Production
At the request of the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Beekeepers Association joint pollination committee, Perennia manages a Bee Line that is a volunteer listing of beekeepers and their available hives for pollination.

The list will help connect blueberry growers who need bee hives to pollinate their blueberry fields, with beekeepers who have available hives to rent. This listing and service is offered at no charge.

Leasers:
Please call the hotline number at 1-866-606-4636 (toll-free) or email us with the following information:
  1. Contact Name, phone number and e-mail
  2. County
  3. Product details
Please also give permission to post the above information on this site for renters to review.

Renters:
Please call the hotline number at 1-866-606-4636 (toll-free) or or email us with your needs. We will provide you with a list of any leasers in the counties you specify who can possibly meet your needs. We do not contact sellers on behalf of buyers.

Hours of Operation:
The hotline will be administered Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. After hours, please leave a message and any required follow up will be done the next business day. Or e-mail us with your information.

Any changes in the listing will be posted on this website: http://www.perennia.ca/fieldservices/honey-bees-and-pollination/beeline/
Published in Fruit
After a soft launch in late 2017, Marketplace-E is being introduced by Ritchie Bros. as its latest buying and selling solution.

Complementing the company's onsite unreserved auctions and online-only auctions through IronPlanet, Marketplace-E offers sellers increased control over price, location, and timing, while providing buyers access to more equipment available to purchase right away.

"With the launch of Marketplace-E we can now serve customers as a true one-stop shop, with a complete suite of selling solutions to meet every need," said Ravi Saligram, CEO of Ritchie Bros. "We have many customers who, for a variety of reasons, need more control over the selling price and process of their assets. With Marketplace-E they will get the control they need while still benefiting from Ritchie Bros.' marketing and expansive global buyer network."

Ravi continued, "Marketplace-E will also open up new customer opportunities for Ritchie Bros. In our quest to lead the industry in innovation; we are constantly looking for new ways to improve the asset disposition experience. Developing a sleek, user-friendly digital platform expands the options available to OEMs, dealers, brokers and end users."

How Marketplace-E works – three selling options:
  • Make Offer: List equipment online and let potential buyers submit offers, then negotiate with potential buyers to reach an agreement.
  • Buy Now: List equipment online at a fixed, buy-it-now price; like a basic ecommerce transaction. Once the item is purchased, the listing is closed.
  • Reserve Price: An online listing with a minimum/reserve price. The item will not sell until the reserve is met. The seller minimum is protected, but the potential highest selling price is not capped.
The selling process is also aided by an inside sales team dedicated to facilitating offline negotiations between interested buyers and sellers.

For more information about Marketplace-E, visit ironplanet.com/Marketplace-E.
Published in Companies
St. Catherines, Ont. – The glass is half full when it comes to grape and wine research in Ontario. And it’s only getting fuller thanks to the efforts of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI).

The research institute, established in 1996 in partnership with the Grape Growers of Ontario, the Wine Council of Ontario, and the Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario, has tackled significant vineyard and winemaking issues, elevating local tipple to world-class status in the process.

It’s done so by taking on the multi-coloured Asian lady beetle, which can taint an entire vintage, and kept many bottles of wine tasting their finest in the process. It has 20 years of research dedicated to icewine production and authentication to ensure integrity for Canadian versions of the sweet nectar.

The effects of climate change on grape growing, sparkling wine production, and resveratrol and the Ontario wine industry also get serious research attention at CCOVI to the benefit of Ontario vintners and grape growers.

Most recently, CCOVI received nearly $2 million in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Research Fund to build its one-of-a-kind Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Sensory Reality Consumer Laboratory. It will be known as R3CL and will be the world’s first mediated-reality wine laboratory, combining sights, smells and sounds to help researchers study the science of consumer choice in the wine industry.

CCOVI’s research is so vital to the industry that an economic impact study pegged its contribution to the Ontario economy at $91 million annually. It also creates the equivalent of more than 300 jobs a year thanks to its research outputs.

Some of the most significant impacts can be credited to its cold hardiness research and flagship VineAlert program, which warns grape growers about cold weather events so they can use their wind machines and other techniques more effectively to protect their vines from cold damage.

VineAlert spared more than $7 million in crop losses in 2014-15, which converted to nearly $74 million in wine sales.

But CCOVI and its team of scientists, led by director Debbie Inglis, aren’t stopping there. Their work is positioning CCOVI to be the Canadian centre of excellence for cool climate viticulture, oenology, wine business, policy and culture with a mandate to advance the industry nationally, not just locally.

CCOVI’s intrepid VineAlert program is being rolled out across Canada thanks to partnerships in Summerland, B.C., and Kemptville, N.S. Equipment and testing methods to determine cold hardiness are being tried on for size in both provinces right now.

“We’re hoping within the next year that we’re going to be able to make the VineAlert program national,” Inglis said.

The Fizz Club, which provides professional development, and shares knowledge and research among sparkling wine producers also went national in 2017. And CCOVI is developing a domestic, certified “clean plant” program for grapevines to supply the industry with plant material that’s free of disease.

“The larger impact has been in Ontario but we’re starting to branch out and see that impact across Canada,” Inglis said.
Published in Research
Canadians clearly love having fresh local strawberries several times a year and Canada’s day-neutral strawberry industry is growing to meet the demand.
Published in Fruit
Nearly two years after its parent company, Kubota Corporation, acquired the five divisions of Great Plains Manufacturing Inc., including several facilities in Kansas, Kubota Canada Ltd. (KCL) is pleased to announce it has taken over the distribution of Great Plains equipment from La Coop fédérée for Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

As it did with Land Pride in 2017, KCL is thrilled to now be able to offer innovative, durable and high-performance Great Plains equipment to farmers across Quebec and Atlantic Canada at their local Kubota dealerships.

“Everything we’ve done over the past years has been geared towards customer satisfaction and brand loyalty,” said Bob Hickey, president of KCL. “That’s what drove us to not only expand our product line through acquisitions such as Great Plains Manufacturing, but also invest in our distribution network, so that current and potential clients could access an expanded range of high-quality products when the time came to invest in their farm equipment.”

Published in Companies
Perennial fruit orchards are long-lived, long-term investments which require regular maintenance and upkeep to ensure that they retain their youthful health, vigour and productivity for an extended period.

“Ensuring that crops survive the harsh prairie climate can be challenging, as the weather is hard on orchards,” says Robert Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre. “If they are handled correctly, our orchard crops should handle most of what Mother Nature throws at them and the investment will be protected from loss.”

A big part of managing an orchard in the off-season starts with lots of in-season and pre-off-season management, involving keeping plants healthy, active at the right time of year, and productive. Generally, over-wintering of all plants revolves around the same basic guidelines.

Provided you have started with hardy plant material that is suited to your area and those plants enter winter healthy, they should be able to handle most of what is thrown at them. “However, the work doesn’t stop there,” explains Spencer. “The dormant season is a time to monitor and assess orchard health at a higher, general level, as opposed to specific, in-season production monitoring and management. It is a time to make adjustments based on the previous growing season and make any corrections.”

Winter is also a time for pruning, with dead, diseased or damaged branches removed, as well as larger sized branches. “Thin and shape the canopy as required, ensuring that the plants have younger wood and aren’t too tall,” says Spencer. “Intensive rejuvenation pruning activities may also be undertaken in older orchards in the dormant season and can be done up until mid-March, as long as the plants are still dormant.”

“Another aspect of off-season management is done largely in your mind and on paper,” adds Spencer. “Assess what worked and what isn’t working in your orchard. Evaluate the productivity and profitability of the orchard and make adjustments as required. Make plans for various situations, and assemble the necessary tools in advance, to make you more nimble in-season.”

For more information about off-season orchard management, contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).
Published in Fruit
Fredericton, N.B. - Dr. Claudia Goyer, a molecular bacteriologist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Fredericton Research and Development Centre in New Brunswick, says she is seeing promising results that may help potato growers get more of their products into the global marketplace.

Common scab is a potato disease caused by bacteria in the soil and while it is not a health issue for humans, common scab’s crusty lesions on potato skin can make potatoes unmarketable. The allowable limit for the appearance of potato scab on a potato is five per cent.

Building on research done in Australia, Dr. Goyer has been working with Canadian tissue culture expert Dr. Vicki Gustafson to develop natural variations of Shepody and Red Pontiac varieties with greater scab resistance.

In the lab, the researchers bathed potato tissue samples in a plant toxin secreted by the microorganism that causes common scab. As expected, the toxin killed many of the tissue samples.

Among the survivors, they looked for samples that evolved with a resistance to the toxin, and hopefully to the microorganism that produces it.

“We’re tapping into a plant’s natural ability to spontaneously change or mutate in response to stress,” says Dr. Goyer.

From the surviving tissue samples, 50 were selected for field testing and ten of those have shown improved resistance.

The Red Pontiac offshoots have been particularly promising, with 50 per cent less incidence of common scab than in current Red Pontiac variety. Researchers have been seeing up to 30 per cent less common scab in the Shepody offshoots.

Dr. Goyer is encouraged by the results, but says the evaluations will need to continue for another two to three years before the new, more resistant offshoots of the Shepody and Red Pontiac can be brought to the market.

Published in Vegetables
Champaign, Ill. — A new lightweight, low-cost agricultural robot could transform data collection and field scouting for agronomists, seed companies and farmers.

The TerraSentia crop phenotyping robot, developed by a team of scientists at the University of Illinois, was featured at the 2018 Energy Innovation Summit Technology Showcase in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 14.

Traveling autonomously between crop rows, the robot measures the traits of individual plants using a variety of sensors, including cameras, transmitting the data in real time to the operator’s phone or laptop computer. A custom app and tablet computer that come with the robot enable the operator to steer the robot using virtual reality and GPS. For the full story, CLICK HERE
Published in Spraying
Small and medium-sized agricultural operations in P.E.I. must adopt innovative solutions to compete in export markets and improve opportunities for employment in rural areas. That is why the Government of Canada is supporting facility upgrades at Thompson Potato Company Inc., to increase its processing capacity and extend the packing season, creating longer term employment for staff while supporting local potato growers.

The Honourable Wayne Easter, Member of Parliament for Malpeque, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), today announced federal support to expand the processing facility at Thompson Potato Company.

A repayable contribution of $350,000, provided through ACOA’s Business Development Program, will help the company build a new state-of-the-art ventilated storage expansion onto its facility in Victoria, and install optical sorting equipment.

This investment builds on commitments made by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic provinces to drive economic growth in the region through the Atlantic Growth Strategy, which supports strategic investments in initiatives that build on the region’s competitive advantages, such as its thriving agriculture industry, strong export potential, growing innovation network, and skilled workforce.

“The storage upgrades and new optical equipment are essential to our plan for long-term, sustainable growth at Thompson Potato, and we are grateful for the repayable support from ACOA that helps us to make these investments now. The latest steps give us the capacity to better serve growers across PEI, access new export markets, and expand employment opportunities with our company,” said Wayne Thompson, Thompson Potato Company Inc.
Published in Companies
Ontario consumers are thirsty for more hard apple cider, and the province’s apple sector is poised to deliver. But first, researchers are profiling consumer preference to be sure the industry serves up cider that hits the spot.

The project developed in response to research needs identified in the 2016 Cider Research and Innovation Strategy is a partnership with the Ontario Craft Cider Association and the Ontario Apple Growers. The strategy aims to see seven million litres of Ontario craft cider come to market by 2020.

“Our work is about developing a better understanding of who the cider consumer is, and the sensory, flavour and taste profiles they’re looking for in a cider,” says Amy Bowen, research director, Consumer Insights at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland).

Bowen used Vineland’s trained sensory panel to develop a lexicon of 22 sensory attributes to describe taste, aroma, flavour, mouthfeel and colour of hard apple ciders. The same panel then applied those attributes to 50 cider brands currently available to consumers through the LCBO and Ontario cideries.

Next, 228 cider-drinking consumers rated their liking for a subset of those 50 ciders, and described each one using a provided list of terms. They also completed a questionnaire about consumption and purchase habits.

“We identified two main segments of consumers, one that was driven by sweet, fruit-forward flavour profiles, and another panel that was driven by less sweet, balanced, and more complex flavours,” Bowen says.

She notes there are significant differences in flavour and ingredients in domestic and imported ciders available to consumers through the LCBO.

Craft ciders are made from 100 per cent Ontario apples, while others are made in Canada using apple concentrate, and some imported ciders contain little fruit juice at all (less than 20 per cent).

Interestingly, two of three top-rated ciders tasted by study participants are not among the top five-selling cider brands at the LCBO.

“We want to develop ciders using 100 per cent Ontario apples that meet a sensory profile that consumers respond to,” she says. “If someone is looking for an apple cider, and they want a dry one or a sweet one, understanding those profiles allows us to be flexible in using mixes of apples that are well adapted to our industry.”

But if the industry is going to meet its growth targets, an additional 16,000 tonnes of apples – or 1.45 million trees – will be required. Work is underway to determine which apple varieties meet the climate, yield and taste profiles ideal to growing the cider industry.

“We need to think strategically,” Bowen says. “It’s a big, long-term investment to put an apple orchard in the ground. There’s a huge opportunity to look at how the apple variety mix aligns and meets the needs of this growing industry, to keep it profitable and flavourful.”

This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
Published in Research
A University of Maryland researcher has traced the origin of pest populations of the Colorado potato beetle back to the Plains states, dispelling theories that the beetle came from Mexican or other divergent populations.

Little was previously known about the beetle's origin as a pest, particularly how it developed the ability to consume potatoes and decimate entire fields so quickly. With its unique ability to adapt to pesticides almost faster than the industry can keep up, this beetle is consistently an issue for potato farmers. Using investigative evolutionary biology to determine the origins of this beetle and understand the pest's genetic makeup better, industry can better target pest management strategies to combat pesticide resistance and ultimately improve the potato industry.

The United States is the fourth largest producer of potatoes worldwide, producing over 20 million tons of potatoes each year. By comparing the genetics of pre-agriculture potato beetles, before the pest began to consume potatoes, to post-agriculture potato beetles, Dr. David Hawthorne of the Entomology Department and his team hope to understand why and how the beetle is developing resistance so quickly, and what can be done to slow resistance.

"The Colorado potato beetle is almost always one of the first insects to develop resistance to any pesticide. In fact, many contribute the entire pesticide arms race and development of pesticides to this particular beetle, which can destroy entire fields very easily," says Hawthorne.

"With this study," explains Hawthorne, "we were trying to gain insight into two major questions: Where did the potato beetle come from? And why do they evolve resistance so quickly? This would have major implications in controlling the pest, since the more growers have to spray, the greater their costs and risk to the surrounding environment. We need a strategy to weigh our options and determine the best way to control these pests without overspraying or even torching entire fields overrun with beetles, which has happened in the past when there has been no effective pesticide options."

Hawthorne and his team found that populations of beetles eating potatoes are most closely related to nightshade eaters in the Plains states. Beetles from Mexico, a possible source of the pest populations, were far too distantly related to have been the source of this beetles.

"Before they became pests, the plains beetles first evolved a taste for potatoes," says Hawthorne. "Some non-pest populations still don't eat them and will prefer the weeds surrounding the potatoes, but not the potatoes themselves. This is just one way that populations may differ."

By understanding the distinctions between these populations and which beetles are the source of current pest populations, more targeted pest management strategies can be developed based on the specific genetic makeup of the beetles, leading to more effective and less spraying.

Hawthorne describes this work as almost forensic biology, tracking the evolution and movement of this beetle across time and geography.

"I like that this work is very interdisciplinary," says Dr. Hawthorne. "It is about taking all the puzzle pieces and trying to put the whole story together to have the biggest impact on the field. Ultimately, this work is a major step towards understanding one of the most harmful pests, and has significant implications in controlling the population, keeping the potato industry stable, and fighting pesticide resistance and overspraying."

Dr. Hawthorne's study was published in The Journal of Economic Entomology.
Published in Vegetables
On the heels of Alberta's boycott of B.C. wines, the B.C. government is ramping up its support for the industry by proclaiming April as B.C. Wine Month, including a special month-long promotion at all public liquor stores.

"We are grateful for the loyalty and support we have received from the consumers across B.C. and Canada in response to Alberta's announcement to boycott B.C. wine," said Miles Prodan, president and CEO of the BC Wine Institute. "We appreciate the province's quick response in support of B.C.'s wineries, and we remain resolute in our mission to secure sales opportunities here in B.C. for the many B.C. grape wineries across the province, most of which are small, family-owned-and-operated businesses, and will continue to promote our local world-class products at home and abroad."

Along with the proclamation of B.C. Wine Month in April, other government initiatives in support of B.C.'s wine industry include:
  • Increased opportunities to have B.C. wines in local BC Liquor Stores, including local wines from small and medium producers that are not typically available outside of the wineries.
  • Promotion throughout the month with storefront displays.
  • A greater variety of in-store tastings of B.C. wines.
  • Funding for an expansion of the Buy BC: Eat Drink Local campaign, to further develop partnerships between the BC Wine Institute and the British Columbia Restaurant and Food Services Association.
  • Funding to support the marketing of BC VQA wines to new international markets.
While the Province has worked to develop this support, the Ministry of Agriculture has been involved in ongoing engagement with wine producers throughout the province.
Published in Provinces
Are you a strawberry grower or interested in strawberry production and would like to connect with other producers? Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is hosting a Strawberry Production Q&A Session on March 13, 2018 at the Agriculture Building, 5030 - 50 Street in Lacombe, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

This interactive question and answer session provides new and existing strawberry producers an opportunity to ask questions and discuss production challenges.

Each half-hour session will cover topics picked by the attendees. "We're going to tackle seven to eight different topics about production," says Robert Spencer, commercial horticultural specialist at the Ag-Info Centre.

Some of the topics to be discussed include varieties, establishment practices, overwintering, fertility management, pest management, renovation, and bearing season management.

"But there could be other topics," adds Spencer. "If someone has a very specific concern or they're saying that they're really struggling with a particular area, we'll talk about that, and we'll draw on the collective wisdom of the group."

The Strawberry Production Q&A Session is free, but space is limited. Register by calling the Ag-Info Centre at 1-800-387-6030. Bring your own bag lunch.
Published in Fruit
Join us Tue, Apr 24, 2018 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT for an interactive webinar on Climate Change - Impact on Fruit and Vegetable Crops.
Published in Webinars
March 5, 2018, Ithaca, NY – Stressed-out yeast is a big problem, at least for winemakers.

The single-celled organism responsible for turning sugars into alcohol experiences stress, which changes its performance during fermentation. For vintners, stressed yeast introduces difficult production dilemmas that can change the efficiency and even flavour during winemaking.

Patrick Gibney, assistant professor in the department of food science at Cornell University, is on a mission to help New York state wineries. Gibney is working out how metabolic pathways within a yeast cell determine those changes, with implications for how wine is produced.

“Yeast has many significant, perhaps underappreciated, impacts on the public,” said Gibney. “It is critical for producing beer, wine and cider. Yeast is also a common food ingredient additive and is used to produce vaccines and other compounds in the biotech industry. This tiny organism has an enormous impact on human life.”

Yeast has a long history as a model to understand the inner workings of eukaryote cell biology. Gibney, who has been researching yeast for the last 15 years, is interested in factors that affect whether cells become more resistant to stress.

“In other industries, product uniformity is prized, but for winemakers, the year-to-year variations are often more valuable,” Gibney said. “There are dozens of fungi and bacteria that could all make the process go very wrong – or they might add combinations of flavors or odors that are really good. It’s very complex.”

Gibney is collaborating with E&J Gallo Winery scientists and research teams as he applies his expertise in yeast biology to improve production across the wine industry.

In the summer of 2017, the company invited Gibney to meet people involved with wine production from different perspectives: microbiology, quality control, systems biology, and chemistry. Those conversations are already reaping benefits, as Gibney has outlined several major projects for which he and Gallo scientists are crafting research plans.

One project would tackle sluggish fermentations. “Sometimes you’re fermenting and it slows or stops completely. It’s often a microbiology problem,” Gibney said. He plans to gather samples from New York state wineries that have had this issue and inspect them at their most basic levels.

For Gibney, the research is an opportunity to benefit the wine industry in New York and beyond.

“It’s exciting to contribute to the scientific research already coming from CALS and help make advances that will help winemakers innovate with their products,” he said.
Published in Research
The frustration in the room was palpable.
Published in Associations
January 30, 2018, Edmonton, Alta – Sour cherries and haskap (blue honeysuckles) are excellent fruit crops to grow in Alberta, with lots of potential markets for these tasty berries. These are relatively new crops in Alberta, with many changes and developments in the industry over the past five years.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has organized a full day workshop in Olds, Alta., to provide new or potential sour cherry and haskap producers with information on all aspects of growing these crops, from planting to harvest.

Participants will receive information on varietal selection, establishment, maintenance and harvest of both fruit crops, as well as more detailed information that applies to more advanced growers, in an evening session.

Economic realities and the importance of understanding and identifying target markets will also be covered.

Date: February 21, 2018
  • 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. – Registration
  • 9 a.m. to noon – Dwarf sour cherry sessions
  • Noon to 12:40 p.m. – Lunch (lunch and snacks provided)
  • 12:40 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Economics and introductory haskap sessions
  • 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Advanced haskap sessions
Location: Pomeroy Inn and Suites at Olds College, 4601 46 Avenue, Olds, Alta.

Cost: $20 per person (plus GST), full day, includes lunch, snacks and reference materials for each farm operation; $10/person (plus GST) (afternoon/evening advanced haskap sessions only)

Participants are asked to register in advance by calling the Ag-Info Centre Registration line at 1-800-387-6030 before to Feb. 14, 2018, to assist with planning. On-line registration is also available.
Published in Fruit
January 9, 2018, Morell, PEI – The federal government is supporting new automated processes at Green Meadow Farms to help increase productivity, allowing employees to focus their skills in other aspects of the business.

A repayable contribution of $155,141 – provided through ACOA’s Business Development Program – will help Green Meadows purchase and install new automated sorting and bagging equipment at its Morell farm. The technology upgrades will improve efficiency and productivity at the operation.

“At Green Meadow Farms, we are continuously looking for ways to update our operation to compete in the global marketplace,” said Anneke Polstra, one of the founders of Green Meadow Farms Inc. “With this repayable contribution from ACOA, we are able to invest in new packaging technology that will support the work of our staff and help us keep up with growing industry demand.”

Green Meadow Farms Inc. was established in 1993 by Anneke and Reitze Polstra, and is now managed by brothers, Terry and Thys Polstra. The 2,000 acre farm has more than 1,000 acres of potatoes and grain in production with up to 14 full-time and part-time employees.

“Nearly 25 years ago, the Polstra family moved to the Island and began a successful farm operation,” said Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay. “Hard work and a continued commitment to updating the technology in their processing facility has allowed them to remain competitive and to create employment in rural P.E.I. I applaud their successes and am pleased to show support for this latest investment.”

Published in Federal
December 12, 2017, State College, PA – Unmanned aircraft (UA) – commonly called drones – are a new technology that can quickly collect, quantify, and record a variety of important data about orchards that many growers inherently measure by eye.

Simple examples include location of nonproductive trees, quantity of blossoms in the spring, stress on trees in the summer, and crop load in the fall. To this end, the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania (SHAP) is supporting an initiative by Joe Sommer and Rob Crassweller at Penn State University to help growers use UA for orchard management. While single images and/or videos captured during manually controlled flight can be useful, this project focused on flying autonomous missions to capture hundreds of images that can be stitched together into a much larger orthomosaic map of a block of trees or even a small orchard. For example, a DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter ($1,500) can inspect 60 acres over 15 minutes flight time at 200 feet above ground level (AGL) and reconstruct a large orthomosaic map of an orchard with one-inch per pixel resolution.

Efforts during the first year developed a user manual for mission planning and orthomosaic stitching of images as well as geo-referencing (locating latitude-longitude) for individual trees.

Growers who are interested in learning more details can visit Unmanned Aircraft for Agricultural Applications or send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Published in Research
November 27, 2017, Guelph, Ont – Collaboration between vegetable growers, a farm organization, and a grower co-operative is leading to improved plant health and more efficient vegetable production in the Holland Marsh.

The Bradford Co-op, the Fresh Vegetable Growers of Ontario and individual vegetable growers in the Holland Marsh are collaborating on a project with the University of Guelph to test innovative technologies that will make their Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs for key crops like onions and carrots more efficient and cost effective.

“We work together with industry partners and growers to fund and collaborate on our IPM programs in the Marsh,” explains Matt Sheppard, Bradford Co-op general manager. “There is tremendous value in early detection and this project is helping us identify issues in real time so we can provide the correct advice and solutions to growers.”

Weekly photos are taken of the vegetable fields in the marsh using an octocopter drone. Lead researcher Mary Ruth McDonald and her team at the University of Guelph’s Muck Crops Research Station run the IPM program and use the images for early detection of diseases and insects so growers can take appropriate measures to protect their crop and prevent or minimize damage.

Downy mildew, which causes lower yields and decreased storability, is the most damaging disease for onions in the area; Stemphylium leaf blight is also a significant concern.

“The technology we are able to access through this project makes our crop scouting program more effective and lets growers be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to crop protection,” explains Sheppard. “It’s very quick for a grower to have a problem area identified early and then decide how to treat it correctly to keep the crop healthy.”

Using information generated from the aerial images to prevent or minimize problems means less and more targeted use of crop protection materials, resulting in immediate savings of $5,000 to $50,000 per grower depending on the crop and the size of the farm.

More importantly, though, use of the technology ultimately ensures growers can keep supplying the market with quality produce and consumers have access to locally grown vegetables.

The marsh’s unique soils mean growers in the area have to work together to find solutions for their crop challenges, says Sheppard, adding that funding from Growing Forward 2 has been instrumental in bringing the collaboration together.

“Muck soil like ours doesn’t exist in other areas so we have to be self-sufficient and proactive to find solutions,” he says. “The technology is expensive so it’s something we wouldn’t be able to initiate on our own, but the investment with GF2 has allowed us to access the funds to make it happen.”
Published in Research
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