and approximately 34,280 jobs.

A severe shortage of domestic workers is costing Canadian farms approximately $1.5 billion per year and hurting Canada’s overall economic competitiveness, according to research by the Conference Board of Canada.

For more information, visit www.fairnessforgrowers.ca

Published in Provinces
Storm Preparedness – are you ready?

The following are recommendations to help you prepare for damaging winds, should they occur. Preparedness before and after a storm can improve your opportunity for a rapid recovery.
  • Young trees can break in high winds if they have not been tied to support systems. Train young trees as quickly as possible before the storm is expected.
  • Ensure that equipment is accessible if it will be needed for recovery, including saws, shovels, fuel, equipment parts, and knowledge of the location and cost of other equipment.
  • A long-term strategy for storm preparedness includes insurance coverage for equipment and crops, windbreaks, ongoing disease management, and a regular pruning program to control tree size and improve air movement.
A special note from Michelle, tree fruit specialist: Apple growers should be aware that damage to plant tissues is a fire blight trauma event in which fire blight bacteria have access to open wounds to enter and infect tissues. Please follow all local recommendations for fire blight trauma events and contact Michelle Cortens (c) 902-679-7908 for more information.
Published in Fruit
Perennia in association with Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has been monitoring for leek moth across Nova Scotia since early May this year.

Leek moth is an invasive insect pest from Europe that feeds on Allium species (onions, garlic, leeks,etc), and can cause significant damage to these crops.

Previous to 2018, leek moth had been identified in Kings County twice, once in 2016 and again in 2017. In response to this a provincial leek moth monitoring project was established, to determine how widespread the pest is in Nova Scotia.

As of July 3, 2018, leek moth has been confirmed in both Kings and Annapolis County. Currently the pest has not been found in large scale commercial fields, and all the leek moth samples have been from garlic. Leek moth favours garlic and leeks primarily; researchers are currently unsure of its effects in onion production.

Leek moth can be monitored using commercially available pheromone traps, which attract adult males. The adult leek moth is a small (five to seven mm in length) brown moth with a distinctive white triangle in the middle of its wings when they are folded at rest.

Additionally allium crops can be scouted for feeding damage from leek moth larvae. On alliums with flat leaves (garlics, leeks) the larvae feeds on the tops and inside of the leaves, as well as bores into the center of the plant leaving noticeable frass. In alliums with hollow leaves (onions, chives) the larvae will feed internally producing translucent areas on the leaf known as "windowing". The larvae will also occasionally bore into bulbs.

There are several chemical controls registered for leek moth in garlic, leeks, and onions that can be found in the Perennia's Garlic Management Schedule, Leek Management Schedule, and Onion Management Schedule.

These pesticides are most effective when eggs are present and leek moth larvae are small, so monitoring is crucial to ensure proper timing of applications. Row cover is also an effective means of protecting allium crops against leek moth, without using chemical controls.

For additional information on leek moth identification and management please consult AAFC's An Integrated Approach to Management of Leek Moth. If you think you have leek moth please contact Matt Peill, horticultural specialist with Perennia (email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , cellphone: 902-300-4710).

RELATED: Monitoring for Leek Moth
Published in Vegetables
Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. (OSF) recently launched a new product, Arctic ApBitz.

ApBitz dried apples are made 100 per cent from Arctic Golden apples – the first Arctic apple variety that doesn’t brown when bitten, sliced, or bruised.

The unique benefit, developed through biotechnology, means that Arctic apples, including ApBitz snacks, do not require preservatives and are just as healthy and delicious as their conventional counterparts.

“We decided to make Arctic ApBitz dried apples initially available online via Amazon.com so that everyone in the U.S. would have convenient access to our sweet and crunchable Arctic ApBitz snacks,” explains Neal Carter, president of OSF.

“One of the core initiatives behind Arctic apples is to help reduce unnecessary food waste. Acknowledging that not all fruit is suitably sized for slicing, we’ve been working on innovative ways to use our nonbrowning Arctic Goldens from this past harvest to give consumers more ways to eat more apples. ApBitz snacks are the result of these efforts and help us in our commitment to sustainability and the ability to maximize the benefit of our entire crop.”

OSF is gearing up to launch a summer social media contest as part of its promotional plan to create awareness about the new product.

The #BitzofSummer contest will have participants share on social media photos and videos of themselves enjoying ApBitz snacks on their summer adventures.

The contest will begin on June 29th and the grand prize winner will receive a trip to the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, a world-class destination for wine, fruit and home to OSF. The winner will also receive the opportunity to dine with Neal Carter and learn more about the founding of OSF and development of our Arctic apples.

For more information, visit: https://www.arcticapples.com/win-a-trip-to-the-home-of-arctic-apples/

Published in Companies
The PEI Analytical Laboratories (PEIAL) plant diagnostic section has re-opened for the 2018 season and is currently accepting samples.

The PEIAL serves all commodity farmers, agricultural representatives and greenhouse producers. Crop types accepted include potatoes, cereals, fruit crops and cole crops.

Common potato diseases identified routinely include late blight, Fusarium dry rot, leak, pink rot and bacterial blackleg.

The lab will provide a summary report at no charge containing information on the disease in question along with relevant fact sheets and referrals to specialists from the Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

The diagnostic request form can be found at www.princeedwardisland.ca/labservices.

When submitting a sample for diagnostic work, please include a diagnostic request form with the sample.

The sample collected for submission should be fresh and representative of the problem. For plant material, the sample should be submitted in a plastic bag with a moist paper towel to help keep the integrity of the sample. Potato tuber samples should be submitted in paper bags. For more information on the proper collection of a sample for testing, please review the information at https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/agriculture‑and‑fisheries/how‑collect‑plant‑samples‑plant‑disease‑identification.

For more information on this service, contact Marleen Clark at 902-368-5261 or 902-620-3300 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Published in Vegetables
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