Production
Potato production has spiked in Alberta over the decades, according to ATB Financial. Last year, the province produced over two billion pounds of the crop, more than it ever had before.

Prince Edward Island continues to lead the country, according to the report, producing 2.3 billion pounds in 2017. Manitoba grew the second-most, followed by Alberta and New Brunswick. The four provinces made up over three-quarters of Canadian production.

While not leading Canada’s potato output, Alberta has had the strongest growth since 1997, with it more than doubling since then. Manitoba and New Brunswick saw 35 per cent and four per cent growth, respectively. Production in P.E.I. dropped 20 per cent. | READ MORE
Published in Vegetables
Spuds may not be the first thing that come to mind when you think about farming in Alberta, but potatoes are eating up a growing slice of the province's agriculture sector.

Alberta has about 21,500 hectares of farmland dedicated to potatoes, producing just over two billion pounds of spuds last year, putting the province third in the country behind Prince Edward Island (36,000 hectares) and Manitoba (27,235 hectares). | READ MORE
Published in Vegetables
The quality of a potato harvest might have more to do with how seeds were stored than how they were treated in the field the previous year.

Alison Nelson, agronomist and researcher at Carberry’s Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre, says warming up seed before planting may have more impact on a processing crop than most in-season management of the seed crop the year before.

The AAFC researcher is studying how planting date, harvest date, moisture and storage of a seed crop might impact a daughter crop grown from those seeds. To test this, Nelson designed a multi-year trial first manipulating seed crop management, then returning with those seeds to measure changes in the processing crop the next year. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
Published in Vegetables
When humans get bacterial infections, we reach for antibiotics to make us feel better faster. It’s the same with many economically important crops. For decades, farmers have been spraying streptomycin on apple and pear trees to kill the bacteria that cause fire blight, a serious disease that costs over $100 million annually in the United States alone.

But just like in human medicine, the bacteria that cause fire blight are becoming increasingly resistant to streptomycin. Farmers are turning to new antibiotics, but it’s widely acknowledged that it’s only a matter of time before bacteria become resistant to any new chemical. That’s why a group of scientists from the University of Illinois and Nanjing Agricultural University in China are studying two new antibiotics—kasugamycin and blasticidin S—while there’s still time.

“Kasugamycin has been proven effective against this bacterium on apples and pears, but we didn’t know what the mechanism was. We wanted to see exactly how it’s killing the bacteria. If bacteria develop resistance later on, we will know more about how to attack the problem,” says Youfu Zhao, associate professor of plant pathology in the Department of Crop Sciences at U of I, and co-author on a new study published in Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions.

The bacterium that causes fire blight, Erwinia amylovora, is a relative of E. coli, a frequently tested model system for antibiotic sensitivity and resistance. Studies in E. coli have shown that kasugamycin and blasticidin S both enter bacterial cells through two transporters spanning the cell membrane. These ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters are known as oligopeptide permease and dipeptide permease, or Opp and Dpp for short.

The transporters normally ferry small proteins from one side of the membrane to the other, but the antibiotics can hijack Opp and Dpp to get inside. Once inside the cell, the antibiotics attack a critical gene, ksgA, which leads to the bacterium’s death.

Zhao and his team wanted to know if the same process was occurring in Erwinia amylovora.

They created mutant strains of the bacterium with dysfunctional Opp and Dpp transporters, and exposed them to kasugamycin and blasticidin S.

The researchers found that the mutant strains were resistant to the antibiotics, suggesting that Opp and Dpp were the gatekeepers in Erwinia amylovora, too.

Zhao and his team also found a gene, RcsB, that regulates Opp and Dpp expression. “If there is higher expression under nutrient limited conditions, that means antibiotics can be transported really fast and kill the bacteria very efficiently,” he says.

The researchers have more work ahead of them to determine how Opp/Dpp and RcsB could be manipulated in Erwinia amylovora to make it even more sensitive to the new antibiotics, but Zhao is optimistic.

“By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of resistance, we can develop methods to prevent it. In the future, we could possibly change the formula of kasugamycin so that it can transport efficiently into bacteria and kill it even at low concentrations,” he says. “We need to understand it before it happens.”

The article, “Loss-of-function mutations in the Dpp and Opp permeases render Erwinia amylovora resistant to kasugamycin and blasticidin S,” is published in Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions [DOI: 10.1094/MPMI-01-18-0007-R]. Additional authors include Yixin Ge, Jae Hoon Lee, and Baishi Hu. The work was supported by a grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Published in Research
AgSafe, formerly known as Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA), is celebrating their 25th anniversary as British Columbia’s agriculture health and safety association.

Established in May of 1993, AgSafe has been the expert on safety in the workplace for B.C.’s agriculture industry and offers site-specific health and safety programs, training, evaluation and consultation services. AgSafe is also a COR program certifying partner and offers a Certificate of Recognition (COR) program for large and small employers.

The organization was established as a joint initiative of WorkSafeBC (Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia), the BC Agriculture Council and the Canadian Farmworkers’ Union as B.C.’s experts on workplace safety for the agriculture industry.

Wendy Bennett has been the AgSafe executive director since 2015. “I am really happy to be in this position and celebrating this milestone,” Bennett commented. “I’m proud of AgSafe and the work our team does. Our consultants and advisors work hard to deliver safety information and guidance to hundreds of employers and workers around the province every year, and we’ve seen a significant change over the past twenty-five years with better safety practices for those who work in agriculture.”

Don Dahr, former WorkSafeBC Director of Industry and Labour Services, is the newly elected chair of the AgSafe Board of Directors replacing long-time retiring chair, Ralph McGinn.

“I’ve been involved with, and supported this organization for many years,” says Dahr. “As a non-voting member on the AgSafe Board of Directors for five years my role was to provide guidance on issues affecting agriculture and safety initiatives. Over the years I’ve watched the organization make great strides in developing and offering safety resources and consultation to B.C.’s farmers and ranchers.”

Just over half of B.C.’s agriculture industry employers regularly use services, resources, or information from AgSafe and almost two thirds of agriculture employers have accessed AgSafe resources periodically.

AgSafe’s services are also available to B.C. based landscape trades and professionals, garden centres, wholesale and retail nurseries, suppliers, and tree services.

For more information about AgSafe services or agriculture workplace safety call 1-877-533-1789 or visit www.AgSafeBC.ca.
Published in Associations
Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently released its final decision on the future use of chlorothalonil, a fungicide used in agriculture including fruit and vegetable production.

“Under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act, the PMRA has determined that continued registration of products containing chlorothalonil is acceptable,” the report states.

“An evaluation of available scientific information found that most uses of chlorothalonil products meet current standards for protection of human health or the environment when used according to the conditions of registration, which include required amendments to label directions.”

Even so, some changes have been made to the chlorothalonil label, including cancellation of its use on greenhouse cut flowers, greenhouse pachysandra, and field grown roses (for cut flowers). As well, all chlorothalonil products currently registered as dry flowable or water dispersible granules must be packaged in water-soluble packaging. Buffer zones have also been revised and a vegetative filter strip is required.

You can review the decision and new label requirements by clicking here.
Published in Insects
Farmers across Ontario are welcoming the return of thousands of seasonal labourers who help the province’s fruit and vegetable industry thrive.

Approximately 18,000 workers from Mexico and the Caribbean are expected to be placed at Ontario farms this growing season as a supplement to local labour under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). Approximately 1,450 farms will benefit from the program this year.

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

“Men and women from overseas have been helping Ontario farmers solve a critical shortage of agricultural workers for more than half a century,” says Ken Forth, president of Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.), which administers the program. “At the same time, they’ve helped lift themselves and their families out of a punishing cycle of poverty in their home countries.”

SAWP is a “Canadians first” program, which means supplementary seasonal farm labour is hired from partner countries only if farmers cannot find domestic workers willing to take the same jobs.

Farmers who rely on the program to meet their labour needs do hire Canadians. The challenge is that not enough domestic workers — Canadians who may live in the rural areas where these farms are located — are interested in taking these positions, often because they are seasonal in nature.

Recent labour market research by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council cited SAWP as a key reason our horticultural industry is thriving.

In Ontario, the program plays a crucial role in helping the industry generate $5.4 billion in economic activity and approximately 34,280 jobs.

“If we want to continue having access to high-quality, fresh, local produce in Ontario, we need the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program to continue connecting farmers with the workers they need,” Forth says.

The vast majority of men and women who come to Ontario through SAWP believe the benefits of the program far outweigh any challenges or drawbacks, such as being away from their families for part of the year on a temporary basis.

Proof of this can be seen in the large number of workers who speak positively about the program and voluntarily return year after year — some of them to the same employers for decades. Approximately 85 per cent of the workers opt to return on repeat contracts in an average year.

Seasonal workers can earn as much as 10 times or more working here than they could in their own countries, if they fortunate enough to find employment. This income allows the workers to improve the standard of living of their families, educate their children and buy and operate businesses and farms at home.

Of the many different temporary worker programs in Canada, SAWP is the only one that offers 24-hour a day assistance to workers directly with people from their home countries. Each country participating in the program maintains a liaison service or consular office in Ontario to help look after the general welfare of agricultural workers and help them navigate any issues or complications they may face while working here.

For more information about Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, visit: www.farmsontario.ca.
Published in Profiles
Ontario’s average farmland values gained steam in 2017 while the Canadian average increase held relatively steady, a sign of a strong and stable agriculture economy, according to J.P. Gervais, chief agricultural economist for Farm Credit Canada (FCC).

The average value of Canadian farmland increased 8.4 per cent in 2017, following a gain of 7.9 per cent in 2016. Although average farmland values have increased every year since 1993, recent increases are less pronounced than the 2011 to 2015 period that recorded significant average farmland value increases in many different regions.

"With the steady climb of farmland values, now is a good time for producers to review and adjust their business plan to reflect variable commodity prices and slightly higher interest rates, assess their overall financial position and focus on increasing productivity,” Gervais said. “It’s also a good idea to have a risk management plan in place to protect your business against unforeseen circumstances and events.”

In Ontario, average farmland values increased by 9.4 per cent in 2017, following gains of 4.4 per cent in 2016 and 6.6 per cent in 2015.

While Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia reported the largest average increases, four provinces – British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island saw a smaller increase from the previous year.

Quebec and New Brunswick both showed increases that were fairly close to the national average, while Newfoundland and Labrador didn’t have enough transactions to fully assess farmland values in that province.

Some of last year’s average farmland value increase may also be a result of timing as most provinces recorded a faster pace of increase in the first six months of the year while interest rate increases didn’t occur until the latter half of 2017.

Recent increases in borrowing costs and expectations of further increases could cool the farmland market in 2018, according to Gervais.

FCC’s Farmland Values Report highlights average changes in farmland values – regionally, provincially and nationally. This year’s report describes changes from January 1 to December 31, 2017 and, for the first time, provides a value range in terms of price per acre.

“It’s important to remember that farmland prices can vary widely within regions due to many local factors that can influence how much value a buyer and seller attach to a parcel of land,” Gervais said.

He also stressed that every farm operation is unique and there may be a strong business case for buying more land, but not without carefully weighing the risks and rewards.

“Farm operations need to be cautious in regions where the growth rate of farmland values has exceeded that of farm incomes in recent years,” Gervais said.

“The good news is Canadian farms are generally in a strong financial position when it comes to net cash income and their balance sheets,” he said.

To view the 2017 FCC Farmland Values Report and historical data or register for the free FCC webinar on May 2, visit www.fcc.ca/FarmlandValues. For more information, visit: fcc.ca or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and on Twitter @FCCagriculture.
Published in Provinces
In the past 10 years, the invasive fruit fly known as the spotted-wing drosophila has caused millions of dollars of damage to berry and other fruit crops.

Biologists at the University of California San Diego have developed a method of manipulating the genes of an agricultural pest that has invaded much of the United States and caused millions of dollars in damage to high-value berry and other fruit crops.

Research led by Anna Buchman in the lab of Omar Akbari, a new UC San Diego insect genetics professor, describes the world’s first “gene drive” system—a mechanism for manipulating genetic inheritance—in Drosophila suzukii, a fruit fly commonly known as the spotted-wing drosophila.

As reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Buchman and her colleagues developed a gene drive system termed Medea (named after the mythological Greek enchantress who killed her offspring) in which a synthetic “toxin” and a corresponding “antidote” function to dramatically influence inheritance rates with nearly perfect efficiency.

“We’ve designed a gene drive system that dramatically biases inheritance in these flies and can spread through their populations,” said Buchman. “It bypasses normal inheritance rules. It’s a new method for manipulating populations of these invasive pests, which don’t belong here in the first place.”

Native to Japan, the highly invasive fly was first found on the West Coast in 2008 and has now been reported in more than 40 states.

The spotted wing drosophila uses a sharp organ known as an ovipositor to pierce ripening fruit and deposit eggs directly inside the crop, making it much more damaging than other drosophila flies that lay eggs only on top of decaying fruit. Drosophila suzukii has reportedly caused more than $39 million in revenue losses for the California raspberry industry alone and an estimated $700 million overall per year in the U.S.

In contained cage experiments of spotted wing drosophila using the synthetic Medea system, the researchers reported up to 100 percent effective inheritance bias in populations descending 19 generations.

“We envision, for example, replacing wild flies with flies that are alive but can’t lay eggs directly in blueberries,” said Buchman.

Applications for the new synthetic gene drive system could include spreading genetic elements that confer susceptibility to certain environmental factors, such as temperature.

If a certain temperature is reached, for example, the genes within the modified spotted wing flies would trigger its death. Other species of fruit flies would not be impacted by this system.

“This is the first gene drive system in a major worldwide crop pest,” said Akbari, who recently moved his lab to UC San Diego from UC Riverside, where the research began. “Given that some strains demonstrated 100 per cent non-Mendelian transmission ratios, far greater than the 50 percent expected for normal Mendelian transmission, this system could in the future be used to control populations of D. suzukii.”

Another possibility for the new gene drive system would be to enhance susceptibility to environmentally friendly insecticides already used in the agricultural industry.

“I think everybody wants access to quality fresh produce that’s not contaminated with anything and not treated with toxic pesticides, and so if we don’t deal with Drosophila suzukii, crop losses will continue and might lead to higher prices,” said Buchman. “So this gene drive system is a biologically friendly, environmentally friendly way to protect an important part of our food supply.”

Co-authors of the paper include: John Marshall of UC Berkeley, Dennis Ostrovski of UC Riverside and Ting Yang of UC Riverside and now UC San Diego. The California Cherry Board supported the research through a grant.
Published in Research
Syngenta Canada Inc., is pleased to announce the registration of Revus fungicide as a potato seed treatment for the suppression of pink rot and control of seed‑borne late blight in potatoes.

Pink rot is a devastating, soil-borne disease caused by the pathogen Phytophthora erythroseptica that thrives in wet, poorly drained soils. Infection typically takes place pre-harvest, as the pathogen enters tubers through the stem end and lenticels.

Tubers infected with pink rot will often decay during harvest and handling, which allows the pathogen to spread quickly from infected tubers to healthy tubers while in storage.

“Every field has the potential for pink rot,” says Brady Code, eastern technical lead, with Syngenta Canada. “It takes a very small number of infected tubers going over harvest equipment or getting by on the belt to put an entire season of work in jeopardy and leave growers with far fewer healthy potatoes to ship.”

Revus contains the active ingredient mandipropamid (Group 40) and works by protecting the daughter tubers from becoming infected with pink rot.

“Growers can use Revus as part of an integrated approach to target fields where they’ve had pink rot issues in previous seasons, on their more susceptible varieties, and in tandem with other in-furrow and post-harvest fungicides,” explains Shaun Vey, Seedcare and Inoculants product lead with Syngenta Canada.

Vey adds that Revus also provides control of seed-borne late blight (Phytophthora infestans). Syngenta research demonstrates that potatoes treated with Revus for seed-borne late blight have nearly perfect emergence, while untreated seed potatoes infected with late blight have a 20 to 30 per cent reduction in emergence.

“Seed-borne late blight can have a big impact on emergence over time,” explains Vey. “When used as a seed treatment, Revus can help prevent seed piece decay and the spread of disease spores from seed piece to seed piece.”

Revus is applied at 5.9-11.8 mL per cwt of seed (13-26 mL/100 kg of seed).

Following a seed treatment application of Revus fungicide, the first foliar fungicide application should be a product that does not contain a Group 40 active ingredient.

Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for mandipropamid, have been established for markets including Canada, the United States, Japan, and South Korea, in support of the seed treatment use pattern.

For more information about Revus potato seed treatment, please visit Syngenta.ca; contact your local Syngenta Representative or our Customer Interaction Centre at 1‑87‑SYNGENTA (1‑877‑964‑3682).
Published in Diseases
Todd Greiner Farms Packing, LLC., a leading Michigan asparagus grower/packer/shipper, recently revealed production and packaging plans for the 2018 retail season.

To facilitate growth, the company recently completed a 20,000 square-foot addition to its packinghouse which is the second expansion in the last 12 months and includes two new controlled atmosphere/cold storage rooms and two new shipping and receiving docks.

“We expanded the packinghouse so we could be more responsive to our retail customer’s preferences for value-added product, to increase production, and to modernize our expanding operations,” said Todd Greiner, CEO and president of Todd Greiner Farms.

An important addition to the expansion is a new “flow-wrap style” bagging line that will initially package fresh asparagus into new 16oz bags. The value-added microwave bags were introduced last season to meet the growing consumer trend for quick and easy meal solutions.

After a successful 2017 test, a few modifications were made to increase the package size from a 12 oz to 16 oz bag and make facility changes to increase efficiencies.

It is estimated that the new machine will be able to package 50 to 60 bags per minute compared to the previous hand-packing system of eight to 10 bags per minute.

This is a critical time, labor and cost savings as the company expects to handle 20 to 25 per cent more asparagus this year to support growing demand.

“We were basically at capacity last year. With existing customers asking us to do more, and new business on the horizon, we simply would not be able to keep pace without this much needed expansion,” Greiner said.

Now that all packing facilities are under one roof – previously the company operated two packing sheds in different locations – operations will be streamlined with a more efficient and simple process for tasks including shipping, inventory and food safety certifications.

Greiner notes that the expansion will also allow the company to increase production of other commodities including zucchini, summer squash and sweet corn.

The Michigan asparagus season typically runs early-May to late-June with promotable volumes expected for Memorial Day so it is time to set adds now.

In addition to its locally grown, domestic pedigree, Michigan asparagus is also known for being “hand snapped” versus ground cut. The end result of this harvest technique is an all green, all edible spear with more shelf appeal and more total yield per spear.
Published in Companies
Alberta farms are seeing more opportunities to sell their products directly to consumers, as more people want to know where their food comes from and how it is produced.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) has been tracking local food demand trends in various direct to consumer market channels, including on-farm retail, farmers’ markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) since 2004.

“Local food sales through direct to consumer market channels have more than doubled since 2008,” says Christine Anderson, local foods specialist with AF. “We are expecting sales from this past year to reach $1.2 billion.”

The Study of Local Food Demand in Alberta 2016 found that food spending at farmers’ markets, farm retail, and restaurants serving local food in Alberta exceeded $1.5 billion in that year.

The 2016 Census of Agriculture included a question about farms selling food directly to consumers. It found that about five per cent, or 2,062 farms in Alberta, sold food directly to consumers, below the national average of 12.6 per cent.

“That breaks down to one Alberta farm selling directly to consumers for every 1,972 Albertans,” says Anderson. “When compared to the national average of one direct to consumer farm for every 1,434 people, there is a clear opportunity for new farms to enter the direct sales market in Alberta.”

Of those 2,062 Alberta farms selling directly to consumers, 35 per cent were new entrants to direct to consumer market channels. Beef cattle farms represented the highest proportion of new entrants at 21 per cent, followed by apiculture at 12 per cent, and animal combination farming at 11 per cent.

More than two-thirds of the new entrants were small farms with annual sales less than $50,000, 18 per cent were medium-sized, and 10 per cent were large with sales in excess of $250,000.

Most farms, or 85 per cent, sold food and products directly to consumers either at a farm gate, stand, kiosk, or U-pick operation. About 20 per cent sold their product at farmers’ markets, and six per cent through CSA.

“Census data indicates that direct marketing farms yielded higher than average profitability compared to farms that did not sell directly to consumers,” explains Anderson. “The profitability ratios of some direct marketing farms were further improved if they sold value-added products through farmers’ markets or CSAs.”

Farms marketing directly to consumers also showed a higher average of gross farm receipts to farm area at $442 per acre, compared to farms that did not sell directly to consumers with $349 per acre.

“Direct marketing farms also revealed a higher percentage of female operators, at 38 per cent, than other types of farms, at 31 per cent,” notes Anderson. “Interestingly, Alberta has more female direct marketing farm operators than the national average, which is 36 per cent.”

The data also showed that young operators who were under the age of 35 were more involved in farm direct marketing in Alberta: Nine per cent compared to eight per cent province-wide in all agriculture operations.

For a more information on opportunities in direct to consumer marketing, visit Explore Local or contact Christine Anderson local foods specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
Published in Marketing
Opportunity is knocking.

Thanks to the newly launched feedingdiversity.vinelandresearch.com microsite, growers can now better evaluate whether world crops fit their business plan. They can also manage risks through proven agronomic practices for Canada’s growing season.

Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) has been investigating nontraditional crops with commercial potential as part of its Feeding Diversity: Bringing World Crops to Market research program.

Through this program, Vineland researchers and partners across the country identified best varieties of okra, Asian long and Indian round eggplant for local production. The research also determined optimal agronomic practices.

Vineland has consolidated these research findings in a newly launched site feedingdiversity.vinelandresearch.com, offering a wealth of information including specific varieties that can grow in Canada’s cold and short season climate along with best practices to minimize costs.

The site also offers cost of production calculators that estimate costs and returns for Asian long and Indian round eggplant and okra.

For more information, please contact: Michael Brownbridge, PhD, Research Director, Horticultural Production Systems 905-562-0320 x798, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Published in Vegetables
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
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

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Potato Growers of Alberta Annual General Meeting
Tue Nov 13, 2018 @ 8:00am - 05:00pm

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