Environment Protection
May 17, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – Fertilizer Canada has released a 4R Nutrient Stewardship Sustainability Report. The document is a comprehensive overview of the associations 2016 milestones through several initiatives pertaining to agriculture sustainability.

The report can be found at:4R Nutrient Stewardship Sustainability Report
For more information, visit: http://fertilizercanada.ca/
Published in Companies
February 23, 2017, Victoria, BC – Due to an underwhelming response by users to register their wells, the province has extended its waiver of the application fee to December 31, 2017.

The new Water Sustainability Act took effect February 29, 2016 and includes licensing requirements for all non-domestic groundwater users. As a result, all wells used for irrigation and livestock watering must be registered. READ MORE
Published in Provinces

Although Canada is home to internationally award-winning wines, the cold winters and short growing season are a constant challenge. Photo by Dr. Mehdi Sharifi, Trent University.

August 16, 2016 - Although Canada is home to internationally award-winning wines, the cold winters and short growing season are a constant challenge. The solution is one that has never been tried with wine grapes before until now: moving production indoors.

That’s what Dr. Mehdi Sharifi, a Canada Research Chair in sustainable agriculture and professor at Trent University’s School of the Environment, has been working on.

And it could change the entire future of Canada’s wine industry, including dramatically expanding organic wine production.

“Winter injury and low yields are the two main challenges for the wine industry in central and eastern Canada,” he explains.

Winter injury is freezing damage to the wood and bud tissues of the grape vine caused by cold temperatures or erratic temperature swings. It results in significant direct losses in grape production and even greater losses in wine production, and prevents some grape varieties, like the popular Shiraz, from being grown in Canada.

In the case of severe winter injury, vines need to be replaced but it takes newly planted vines three to five years to become productive. That’s an expensive wait without income for grape growers, who face annual costs of $10,000 – 15,000 an acre to maintain grape vines.

Sharifi’s indoor grape growing work began when he was approached by Canadian Distribution Channel Inc., a company interested in building an agritourism venture by growing popular Australian, South American and European grape varieties inside.

He began by developing a specially formulated growing media that would allow the grapes to grow quickly indoors.

“You can’t use field or potting soil indoors for growing grapes. Growing media for perennial plants such as grapes need a balance of chemical, physical and biological conditions and nutrients for best growth,” says Sharifi.

“We’ve created and tested a formula that works great and supplies nutrients to the grapes for a long period of time,” he added.

The formula’s natural ingredients could open new possibilities for organic grape production too, with the protected indoor conditions making organic growing easier.

As Sharifi’s work progressed, he also discovered that the stable temperatures and environment of indoor production can simulate a natural growing season year round and shorten the amount of time new vines need to come into production.

“We found that vines can grow two to three times as fast as they can grow outdoors. We can also simulate the equivalent of two to three growing seasons per year, so we can bring new vines into production in only one to two years,” he explains. “This doubles or even triples yearly yields, which will compensate for the extra cost of the greenhouse needed for indoor production.”

Sharifi is optimistic about his results to date. The grapes he has grown indoors have a higher than required sugar standard and their pH and acidity levels are suitable for wine production, but he cautions that more work remains to be done before his discovery can be implemented commercially.

Down the road he sees potential for producing wines with higher antioxidants or health-boosting phenolic compounds, but it’s the widespread application of his innovation that bears the most promise for Canada’s wine producers.

“This can work for any grape variety, and the interest of the industry lies with being able to grow varieties that we currently can’t in Canada because of our climate,” he says.

Sharifi’s work has received support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

Published in Research

November 3, 2015, Guelph, Ont – The government of Ontario recently announced it will be providing financial support to fruit and specialty crop growers to help them ensure the survival of their apples, tender fruit, berries, and specialty crops.

Ontario is providing financial support to farmers to better ensure the survival of apples, tender fruit, berries, and specialty crops during the winter.

The province will share up to 35 per cent of the cost of weather mitigation equipment and growers can be eligible to receive up to a maximum of $31,500 per project.

This support will help cover the costs of weather mitigation equipment, such as portable or fixed wind machines, heating and air movement devices, insulating devices, overhead irrigation systems, and crop covers.

Growers may apply for funding through the Ontario Crop and Soil Improvement Association, which administers the program, and will accept applications at various times over the next few years. The first intake is from October 22 to November 5, 2015.

Look for details to be posted shortly to the OSCIA website.

Published in Provinces

October 16, 2015, Guelph, Ont – This winter, Ontario is providing financial support to farmers to better ensure the survival of apples, tender fruit, berries, and specialty crops.

Ontario's cold winter months can cause damage to crops and reduce yields. To help growers manage this risk and ensure a steady, competitive supply of Ontario grown food, the province will share up to 35 per cent of the cost of weather mitigation equipment such as portable or fixed wind machines, heating and air movement devices, insulating devices, overhead irrigation systems, and crop covers. Growers can be eligible to receive up to a maximum of $31,500 per project.

“The Ontario Apple Growers strongly welcome the support for cold weather mitigation measures,” said Charlie Stevens, chair of the Ontario Apple Growers. “This support will help to reduce the impact of cold temperatures, ensuring farmers are able to provide consumers with a more stable supply of local Ontario apples for them to enjoy.”

“Weather mitigation equipment helps to protect the tree fruit industry from unfavourable growing conditions,” said Phil Tregunno, chair of the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers. “We greatly appreciate the Ontario government’s recognition of the challenges faced by farmers and the continued support.”

Growers may apply for funding through the Ontario Crop and Soil Improvement Association, which administers the program, and will accept applications at several times over the next couple of years. The first intake is from October 22 to November 5, 2015.

“Our government is pleased to be providing additional support for our apple, tender fruit, berry, and specialty crop growers,” said Jeff Leal, minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Cost sharing for these projects will help growers take advantage of the best crop protection methods available, ensuring successful survival of cold weather periods, and quality yields at harvest.”

Published in Vegetables

 

August 5, 2015 - A new website is helping tender fruit growers monitor the cold hardiness of their buds over the winter months and manage possible winter injury.

Growers can register on www.tenderfruitalert.ca to receive free email alerts about potential low temperature situations that can help them make decisions about when they should use tools like frost fans and wind machines to protect against the weather.

The online, automated weather alert system was launched by Ontario Tender Fruit as part of a project funded through Growing Forward 2 so growers can better mitigate climate-induced damage to their orchards and crops. Ontario’s tender fruit crops include peaches, nectarines, cherries, apricots, and plums.

“In 2012, we had a warm spring followed by a cold spell that killed a lot of blossoms, and we had no real data on what was happening in the field,” says Ontario Tender Fruit Chair Phil Tregunno, who farms near Niagara-on-the-Lake. “We knew we needed more information on when we can expect damage to our blossoms so that we can do a better job at managing our farms, from when to turn on wind machines to adjusting management practices in the orchard.”

The bud cold hardiness tool developed as part of the project provides information about the survivability of buds and lets growers know at what temperatures they could lose 10 per cent, 50 per cent, or even 90 per cent of their buds.

Having a sense of expected damage levels will help farmers with planning their upcoming growing season, from how many workers to hire and what volume of crop they could expect to market, to how much fertilizer to apply and what type of pruning strategies to use.

Consulting firm KCMS started collecting data in 2013 by regularly visiting a variety of orchards in the province’s major tender fruit growing areas to gather buds from different tender fruit crops and testing them to look for the effects of temperature throughout winter and early spring.

“We expose the buds to controlled freezing down to -40C, doing our best to replicate field conditions. When the water in the bud cells freezes, it generates a heat spike on our graphs so we know when damage occurs and lets us calculate different lethal temperature ratings,” explains Ryan Brewster of KCMS. “Without this technology, there is a lot of guessing. Growers do have past history, but this data is a snapshot in time of exactly what is happening.”

The bud data is combined with wind speed and temperature data collected from various sites that are part of the Weather INnovations (WIN) network of monitoring stations; together, this information is used to help generate the automated alerts to growers when necessary. A final assessment of winter damage is a blossom count conducted in the spring.

The current project will run until 2017, but it’s a long-term initiative designed to better equip growers to handle climate change challenges. This includes being able to plant hardier tender fruit varieties in areas that are more vulnerable to cold temperatures, and knowing where to best place wind machines.

This project was supported in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 programs in Ontario.

“Funding like this is all-important. We’re a small industry and you couldn’t do this on your own as an individual grower without support,” says Tregunno. “It’s critical to the buy local movement and the local tourism industry, and we’re lucky to be able to work through government like this.”

 

Published in Provinces

October 15, 2014, Vancouver, BC – Farmers from Vancouver Island and Fraser Valley are invited to safely and responsibly dispose of their unwanted or obsolete pesticides and livestock (including equine) medications from October 15-23.

CleanFARMS, an industry-led, national not-for-profit agricultural waste management organization, in partnership with the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI), is offering this program, which comes at no charge to farmers, this fall.

“We are pleased with the past success of our collection programs in this province,” says Barry Friesen, general manager of CleanFARMS. “B.C. farmers’ enthusiasm about this program shows their continual commitment to protecting the environment and making responsible decisions on the farm.”

Farmers in British Columbia have a long history of good stewardship practices. Since 1998, B.C. farmers have turned in more than 207,000 kilograms of obsolete pesticides. This year is the first time in B.C. that livestock and equine medications have been added to the program.

“The British Columbia Agriculture Council (BCAC) appreciates that through an industry led program, B.C. farmers can safely return unused products,” said Stan Vander Waal, BCAC board chair. “A clean and sustainable environment is critical for the long-term future of farming.”

After collection, the pesticides and medications are taken to a licensed waste management facility where they are disposed of through high temperature incineration.

The following locations will be accepting obsolete pesticides and livestock/equine medications from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the dates specified:

  • October 15: Vantreight Farms in Saanich at 8277 Central Saanich Road
  • October 16: Bings Creek Recycling Centre in Duncan at 3900 Drinkwater Road
  • October 17: Comox Valley Waste Management Centre in Cumberland at 2400 Bevan Road
  • October 20-12: Direct Solutions in Delta at 7430 Hopcott Road
  • October 22-23: Univar Canada in Abbotsford at 3256 McCallum Road

The obsolete pesticide and livestock/equine medication collection program is a national program that comes to each province on a three-year rotating basis. In between collections periods, farmers are asked to safely store their unwanted pesticides and livestock medications until they can properly dispose of them through the program.

Published in Provinces

October 6, 2014, Charlottetown, PEI – An appeal from two farmers convicted of planting potatoes where they weren’t supposed to could be decided by how a judge defines a single word.

Alex Docherty, who is Community Services Minister Valerie Docherty’s husband, and his brother-in-law, Blake MacDonald, were each fined $3,150 last year for violating the Environmental Protection Act in 2012. READ MORE

Published in Fruit

March 17, 2014, Charlottetown, PEI – The P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture wants the moratorium on deep-water wells lifted, but only after the provincial government’s scientific data has been independently reviewed and proven accurate.

Executive director John Jamieson told the provincial standing committee currently examining the issue of deep-well irrigation the federation is sensitive to the tremendous anxiety this issue has raised among Islanders. READ MORE

 

 

Published in Provinces
December 13, 2013, Summerside, PEI – After more than a year of legal wrangling, charges stemming from one of the largest fish kills in P.E.I.’s history are finally coming to a close.

A Mount Royal potato farmer pleaded guilty to two of six outstanding charges against him and his company – one Federal Fisheries Act count of allowing a deleterious substance to enter a waterway, and one charge under the provincial Crop Rotation Act of planting potatoes in the same field twice in less than three years. READ MORE
Published in Federal
Oct. 3, 2013 - A common sight in the spring and summer, bees are one of the most important workers within Canadian ecosystem and agriculture industry – especially honeybees.

Not only do these bees in Canada create honey (an over $100 million industry), but they also help pollinate a wide variety of crops, which helps contribute an estimated $1.3 to $1.7 billion annually. If you add in the contributions of other Canadian bee species, such as alfalfa leafcutting bees and bumblebees, the value leaps up to an estimated $2.8 billion.

And without bees, many crops including fruits and vegetables would not be able to produce nearly as well – so, why are so many people concerned with bees dying?

Dr. Richard Fell, a professor of entomology at Virginia Tech says that that is the real question – no one really knows. "Each year, bee keepers lose about 30 per cent of the hives that they manage," he says.

"What this means is that it makes it more difficult for growers, who produce crops such as almonds which require honey bee pollination, to obtain the hives necessary for pollination ... As colony numbers decline it becomes harder to get bee colonies for pollination purposes, placing growers in a difficult position"

Phases of blame

Fell says that instead of one or two potential factors that could be the cause of the bee deaths, known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), there are probably multiple factors which could interact and cause unexpected deaths. The possibilities range from parasites (particularly the Varroa mite), queen quality, nutrition, changes in the environment, pesticides and pathogens.

"So, it is not something that we can simply say, if a hive has A, B or C, that the colony is going to die. We just don't know," he adds. "To date, we have no smoking gun – no one factor that we can look at as the primary cause"

According to Fell, the media and public often shift the blame to a particular cause of CCD based on the latest data or research paper, because a solution is so badly needed.

Currently, the trend is centred on the varroa mite and neonicitinoid pesticides, an insecticide that is similar to nicotine. However, Fell simply says that the data aren't there to implicate either of them as the main cause. "And if we look in terms of the levels [of neonicitinoids in bees], we are talking of levels on the order of one to two parts per billion."

"And when you have very, very low exposure levels, people often forget that bees can detoxify these compounds. And if you feed bees levels like that, it appears to have little or no effect on colony survival or colony activity."

The business perspective

Derrick Rozdeba, a communications and marketing specialist with Bayer CropScience, says that actual bee numbers are not declining, but have been increasing. “Over the last eight years, when beekeepers have opened their hives in the spring, there have been fewer bees that have survived,” he said.

“And at some point, beekeeping can become unsustainable, as the need to replace lost bees increases. What has been declining in Canada aren’t bees, but rather beekeeper numbers.”

He also says that the best way growers can assist the honey bee is to effectively communicate with one another and implement suitable management practices for seed treatments, insecticide use and more to help increase awareness and reduce risk. “Growers need to be aware that there can be things that they do in their normal operations which may have negative effects on honey bees and other pollinators.  The production of dust during seeding operations can be a conduit of pesticide exposure to bees, as can the application of post emergence insecticides when crops are in flower.”
Published in Insects
Aug. 19, 2013, Paris, Ont. - Global warming is causing apples to lose some of their crunch but is also making them sweeter, a study says.

Analysing data gathered from 1970 to 2010 at two orchards in Japan, a research team said there was clear evidence that climate change was having an effect on apple taste and texture. READ MORE
Published in Fruit
July 9, 2013 – Ontario is bringing together a group of experts to provide advice on how to prevent bee mortalities.

The Bee Health Working Group will be comprised of beekeepers, farmers, agri-business representatives, scientists, and staff from both federal and provincial government agencies. Drawing on a broad range of expertise, the working group will provide recommendations on how to mitigate the potential risk to honey bees from exposure to neonicotinoids – a pesticide used for corn and soybeans.

The working group will meet for the first time this month and provide its recommendations by spring 2014.
Published in Insects
Jul. 16, 2013 - Tough new regulations governing vineyard waste management meant the owners of Sixteen Mile Cellar in the Niagara Region had some tough choices to make. Previously, small estate wineries were allowed to store the liquids and residues from their grape crush on-farm and then haul them away. The rule change now requires waste treatment facilities on site, which can get very expensive very fast.

"For small wineries, this is a big burden. Even if you only crush grapes for one week of the year like we do, you have to provide waste treatment," says Paul Vander Molen, Sixteen Mile Cellar's farm property manager. "So we started searching for ideas that would address the waste issue properly but also be affordable."

The solution was a constructed treatment wetland that uses nature to pre-treat the winery waste — wash water, grape liquids and stems and skins left over once the grapes are crushed — before it is disposed of.

The crush residue flows out of the winery into a holding tank and is then pumped into a four-chamber constructed treatment wetland that is located just outside of the main winery building. The chambers are lined with rubber and filled with gravel and soil that filter and purify the grape waste. From there, the remaining liquid goes into a pressurized septic system and then into a filter bed for release back into the environment. An alternative option was an open system, but the potential for odour and the proximity to the winery building made this idea a non-starter.

"Wineries, especially small estate wineries like this one, don't produce a lot of waste but we still have to solve the problem of dealing with it," Vander Molen says. "This solution is not only a good treatment option, but it will also provide a natural habitat for frogs and other wildlife once it is completed."

The underground system was first used in 2012 and Vander Molen says it will ramp up to full capacity for the 2013 grape harvest. This spring, cattails, bull rushes and iris will be planted on top of the wetland to complete its construction and give it a more natural look.

There are currently more than 1,000 constructed wetlands in North America being used to treat various waste streams, such as municipal wastewater and coal and metal mine drainage. Sixteen Mile Cellar is one of the first wineries in Ontario that has been affected by the new rules and has adapted this type of a system using a wetland to pre-treat their winery waste. He expects others will follow suit as they face compliance with the new regulations.

To help with the cost of constructing the wetland, Sixteen Mile Cellar accessed cost-share funding through the Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program (COFSP). COFSP provided cost-share funding for farmers to implement best management practices that provide environmental benefit on-farm. Funding was available on a first come, first served basis to farmers who had a peer-reviewed Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) in place and had projects that have been approved under the program.

EFP and COFSP were funded under the Best Practices suite of programs of Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The programs were administered by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture acting on behalf of the Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition. The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association delivered the programs to farmers.

"The funding really helped us make this work. This project and some of the others we've done really fit into the concept of environmental goods and services and being a responsible producer," says Vander Molen, referring to a tree planting initiative and the replacement of a failed culvert with a new stream bridge crossing to improve fish habitat that were both also completed on the same property recently.
Published in Spraying
Jul. 16, 2013 - The north shore of Lake Erie is a known habitat for the Eastern Fox Snake, Ontario's second largest snake species. It's protected under the province's Endangered Species Act, so when Dale Vranckx saw them on his Norfolk County farm, he wanted to do what he could to help bring back the population.

His solution was to build hibernacula — protected areas on his property where the snakes could overwinter safely.

"Our farm is in a wintering area for the fox snake. We have found some on the farm around our pond area so we know they're here and they're endangered," says Vranckx, whose 20-acre sustainable blueberry operation, Blueberry Hill Estate, overlooks the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve. "It's unique that we have these snakes here and we are doing what we can to rejuvenate the population."

Vranckx, a member of the Reserve's board of directors, turned to an expert for help with getting his project started. Hibernacula are ideally situated in areas with morning sun that are near water but can't flood.

Vranckx built his alongside the wetland area on his farm, digging five pits and using old tobacco kilns as foundations. The top is covered with canes pruned from his blueberry bushes and a plastic tube with drilled holes allows the snakes to get in and out as well as go down to the wetland.

"As we prune we will keep adding canes. We used to burn these but now it's an ideal way of keeping the hibernacula sustainable," he says. "You have to maintain it as well, not just build it. Everything on our farm has to rejuvenate itself."

The farm had its start as Ontario's first commercial blueberry operation in 1975 and Vranckx and his family, former tobacco farmers, have owned it since 2005. When they took over, they adopted a fully sustainable model for the property.

This includes growing hay and prairie grass on buffer edges and in riparian areas and establishing a pollinator strip for bees, in addition to the work they are doing with the Fox Snake.

The habitat was built last fall so it's still too early to see any measurable results in the local snake population, but Vranckx is optimistic the project will be a success. He will begin monitoring activities this year.

"It's still early days, but we believe that if you build it, they will come," he says, adding since adopting the sustainable model, he now has a natural bee population on his farm and no longer needs bees brought in for pollination. "Nature has a way of coming back if you provide for it. If you provide the proper conditions, it will rejuvenate."

He is planning to add an agri-tourism component to his blueberry operations this year so that he can help educate visitors to his farm about sustainable production, hibernacula and what people can do to save species at risk.

Vranckx was able to access cost-share funding for his hibernacula project through the Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program (SARFIP), administered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). SARFIP was funded in 2012 by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources through the Species At Risk Stewardship Fund, and the Government of Canada through the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species At Risk.

"This is something we wanted to do, but the SARFIP funding played an important role in our decision to go ahead with this project," says Vranckx.
Published in Harvesting
Jun. 24, 2013 - University of Prince Edward Island student Michelle MacDonald has observed a new problem in the Island's carrot crop caused by a familiar fungus – Fusarium.

Crown rot is typically a storage disease of carrots. But MacDonald discovered an outbreak of the disease in the field while working as an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) field researcher.

According to MacDonald, the fungus first started appearing in P.E.I. carrot plantings in 2011, resulting in rejection rates as high as 60 to 70 per cent of the crop at grading. While some carrots were salvaged by cutting them into smaller sizes, the majority were unmarketable as regular sized vegetables.

Crown rot traditionally appears after harvest, triggered by the Fusarium fungus, said MacDonald. Fusarium can overwinter in the soil and enters the carrot through cracks in the crown of the vegetable.

Initial studies identified F. acenaceum and F. oxysporum as the fusarium populations infecting the P.E.I. carrots. F. acenaceum was highly pathogenic to carrot tissue while F. oxysporum was less sensitive.

During her research, MacDonald tested two Fusarium pathogens: 10 isolates of F. avenaceum and four isolates of F. oxysporum. Each isolate was tested – in replicated trials – against five different fungicides: Bravo (chlorothalonil), Manzate (mancozeb), Polyram (metiram), Pristine (pyraclostrobin/boscalid) and Quadris Top (azoxystrobin/difenoconazole).

Nine different treatment applications were used (eight with fungicides and one control) during the trial and there was also monitoring for the occurrence in the carrot crop of Sclerotinia (white mold) and two leaf diseases – Alternaia leaf blight and Cercospora – MacDonald said.

While it was observed that all the treatments decreased Sclerotinia and provided foliar protection from Alternaia leaf blight and Cercospora, there were no treatments that significantly decreased crown rot in the field, she said.

In the lab, both Fusarium species proved insensitive to Mangate. Quadris Top had a big range of response in the lab, with greater sensitivity in F oxysporum. F avenaceum was insensitive in fungal response trials in the lab to Bravo; but F. oxysporum showed a little bit of sensitivity. Pristine and Polygren have yet to be tried for fungal response in the trials. MacDonald stated that in the lab, F avenaceum showed some sensitivity to Fludioxonil, although F. oxysporum did not. Both Fusarium funguses demonstrated a sensitivity to Thiabendizole in the lab trials.

Difenoconazole was predicted to be a successful treatment, but the lab results showed otherwise, said MacDonald.

Scholar demonstrated an effect on white mold, but MacDonald cautioned there are concerns with resistance.

She added that the crop can be scouted for crown rot but, after the infection appears, it is too late to spray. A preventative spraying program before infection appears would be the best management option.
Published in Storage
Jun. 14, 2013 - According to a new study in the Journal of Applied Ecology, soil organisms, aquatic life and birds may be at risk with the use of neonicotinoid insecticides.

Neonicotinoids have been in the news because of growing concern that they are linked to serious declines in bee species – resulting in a two-year EU ban in April 2013 of three neonicotinoids commonly used in Europe.

The new study by Professor Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex draws together data from diverse sources including the agrochemical industry's own research and reveals that harm to bees may be just the tip of the iceberg.

Neonicotinoids are mostly applied as seed dressings, intended to be absorbed by the crop, but well over 90 per cent of the active ingredient goes into the soil and leaches into groundwater, where it persists for years.

Data from agrochemical manufacturer Bayer on the persistence of neonicotinoids in soil is made widely available for the first time in Professor Goulson's study. The data first came to light during investigations by the UK Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee.

According to the data, neonicotinoids – if used regularly – accumulate in soil to concentrations far higher than those that kill bees, posing a risk to soil invertebrates and soil health.

"Any pesticide that can persist for many years, build up in soil, and leach into waterways is likely to have effects far beyond the pest insects it intends to target," said Professor Goulson. "This is particularly so when the pesticide is highly toxic to non-target organisms. For example, less than one part per billion of imidacloprid in streams is enough to kill mayflies."

The study also highlights risks for grain-eating birds such as partridge, which need eat only a few neonicotinoid-treated grains of crop to receive a lethal dose.

This latest evidence calls into question the effectiveness of the recent two-year EU moratorium on use of some neonicotinoids on flowering crops.

"Neonicotinoids will still be widely used on cereals, so the broader environmental impacts are likely to continue," said Professor Goulson. "Given the longevity of these compounds, they would be in our soils for years to come even under an absolute ban, so two years is far too short to produce any benefit, even if there were any clear plan to monitor such benefits – which there is not. It is entirely unclear what this two-year moratorium is meant to achieve."

Professor Goulson also draws attention to the lack of publicly-available evidence on the effectiveness of neonicotinoids.

"Studies from the U.S. suggest that neonicotinoid seed dressings may be either entirely ineffective or cost more than the benefit in crop yield gained from their use," he said. "We seem to be in a situation where farmers are advised primarily by agronomists involved in selling them p
Published in Research
May 27, 2013, Charlottetown, PEI – Farmers need to be both economically and environmentally sustainable in their actions, especially when it relates to nutrient application, say officials with the Island potato board.

Because of that, the Prince Edward Island Potato Board has joined in the Farming 4R Island initiative. In a recent statement, the potato board said as the populations of Prince Edward Island, and the world continue to grow, the need for nutritious, safe food grows as well. READ MORE
Published in Food Safety
May 14, 2013, Kemptville, Ont – The threat of frost forced apple growers near Kemptville, Ont., to take the unusual step of flying a helicopter over their orchard to keep their trees warm.

The temperature in the Ottawa region dropped to -2 Celsius at about 3 a.m. early Tuesday morning and a frost warning remained in effect Tuesday. READ MORE

Published in Fruit
May 2, 2013 - According to the 2011 Census of Agriculture, the number of farms and farmers in Canada is declining and the pressure to increase production to meet the ever-increasing demand of a growing population is immense. That is why continued management of every aspect of a farm is so important.

Heather Watson, the executive director of Farm Management Canada (FMC) says that while the world calls upon farmers for increased productivity, farmers face more problems than ever before – which is why the International Farm Management Congress (IFMC) is such a good idea.

"The Congress has brought the world of agriculture closer – creating a lasting, international network of experts we can call upon for insights into anything you can imagine including best management practices and best practices to increase the awareness and adoption of beneficial management practices," she said.

The FMC has therefore developed a new contest to help create a Canadian delegation to attend the IFMC in Poland this July. To enter the contest, contestants must create a one-minute or less YouTube video answering the question: How are Canadian farmers managing for success?

All application forms and video submissions must be submitted no later than May 24 and the names of the winners will be announced in June 2013. Instructions can be found here.

The selected winners will report from the Congress by being active on social media (including Twitter, blogs and more), as well as writing two articles on their experiences. They might also be asked to speak at industry events and help entice participation for when Canada hosts the IFMC in 2015.

"Winners will take part in the full Congress (a week-long event that includes keynote speakers, plenary sessions, farm tours, paper presentations, banquets, etc.) as well as the post-Tour which is a week-long adventure around Poland to see various agricultural practices and notable sights," adds Watson.

More information on the Congress is available at www.ifma19.org.
Published in Federal
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