Equipment
As Ontario farmers Brent Preston and wife Gillian Flies lugged their heavy tarps out during each new planting season, they pondered ground cover options for their farm at Creemore. The tarps were working well but would lighter weight ground cover fabric do the same job with less expense and less hassle?
Published in Research
Greenhouse gas is a significant player in climate change and Agricultural and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientists have developed a tool that helps mitigate agriculture’s contribution.
Published in Federal
More data than ever is being collected in agriculture and the industry is challenged with how to best put it to use to support profitable and sustainable food production.
Published in Provinces
While farm machinery innovation often means bigger sizes and more complex technology, one Ontario farm is proving smaller and simpler may be the way of the future for harvesting row crops.
Published in Harvesting
Keep cool is the motto in cherry orchards, where heat rapidly degrades picked fruit and turns stems brown. That’s why nearly all B.C. cherry growers use Mylar covers. White on the outside, reflective on the inside, the tarps keep heat out and humidity in.
Published in Harvesting
In a greenhouse in Belgium, a small robot moves through rows of strawberries growing on trays suspended above the ground, using machine vision to locate ripe, flawless berries, then reaching up with a 3D-printed hand to gently pluck each berry and place it in a basket for sale. If it feels that a berry isn’t ready for harvest, the robot estimates the date it will be ready for it to return and pick it.
Published in Harvesting
A new federal fuel surcharge came into effect on April 1, 2019. Farmers in Ontario are eligible for an exemption on fuels used for farming practices, but the details have created some confusion among Ontario’s agriculture industry. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is working to clarify the details around how farmers can qualify for the exemption.
Published in News
As a farmer, there will be a lot of options for you when it comes to selling your business. These will be different to those that most other business owners are faced with.
Published in Companies
A cutting-edge University of Winnipeg research project could transform the way we produce food, allowing farmers in Canada and beyond to care for large prairie crops as efficiently as a backyard garden, thanks to a $250,000 Weston Seeding Food Innovation grant.
Published in News
Every day there is a new smartphone application launched that claims to assist growers in their farming efforts. And while many of these apps can be beneficial tools, wading through the ever-growing lineup of offerings can be a daunting task.
Published in Equipment
When a new crop takes off, it’s not unusual that specialty equipment is designed and commercialized in order to make things easier. In this case, the crop is garlic, and the equipment is a planter and an add-on under-cutter (both pulled behind a tractor), designed and manufactured by Garlic-EEZ of Dundalk, Ont., owned by garlic grower Ken Hunt.
Published in Planting
In 2018, MS Gregson introduced a line of electrostatic sprayers (the Ecostatik) in Canada. While electrostatic technology has been used in agriculture since the 1980’s, this is the first time ground rigs have been so readily available to Ontario (possibly Canadian) growers.
Published in Spraying
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.
Published in Research
If I had to choose one tool to assist with integrated pest management in sweet corn, it would be the corn earworm trap.
Published in Vegetables
Researchers at the Fort Valley State University have been working to develop a robotic solution for monitoring and spraying peach orchards.
Published in Fruit
If a recent demonstration in Canada is any indication, the digital vineyard of the future might very well receive scientific data in real-time gathered by drones and transferred via a cell network.

Global UAV Technologies Ltd., Jöst Vineyards, VineView (Scientific Aerial Imaging Inc.) and a major Canadian telecommunications company recently completed a 4G proof-of-concept mission in in Malagash, N.S., to demonstrate a real-word application of drone technology for a project called the “Digital Vineyard of the Future.”

“Fine wine making is in the growing of grapes with specific qualities, where many variables have to be taken into consideration,” said Jonathan Rodwell, director of viticulture and winemaking for Jöst Vineyards. “We see these emerging technologies offering excellent opportunities for integrated measurement and management of our vineyards and focus on precision viticulture.” | For the full story, CLICK HERE
Published in Other
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.
Published in Research
Fresno, CA – Jain Irrigation, Inc. recently announced it is acquiring ETwater, a supplier of intelligent irrigation technology and smart irrigation controllers.

ETwater’s patented technology integrates data science, machine learning and predictive analytics about weather forecast and environmental variables to automatically, optimally adjust site-specific irrigation schedules. Connecting over the Internet, ETwater smart controllers get their schedules through secure, cellular data networks, and users are able to remotely monitor and manage controllers from any mobile or smart device.

“We’re very proud of the positive impact on outdoor water conservation we’ve had in the U.S. market and raising awareness to the necessity of irrigating in harmony with nature,” said Pat McIntyre, CEO of ETwater. “The Jain acquisition will expand ETwater efficiencies throughout the U.S. and now worldwide to become a gold standard in sustainable water management globally.”

“Jain is an early leader in the IoT for agriculture,” said Aric Olson, president of Jain Irrigation, Inc. “ETwater will improve our position in agriculture and helps us make a bigger impact in reducing water waste in landscape irrigation."

“We are thrilled to have ETwater join our family. After several successful irrigation technology acquisitions, the addition of ETwater … adds key technologies that can be deployed globally to our growing technology customer base.”
Published in Irrigating

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
It would be nice to be able to stand up and look out over your whole field at once, with a “bird’s eye view, to see how it is progressing. A camera mounted on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle [UAV or drone] can do that for you.
Published in Research
Page 1 of 6

Subscription Centre

 
New Subscription
 
Already a Subscriber
 
Customer Service
 
View Digital Magazine Renew

Most Popular

Latest Events

Grower Day
Tue Jun 18, 2019

We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. To find out more, read our Privacy Policy.