Production
A CanadaGAP requirement regarding qualifications for internal auditors for program participants enrolled in group certification (Option A3 and Option B) will be changing effective April 1, 2020.
Published in Federal
United Fresh Produce Association announces the release of the Produce Operations Training Checklists, a new tool for companies to use when developing onboarding resources for their warehouse and driver staff.
Published in Other
Collaboration between Canadian governments, industry, academia and other partners in plant health is essential to protect our resources from new and emerging risks, drive innovation and ensure that Canadian industry remains competitive and sustainable.
Published in Federal
Both federal and provincial governments remain dedicated to helping the ranchers, farmers and apiarists of British Columbia who have been impacted by the devastating effects of the wildfires throughout the province.
Published in Provinces
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
Cornell University’s berry breeding program is releasing two new varieties, which will be available for planting in spring 2019: a strawberry, Dickens, and a raspberry, Crimson Treasure.

Both varieties produce large fruits with vibrant colors that maintain peak flavor for longer than most heritage varieties.

The new berries are the handiwork of berry breeder Courtney Weber, associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences based at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, New York.

Dickens is a traditional, June-bearing strawberry with high yields and bright red fruit that continues bearing late into the season. The berries are firm, so they hold well on the plant and in the container, Weber said, but not so firm that they have no flavor.

The Dickens strawberry was first discovered in Weber’s breeding fields in 2002 and was originally noticed for the plant’s hardiness in surviving cold winters, making it especially suitable for New York and other cold-winter climates. Production trials throughout the region have shown Dickens to be an adaptable and consistent producer of high-quality fruit.

Weber has named his strawberry varieties after his favorite authors, including L’Amour, Clancy, Herriot, Walker and, most recently, Archer. Because this newest berry “yields like the dickens,” Weber decided to name it after prolific English author Charles Dickens.

The new raspberry, Crimson Treasure, is also very high-yielding, with larger fruit than traditional varieties grown in the region. The well-known Heritage raspberry produces fruit of approximately 2.5 grams, while Crimson Treasure produces berries twice as large – averaging between 4 to 6 grams. That’s typical of what you see with supermarket raspberries, Weber said.

Crimson Treasure is a fall-bearing raspberry with bright-red fruit that holds its color and texture well in storage.

The name continues another Weber tradition. This is the third raspberry in the “Crimson” series. Two previously released raspberries were named Crimson Giant and Crimson Night.

Cornell’s berry breeding program is the oldest in the country and is the only one in the Northeastern U.S. The university’s berries are grown all over the world: Crimson Treasure has been planted in trials in New York, California, Mexico and the European Union.

The berry program works with commercial partners across North America, in Morocco, Spain and Portugal. Heritage, the most commonly grown raspberry variety in Chile, was developed at Cornell, and two Cornell raspberry varieties, Crimson Night and Double Gold, are under license in Japan.
Published in Fruit
A University of Florida scientist will lead a team of researchers trying to help battle Fusarium wilt, a major tomato disease around the world.

Sam Hutton, an associate professor of horticultural sciences at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, will use a new $490,000 federal grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to find ways to develop improved varieties that contain genes to help tomatoes thwart Fusarium wilt.

Resistance to one type of Fusarium wilt comes from a gene known as I-3, said Hutton, a faculty member at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Florida. Several years ago, UF/IFAS researchers found this gene in wild tomato relatives and introduced it into commercial varieties through traditional breeding, he said.

But while the I-3 gene makes tomatoes more resistant to Fusarium wilt, it also reduces fruit size and increases the potential for bacterial spot disease, Hutton said.

“We are conducting the study to remedy this situation,” he said. “Less bacterial spot and larger fruit size should both translate into better returns for the grower.”

Hutton wants to know whether the negative impacts that come with the I-3 gene stem from genes that tagged along from the wild tomato relative.

“If this is the case, we should be able to eliminate these problems by getting rid of those extra genes by whittling down the size of chromosome that came from the wild species,” Hutton said. “Plants that lack the negative genes will be developed using traditional breeding techniques, and simple molecular genetic tools will help us identify which individuals to keep.”

In the project, scientists also are looking again to tomato’s wild relatives, searching for new sources of resistance to Fusarium wilt.

“These new resistance genes may not have any of the problems that we currently see with I-3,” Hutton said. “And they may provide novel mechanisms of disease resistance that could further improve breeding efforts.

“We expect these efforts to result in an expanded toolkit of resources that can be leveraged to develop improved Fusarium wilt-resistant varieties,” he said.
Published in Research
Soil advocates want potato growers to bump soil management up their priority list.
Published in Vegetables
A group of Canadian apple researchers, growers and marketers have joined forces to give one of Canada’s oldest and most famous fruit crops some new crunch in the marketplace.

Members of the National Apple Breeding Consortium say advances in the science of apple breeding and more efficient orchard designs are making it possible to bring new varieties more quickly to market to capitalize on consumer interest in apples with unique tastes and textures, while giving growers varieties that are more resistant to disease and insects.

Premium varieties like Gala, Honeycrisp and Ambrosia and high-density orchards helped the Canadian apple industry post its first increase in acreage in decades in 2016.

Taking a page from wine grapes, the consortium believes more regions of Canada could become renowned for their own unique apple varieties.

"It’s not necessarily about creating a new apple that can be grown across the country. It’s about finding that variety and that local growing environment that together produce a quality that you won’t find anywhere else," says Joyce Boye, science director for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s research centres in Agassiz and Summerland in British Columbia.

The consortium was created late last year to streamline apple development in Canada and boost returns to the industry and increase consumer satisfaction.

"The consortium allows key players in Canadian apple breeding to work more closely together and that’s a win-win for all involved," says Brian Gilroy, president of the Canadian Horticultural Council and an apple grower himself.

Genome Atlantic, Genome BC and Ontario Genomics also helped drive the creation of the consortium. The associations encourage the combination of biology, genetics and computer science to create economic opportunities in the resource and health sectors.

"Over the last three years, Genome Atlantic has been working hard with all the stakeholders to develop this consortium, and we are very pleased that it is now in place," says Richard Donald, a business development associate with Genome Atlantic. "With everyone pulling together, research will be shared across Canada, accelerating the development of new apple varieties suited to different regions of the country."

In the past, it took up to 25 years to develop a new apple variety and orchards were dominated by large trees that were difficult to pick. Today, gene sequencing is allowing apple breeders to find and select the traits they want much more quickly.

At the same time, growers are increasingly turning to high-density orchards featuring dwarf trees that are much easier to harvest.

Consortium members include Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dalhousie University, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Summerland Varieties Corporation, Réseau d’essais de cultivars et porte-greffes de pommiers du Quebec, and the Canadian Horticultural Council. Also represented are a number of major grower associations, including the Ontario Apple Growers Association, the BC Fruit Growers Association, Les Producteurs de pommes du Quebec and Scotian Gold Cooperative Ltd.
Published in Fruit
The Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG) and the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Processors Association (OF&VPA) are continuing with a bursary fund to support and encourage individuals pursuing a career in any aspect of the processing vegetable industry.

These organizations are working together to ensure that there are new individuals who will have the interest, skills, and abilities to further develop and grow this sector of Ontario’s agri-food economy.

Sponsor donations allow the OPVG and the OF&VPA to offer up to four bursaries of $2,000 each, for a total of $8,000.

These include bursaries in memory of former OPVG directors Jim Whitson and Ken Epp. Note that the Jim Whitson bursary is awarded to a student attending Ridgetown College. The award in memory of Ken Epp receives an additional $1,000 from the fund established in his name by the OPVG.

Applicants must be a resident of Ontario and registered as a full-time student at any college or university entering the second, third, fourth or post-graduate year of study which relates in some aspect to the processing vegetable industry.

Second-year Ridgetown horticulture student and 2018 bursary recipient Josephine McCormick used the award to help cover living expenses as she approached her goal of expanding on her current road-side fruit and vegetable stand.

Second-year Ridgetown agriculture student and 2018 Kenn Epp Memorial Award winner Natasha Lugtigheid used her bursary to cover tuition and living expenses and is currently working as a crop scout for a local, family-run Agronomy business.

Applications are due October 15th. The Bursary Application Form is available online at www.opvg.org
or on request from the OPVG office (519-681-1875).

Applications are accepted by regular mail at 435 Consortium Court, London, ON N6E 2S8, by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , by fax at 519-685-5719, or via online submissions at www.opvg.org/opvg-bursary/.
Published in Provinces
Research at the James Hutton Institute has led to the discovery of genetic variations which can help protect potato crop yields at high temperature, potentially providing potato breeders with a valuable tool in their quest to create varieties resilient to heat stress and suited to the requirements of growers, industry and retailers.
Published in Vegetables
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, along with Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, Stephen Fuhr, recently announced that the Government of Canada has secured market access for British Columbia fresh cherries to Japan. In 2017, Japan imported over $62.7 million (CAD) of fresh cherries from around the world.

Building on Canada's efforts to deepen its trade relationships and commitment to creating new export opportunities, this market access marks a key deliverable from the Minister's recent trade mission to Japan in March 2018. This is one of many opportunities that will help Canada to reach the target of $75 billion in annual agri-food exports by 2025.

Once the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) enters into force, Canadian agriculture and agri-food exports will benefit from preferential access to key Asian markets, including Japan.

Through the CPTPP, Japan's tariffs of 8.5 per cent on fresh cherries will be eliminated over five years from entry into force.

"The Government of Canada is pleased to announce the new market access for British Columbia fresh cherries to Japan. Our Government is committed to seeking market access opportunities across the globe to strengthen our bilateral trade relationships, put more money in the pockets of Canadian farmers, and grow the middle class in Canada,” MacAulay said.

Fresh cherry exports to Japan could be worth up to $8 million annually, according to industry experts. The increased access will advance the competitiveness of, and create new opportunities for, the fresh cherry sector.

"The BC Cherry Association is extremely pleased that efforts from government and industry have secured access to the Japanese market for Canadian cherries. Our growers and industry partners look forward to building long-lasting relationships with Japanese customers and cannot wait to see cherries branded with the maple leaf in stores across Japan," said Sukhpaul Bal, president, B.C. Cherry Association.
Published in Federal
A Purdue University entomologist suggests that high-tunnel fruit and vegetable growers carefully consider species and tunnel construction when using natural enemies to control pest insect species.

Laura Ingwell, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of entomology, studies pest-control methods in protected agricultural systems. She’s interested in determining best practices for fruit and vegetable growers using high tunnels, which can extend the growing season. Her previous research has shown that high tunnels can increase not only crop yield, but also damaging pests.

In research published in the journal Biological Control, Ingwell tested augmentative biological control, which employs predatory insects that prey on crop pests. Producers supplement natural enemies in the environment with commercially available predators. The study sought to determine the best way to retain the beneficial insects in the high tunnels, reducing their dispersal to neighboring habitats.

Ingwell used small-opening, 0.18 mm2 screens on a subset of tunnels to test a variety of predatory insects, including lady beetles, minute pirate bugs, spined soldier bugs and green lacewings on tomatoes and cucumbers. Three times in the space of a week, researchers collected and counted the predators, but few had survived. Meanwhile, crop pests thrived.

“We had a really low recapture rate of all the predators that we used — less than 10 per cent,” Ingwell said. “The screens did not work, which really surprised us.”

Ingwell said the heat created by the screens was the likely culprit. It might have driven some to escape through cracks and holes in screens that are inevitable with high tunnels. The heat, which reached average maximum temperatures of 98°F, might have also killed many of the predators. The physical barrier prevented other predators from naturally colonizing in these tunnels.

“Airflow was significantly reduced by the screens, which trapped so much heat that it changed the environment inside the tunnels making it inhospitable for the predators we released,” Ingwell said. “The mites and aphids, which damage crops, seem to be less affected by the heat stress. They may be able to better handle those temperatures, or they may reproduce so quickly that their populations were better able to survive.”

In another set of tunnels, flowers and chemicals meant to attract predatory insects were used. The flowers provide alternative food for the predators when prey populations are low and the chemicals, called herbivore-induced plant volatiles, attract predators because they mimic the scents created when pest insects damage crops, signaling to predators that a meal is nearby. In those tunnels, twice as many minute pirate bugs were retained.

Ingwell suggests growers consider using flower varieties that can be sold commercially so as not to waste space that might be used for crops. For this study, Benary’s giant golden yellow zinnia and fireworks gomphrena were effective.

The take-away message from Ingwell is that using beneficial insects can work in some scenarios, but getting the right balance is tricky.

“In general, augmentative biocontrol may not be worth the investment because in most cases, those insects aren’t staying or surviving long enough to have an effect,” Ingwell said. “Unless you alter those environments to keep the predators there, this may not be a cost-effective method for controlling crop pests.”

Ingwell is continuing to test screen sizes and different predator pests to improve pest control in high tunnels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded this study.
Published in Research
A new Wallaceburg food manufacturing facility is being heralded as great news by the agricultural community.

Whyte’s Foods will spend $16.5 million redeveloping a Wallaceburg property. The company has purchased the former ECR International Ltd., Olsen Division factory on Baseline Road. They plan to make the existing structure into a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, with operations beginning in the fall of 2019.

The Quebec-based company expects to create nearly 100 permanent year-round jobs in Wallacebureg. They are Canada’s largest producer of pickles, relish and maraschino cherries.

Many Chatham-Kent farmers already supply Whyte’s food manufacturing plant in Quebec with cucumbers and hot peppers. Whyte’s has a manufacturing plant in Quebec, but they must truck in a lot of cucumbers and peppers. A secondary plant in Wallaceburg will allow Whyte’s to produce so much more at harvest. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
Published in Companies
Employment and Social Development Canada has extended the deadline for commenting on the Primary Agriculture Review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

New deadline: September 30, 2018

CHC encourages all stakeholders to share their insight, ideas and experiences on four key themes:
  1. Program Eligibility and Structure - Explore the definition of Primary Agriculture and the use of the National Commodities List in the context of the TFW Program, as well as the structure of Primary Agriculture Stream.
  2. Wages and Deductions - Discuss the current wage structure for the Primary Agriculture Stream and how it relates to the needs of the agricultural sector.
  3. Housing in Primary Agriculture - Explore the current requirements for housing provided to temporary foreign workers and the impact of creating a national housing standard for the Primary Agriculture Stream.
  4. Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Processing - Discuss the current system for processing of LMIA applications, including possible measures to improve efficiency and service standards; and the potential impacts of an LMIA fee.
In addition to the themes identified above, stakeholders can choose to provide feedback on additional topics related to the Primary Agriculture Stream of the TFWP.

You are invited to participate in these consultations through one of the following options:
Provide written submissions by completing the submission template and sending it to:
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Participate in an online survey.

For more information on the Primary Agriculture Review, please contact the Sector Policy Division of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Published in Federal
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay, and Minister of Agriculture for British Columbia, Lana Popham, issued the following statement today in response to the British Columbia wildfires.

“The Governments of Canada and British Columbia are working closely together to ensure the safety of Canadians during this difficult time. In addition to other actions being taken by both our governments, officials are monitoring the wildfires and the potential impacts on farms.

“A suite of federal-provincial-territorial business risk management programs is available to help
farmers manage risks that threaten the viability of their farm, including disaster situations. We
encourage farmers to participate in these programs to help ensure they can access support during
these difficult times.

“Having been farmers ourselves, our thoughts go out to the farm families who have been affected by the wildfires. In British Columbia and across Canada, our hardworking farmers are the backbone of our economy. We are committed to supporting them at this difficult time as they work hard to get their safe, high-quality products to our kitchen tables.”

For more information on the current status of B.C. wildfires, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status
Published in Federal
Publication 360, Fruit Crop Protection Guide 2018-2019 is now available as a downloadable pdf file, through the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) website at the following links:

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/pub360/p360toc.htm

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/french/crops/pub360/p360toc.htm 

Individual chapters will be made available on the OMAFRA website soon. There will only be a limited number of copies of the print version of Publication 360 available through Service Ontario.

Published in Fruit
Move over Red Delicious – there’s a new top apple in town.

The U.S. Apple Association [US Apple] recently announced that after 50-plus years of being the number one produced apple in the United States, the Red Delicious has been surpassed by Gala.

“The rise in production of newer varieties of apples aimed at the fresh consumption market has caused demand for Red Delicious to decline,” said Mark Seetin, director of regulatory and industry affairs with US Apple, during the association’s 2018 outlook conference.

The top five apple varieties in 2018 – based on forecasted production numbers – are Gala, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp. Golden Delicious is expected to drop out of the top five to sixth place in production numbers.

”However, Red Delicious is important in the export market, where it makes up roughly half of our apple exports,” Seetin added.

The top five export markets for U.S. apples include Mexico, India, Canada, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has forecast the 2018 U.S. crop at 272.7 million bushels, making it the fourth largest recorded crop.

At $3.55 billion, farm gate value of the U.S. 2017 crop was up three per cent over 2016 and set a new record.

US Apple’s 2018 Outlook conference is currently underway in Chicago, IL.
Published in Fruit
Late blight has been confirmed on potatoes near Alliston, Ont.
Published in Vegetables
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.
Published in Vegetables
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