Jul. 16, 2012, Glendale, CO - Nearly a year after the deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in more than two decades in the U.S., Colorado cantaloupes are back in supermarkets.

Farmers near the town of Rocky Ford are going on the offensive to restore the fruit's reputation a year after melons from one of the area's farms caused a nationwide listeria outbreak. They have banded together to trademark Rocky Ford melons and fund $800,000 worth of safety upgrades to prevent future outbreaks, but they must convince buyers that the melons are safe.

Last fall's listeria outbreak traced to Jensen Farms in eastern Colorado was blamed for the deaths of 30 people. It infected 146 people in 28 states with one of four strains of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

''When everything happened, after 125 years of growing a safe product, people were so upset,'' said Nathan Knapp, a Rocky Ford melon grower who drove to a Denver-area supermarket Friday to see the cantaloupes go on sale.

Some farmers who had raised melons for decades decided to stop growing Rocky Fords this year. Only about a third of the land devoted to growing the cantaloupes last year is now growing this year's crop, according to the USDA's Farm Service Agency.

''Quite a few people just dropped out,'' Knapp said. ''They had no interest anymore in dealing with the risk.''

But Knapp and a few dozen other farmers in Otero and Crowley counties decided to band together to restore confidence in Rocky Fords, melons with a distinct sweetness thanks to the area's hot, sunny days and cold nights. First the farmers patented the name Rocky Ford _ an important step because the source of the outbreak was 90 miles from Rocky Ford but was using the name.

Then the farmers overhauled their production practices to restore public confidence. They hired a full-time food safety manager to monitor melon-picking and started paying the seasonal pickers by the hour, not by the amount of cantaloupes picked. The farmers also built a new central packing shed where all Rocky Ford-labelled melons will be washed with soap and a chlorine oxide, then rinsed with well water tested for contamination.

After being washed, the melons will be cooled to reduce condensation and then packed into boxes labelled with codes traceable to the fields where the melons were grown. The boxes will be packed with slips that interested shoppers can scan using a smartphone to read about where their melons originated.

The Food and Drug Administration said last year that melons at Jensen Farms likely were contaminated in the operation's packing house. The FDA concluded that dirty water on a floor, and old, hard-to-clean equipment probably were to blame.

''We've built a brand new system, top to bottom,'' said Michael Hirakata, a farmer and head of the new Rocky Ford Growers Association. ''It's early, but so far it's working well.''

Jensen Farms, located in Holly, Colo., has filed for bankruptcy and isn't growing melons this year.

Lawsuits against Jensen Farms are still pending but may be settled this fall, lawyers said last month. The lawsuits were filed by people who were sickened or who had a family member die after the outbreak.

''I would say we are very close,'' Jim Markus, an attorney for Jensen Farms, said last month.

The bigger challenge facing Colorado melon growers may be restoring public confidence in the cantaloupes. So far, the growers' investments seem to be paying off.

Hirakata, who has 120 acres of Rocky Ford melons, said prices are up. He said boxes of Rocky Ford are wholesaling for $17 to $20, up from about $14.50 last year. The fall listeria outbreak happened after almost all the crop was in and sold, so this is the first market response farmers have seen to the outbreak.

A spokeswoman for King Soopers, the supermarket chain that started selling Rocky Ford cantaloupes Friday, said there was no plan to reduce orders for the melons this year.

''We support the product and believe this product is safe to consume,'' King Soopers spokeswoman Kelli McGannon said.

A few shoppers said they recalled last year's problems but didn't fear buying more cantaloupe.

''I remember the outbreak of course, but I figure if it's happening again, they would take the melons off the shelf,'' said Cindy Lewis, a Glendale woman who picked up a melon Friday. ''There could be a risk from any food, or from just walking down the street, you know? I'm not going to worry about it.''

Another shopper, Paul Borger, picked up a fruit tray including cantaloupe to serve guests. The tray's melon wasn't from Rocky Ford, but Borger said he didn't check either way before putting the tray in his buggy.

''I'm not worried. Whatever the problem was, they got it fixed,'' Borger said.

Published in Marketing

Jul. 13, 2012, Waterloo, ON - The Canadian government has invested $1.5 million for Martin's Family Fruit Farm to create a new line of apple crisps and cider. The project is expect to, in the next four year, increase demand for Canadian apples, offer a premium to growers on second-grade apples and create up to 30 new full-time positions.

Photo: (Left to right) Todd Cowan (Woolwich Township Mayor), Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, Kevin Martin (President, Martin's Family Fruit Farm) and MP Harold Albrecht (Kitchener-Conestoga) trying apple crisps at the announcement.

Kevin Martin, the president of Martin's Family Fruit Farm says that this project stemmed from strategic planning throughout the company as a way to create value-added products from lower grade apples. "We experimented with various products and we landed on dehydrated apple crisps because we felt it fit into our company objectives as well as being on trend with consumers desire for a healthy snack," he said.

The farm supplements over 60 per cent of its apply supply with produce from 40 local Ontario growers. The investment in Martin's Family Fruit Farm will help dozens of local farmers maximize their resources and increase their competitiveness with the United States.

Martin added that the $1.5 million government investment will be used to purchase production line equipment, primarily a large dehydrator, and to help cover marketing expenses.

The new production line will slice apples into rings (with the skin left on), and dehydrate and package them without any additives or preservatives. The production equipment and processing capacity required for these types of crisps does not currently exist in the sector. The by-products from apple crisp production will be used to produce apple cider.

The costs of the dehydrated apple snacks and cider have yet to be finalized, but Martin says that they will be available starting November 2012 in various retail outlets.

For more information, visit Martin's Family Fruit Farm.

Published in Marketing

July 10, 2012, Ottawa, Ont – The CanadaGAP On-Farm Food Safety (OFFS) Program is in need of auditors who are qualified to audit fruit and vegetable farms to ensure they are meeting the program’s standards for certification.

Interested people can become a CanadaGAP auditor by successfully completing an Auditor Training Course. QMI-SAI Global, a certification body for the CanadaGAP program, will be holding a CanadaGAP Auditor Training Course September 24 to 28, 2012 in Toronto. The five-day course, including the final exam, is designed to train potential auditors, as well as internal auditors, specifically for the CanadaGAP program. It includes an intensive review of the OFFS manual requirements, with the incorporation of practical examples specific to commodity or region, and an optional HACCP overview unit.

To find out more about the Auditor Training Course or CanadaGAP auditor qualifications, visit our website.

To obtain a registration form and pre-course assignment or for further information, please contact: Maryana Glavan, training coordinator, QMI-SAI Global, 416-401-8708 Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Or visit the QMI-SAI Global website.


Published in Food Safety

July 9, 2012 – The key thing for growers to remember with regards to sprayer maintenance is to ensure the sprayer is mechanically sound and liquid tight. It should also be safe to run down the road and the boom must allow for easy shutoff, says Helmut Spieser, agriculture engineer with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

Sprayers need to be calibrated at the start of every season, and while farmers do not like to do this, they cannot rely on a rate controller to do a proper job. Rate controllers maintain precise sprayer output (GPA) but they do not calibrate your sprayer.

Always check nozzles for wear and spray pattern. Carry a couple of spare nozzles on the sprayer in case of a plug up. “A plugged nozzle should never come in contact with your lips,” he stressed. Use compressed air back at the shop for a thorough cleaning.

Growers should consider purchasing a wind meter to accurately measure wind speed and a compass to determine wind direction. These parameters should be recorded in your spray record every time you spray just in case someone challenges you. If there is a drift concern, and you end up in court, the Ministry of Environment (MOE) will want a (wind speed and direction) number, he advised.

Always maintain proper spray records, and have on hand the product label of what you sprayed, the MSDS sheet and the PCP number for that product. These contain the vital information needed by the Ontario Poison Centre (800 268-9017). Should some person be splashed, the Ontario Poison Centre will need that product number so they know how to treat injuries.

You should also have a spills kit on hand and display the phone number for the Spills Action Centre (800-268-6060).

When should you call the Spills Action Centre? Spieser said, for example, if a sprayer wheel spindle breaks while on the road and the leakage could fill your five-gallon pail in one hour, call the spills action centre. It is a minor spill but on a public road so call them promptly.

“Don’t worry about how much material has to spill before calling, just phone. That way the MOE knows your situation and what to expect when they get to the scene. You have to remember that MOE could get five or more calls from good Samaritans that could make the situation sound huge. But if you already called them then they aren’t going to get too worried,” he added.

For sprayer cleanup and clean out, rinse the sprayer daily after use so the product does not have time to adhere to the hoses, inner tank surfaces or nozzles. This recommendation is based on research conducted in the US 25 years ago that states daily rinsing removes 95 per cent of the product residue.

Always use fresh water and agitate for 10 minutes with the tank agitation system and tank rinse nozzles. “It should look like a dishwasher working in there,” he said. Spray the rinsate through the boom in the field you just sprayed. Be sure to remove and clean all screens and strainers. Thoroughly wash out the chemical inductor and any measuring containers. Pressure wash the outside of the sprayer, spray boom, tractor and tires to remove herbicides so, “you’re not a big wick weeder going into the next crop,” he said. If going into a sensitive crop, ensure you follow the label instructions for the proper rinsing regimen and use a cleaning agent.

Also consider removing the boom end caps to flush out product residue. A full wet boom does not slosh water around so residue will always be in the dead end of the pipe at the end cap, he warned. He then showed slides of a damaged tomato crop sprayed with what they thought was a ‘clean sprayer.’ The first 40 feet into the row were burned by the previous herbicide, and Spieser suspects it was due to the residue left in the end caps. This was a sprayer the researchers were using and thought clean.

On a self-propelled machine, with a 90-foot five section boom, there are up to 11 pipe sections with 22 end caps. To save time when flushing these pipe sections, Spieser suggests replacing the end caps with quarter turn ball valves. “Open them up while flushing individual boom sections with water and in a few seconds, it’s clean,” he said. These flushing valves may not come standard from manufacturers. He suggests growers buy the best machine for their operation and then modify it themselves with these clean-out valves.

To determine the wear of your spray nozzles, it is best to test the flow rate and spray pattern. “Manufacturers suggest replacing nozzles at 110 per cent of their rated flow,’” says Spieser. But if all nozzles have a consistent flow rate and the pattern is good, calibrate your sprayer and keep spraying, he advises.

If you have to change nozzles then you have to ask yourself what are your application priorities, namely; coverage, penetration, drift, and whether you are doing broadcast, directed or band spraying.

“You must also ask yourself what is the pressure capability of your sprayer, what are the crops to be sprayed, what are the pests, and what are the product modes of action,” he asked. Other concerns include carrier volume, the sprayer speed range and the type of boom you are operating, whether air-assist, electrostatic or conventional.

Such factors lead to determining the proper nozzle for your sprayer. Many growers have hollow cone, solid cone and flat fan nozzles readily available at home but there are also low pressure air induction and high pressure air induction tips available.

“All nozzles have three functions: they meter flow, make droplets and distribute droplets in a predetermined pattern, he said.” And the proper nozzle is needed to match your machine with the product and target to be sprayed.

“Depending on what you spray, droplet size matters,” he said, and there are now eight droplet size classification categories ranging from extremely fine to ultra coarse.

Fungicides and insecticides require a narrower droplet spectrum of fine-medium to medium for an effective spray. Herbicides, however, can be applied with anything from a medium spray or larger.

A major factor in nozzle selection is not only the product, and the capacity of the sprayer but the possibility of spray drift. The latest trend is toward the air induction nozzles simply because their significant drift reduction achieved by the production of larger droplets. Growers may need to adjust sprayer pressure to ensure drift reduction and/or effective crop coverage, says Spieser.

He recommends the following suggestions in nozzle selection:

  • calculate the size of nozzle required (GPA, nozzle spacing & travel speed)
  • determine the droplet size spectrum for the job at hand
  • choose a nozzle type that will deliver the spray quality at a reasonable pressure
  • evaluate the drift potential of your choice
  • select a different nozzle if necessary
  • conduct an evaluation of the coverage and penetration of the spray to the areas of concern in the crop
  • consider a nozzle that has a multipurpose capability
Published in Spraying

Jul. 6, 2012, Ottawa, ON - Fifteen Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals were awarded at a banquet dinner at 4-H Canada’s Annual General Meeting in St. John’s, Newfoundland last month.

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal honours Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life, who have built and continue to build this caring society and country through their service and achievements.

Of the 60,000 medals designated for Canadians, 33 were given to the Canadian 4-H Council to honour the significant contribution of individuals to the 4-H movement in Canada, with 13 to be presented nationally and 20 provincially.

The national Diamond Jubilee Medal recipients were honoured in St. John’s in front of colleagues, 4-H members, fellow volunteers and staff. The recipients, in alphabetical order, are:

Rob Black, President, Canadian 4-H Council
Lyndon Carlson, Former President, Canadian 4-H Foundation
George Klosler, Former President, Canadian 4-H Council
Marie Logan, Former President, Canadian 4-H Council
Mike Nowosad, Chief Executive Officer, 4-H Canada
Valerie Pearson, Vice-President, Canadian 4-H Council, and Executive Director, Saskatchewan 4-H Council
Judy Shaw, Former President, Canadian 4-H Council
Bertram Stewart, Former President, Canadian 4-H Council
Matthew Tweedy, Chair, Canadian 4-H Council’s Youth Advisory Committee
Dori Gingera-Beauchemin, Former President, Canadian 4-H Foundation
Elizabeth Crouse, Former President, Canadian 4-H Council
Robert McAuley, Former President, Canadian 4-H Council
James Hewitt, Former President, Canadian 4-H Foundation
Hilda Bellows, Co-Chair, provincial 4-H council, and long-time member of the 4-H program
Gerry Sullivan, Former President, provincial council, and long-time member of the 4-H program
“The presentation in St. John’s, amongst long-time 4-H volunteers and supporters was wonderful” said Erin Brophy, Communications and Marketing Manager at 4-H Canada. “This medal recognizes the dedication, commitment and passion for 4-H in Canada of individuals who are striving to make 4-H the best youth organization in Canada.”

For nearly a century, the 4-H program has been providing youth across Canada with the skills and confidence to grow into leaders of tomorrow. Without these volunteers, the program would not be on the precipice of celebrating 100 years, or have the solid foundation for future growth.

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal has been created in celebration of Her Majesty’s 60th anniversary of accession to the throne as Queen of Canada.
About 4-H in Canada

One of the country's longest-running and most respected youth organizations, 4-H allows Canadian youth to explore, learn and discover, while expanding their horizons. In 2013, 4-H will celebrate its 100th Anniversary, and 100 years of creating leaders across Canada. More than 8,000 trained volunteer leaders help more than 26,000 4-H members develop self-confidence and learn a wide variety of skills through hands-on project work. For more information about 4-H in Canada and the 100th anniversary, please visit

Published in Vegetables

July 6, 2012 – A study conducted at the University of Barcelona in Spain shows that organic tomatoes contain higher levels of phenolic compounds than conventional tomatoes. Phenolic compounds are organic molecules found in many vegetables with proven human health benefits.

The UB’s Natural Antioxidant Group, headed by lecturer Rosa M. Lamuela, had previously proved that organic tomato juice and ketchup contain higher polyphenol content than juice and ketchup made from conventionally grown tomatoes.

Lamuela points out that during the production process of ketchup and juice, there are lower levels of polyphenols; therefore it was necessary to verify that the differences observed in previous studies had their origin in the tomatoes themselves and not in the technology used during the production process.

Polyphenols – natural antioxidants of plant origin – are considered to be of great nutritional interest because their consumption is associated with the prevention of cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, and some forms of cancer. The team behind the study analyzed a variety of tomato called Daniela and determined its phenolic profile by using liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. With this method, the research group of the UB could identify 34 different phenolic compounds in tomatoes.

“The benefit of taking polyphenols through foods is that they contain a wide variety of such molecules, which are increased,” said Lamuela.

This would be more beneficial to health than the intake of supplements. Tomatoes also contain lycopene and other carotenoids, and vitamin C.

Differences between organic and conventional tomatoes can be explained by the manure used in both cases.

“Organic farming doesn’t use nitrogenous fertilizers; as a result, plants respond by activating their own defense mechanisms, increasing the levels of all antioxidants,” explains Anna Vallverdú Queralt, who was also involved in the research.

“The more stress plants suffer, the more polyphenols they produce,” said Lamuela.

Numerous scientific investigations show that the consumption of these antioxidants has numerous health benefits. Researchers claim that more studies of clinical evidence are still needed to be able to state that organic products are truly better for our health than conventional ones. Lamuela would like to carry out a study with humans comparing organic and conventional tomato consumers.

Published in Marketing

July 6, 2012, St. Paul, MN – Few crop pests have received as much attention as the brown marmorated stinkbug – and for good reason. Aside from heavily damaging various crops in the mid-Atlantic U.S., this economically important pest has been also been spreading westward across the U.S.

The latest Focus on Tomato presentation, authored by Dr. Tom Kuhar, associate professor of entomology at Virginia Tech, helps consultants, growers, applied researchers, and other practitioners better understand and manage the brown marmorated stinkbug (BMSB), particularly in tomato crops.

The presentation includes:

  • A short biological and ecological background of the BMSB
  • Illustrations of the BMSB and the damage they cause
  • Population data for tomato crops
  • Insecticide efficacy data for managing the BMSB
  • Best BMSB management practices

This presentation is open access through October 31, 2012 and can be viewed HERE.

Users can view other recent webcasts in the Focus on Potato resource HERE.

Published in Research

July 6, 2012, Guelph Ont – Farmers now have access to support for on-farm projects that will help protect Ontario’s lakes, rivers and other water sources. The new opportunity will provide cost-share funding for the 2012 cropping year for commercial greenhouses, landscape nurseries and vegetable farms to implement best management practices (BMP) that focus on improving water quality, water quantity and water management issues.

“We are pleased this new support is available to help affected farmers implement water management environmental improvement projects identified in their Environmental Farm Plans,” says Joan McKinlay, president of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). “Farmers across Ontario make a valuable contribution to our provincial economy and they recognize the importance of operating their farm businesses in ways that are sustainable and environmentally responsible.”

To qualify for funding of either 30 or 50 per cent up to the category caps, eligible Ontario greenhouse, landscape nursery and vegetable farm businesses must have a peer-reviewed Third Edition Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) in place. As well, they must have selected a BMP from a pre-approved list specific to this funding opportunity that relates directly to an action identified in their EFP. Portions of six specific BMP categories are eligible for cost-share funding under this new initiative:

  • Horticultural facilities runoff control,
  • Upland and riparian area habitat management,
  • Improved pest management,
  • Nutrient recovery from wastewater,
  • Irrigation management, and
  • Resource Planning.

“We welcome the launch of this program to help with water management in the commercial greenhouse, landscape nursery and vegetable sectors,” says Mark Wales, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). “On-farm efforts to protect our water quantity and quality will provide benefit to all Ontarians.

Cost-share funding will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. The eligible invoice date for all projects is September 15, 2011 or later; the claim submission deadline is December 15, 2012. For more specific details, farmers are encouraged to contact their local OSCIA representative or visit

Published in Fruit

July 4, 2012 – Downy mildew was confirmed in a pickling cucumber field in Elgin County on July 3rd, 2012. The level of disease in this field is significant with up to 20 per cent of the canopy showing infection.

All cucumber growers in Ontario are reminded to maintain an aggressive preventative spray program to guard their crop against this disease. Spray a recommended downy mildew fungicide every seven days. If possible, apply the fungicide before a predicted rainfall or irrigation event. The 2012 Ontario Downy Mildew Control Recommendations are posted at:

Scout all cucumber fields regularly to monitor for infection and assess the effectiveness of your spray program.

Published in Vegetables

July 4, 2012, Twin Falls, ID – It would appear the bacterium that causes the potato disease zebra chip is slowly heading north.

The bacterium – which Idaho agriculture officials say could devastate state’s potato crop – was recently found in a Twin Falls County farmer’s field.

Tests at the University of Idaho showed positive results for Liberibacter, the bacterium that causes zebra chip, said Erik Wenninger, assistant professor of entomology for the University of Idaho’s Kimberly Research and Extension Center.

The substance was found on adult psyllids adhering to a sticky card put in a commercial plot as part of testing for potential diseases in 14 south-central Idaho fields. Wenninger posted a warning to farmers and others July 2 on the Pacific Northwest Pest Alert Network. READ MORE

Published in Vegetables

Jul. 4, 2012, Windsor-Essex, ON - A recent series of storms caused a massive amount of damage to crops in the region, leaving farmers with little to do but count their losses.

According to an article from The Windsor Star, the hail was the size of ping-pong balls, wind surged at speeds at more than 100 km/h and may have disappeared after only 20 minutes.

Joe Gorski had 600 acres of corn and winter wheat affected by the storm - corn that was six feet tall is now about two or three feet, and is a writeoff, he said.

"It's like someone took buckshot and just kept shooting at the crop for 20 minutes."

For more information on the storm's damage and the clean-up in the Windsor-Essex area, please see The Windsor Star.

Published in Vegetables

July 3, 2012 – An announcement regarding assistance for apple growers affected by this past spring's sporadic weather is taking place July 4 near Waterloo, Ont.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz is scheduled to make an announcement "in support of the Ontario apple industry" at Martin's Family Fruit Farm, located at 1420 Lobsinger Line near Waterloo, Ont. The announcement is expected to occur around 3 p.m.

A press release announcing the event was distributed the afternoon of July 3, 2012.

Published in Federal

June 28, 2012, Montreal, QB - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz delivered the keynote address at the 26th Annual Convention of the Canadian Special Crops Association (CSCA), where he was honoured as this year's recipient of the President's Award. In keeping with the convention's theme, Supplying the World, Minister Ritz outlined the many reasons why the Harper Government continues to help the special crops and pulse industries increase international sales.

"Our Government is working hard to help Canada's special crops and pulse sector supply the world with more of their healthy, superior products," said Minister Ritz. "By giving special crops producers the opportunity to bring their products to new markets, the Harper Government is helping increase sales, which in turn creates jobs and economic growth for Canada."

In his speech, Minister Ritz emphasized the importance of deepening trade and investment opportunities for the sector through the negotiation of free trade agreements with major pulse and special crops customers, such as the European Union, India and Morocco. During his recent trade mission to Morocco, Minister Ritz met with Canadian industry representatives and Moroccan pulse and special crops buyers to find out what the Government can do to strengthen this relationship. He also visited the Canada Pavilion at the Salon International de l'Agriculture au Maroc (SIAM), Africa's largest agricultural trade show, which showcased Canadian pulses.

The Harper Government is providing exporters with sales opportunities in new markets, a commitment most recently underscored by news that the first-ever commercial shipment of Canadian alfalfa hay entered China after Canada secured market access. By focusing on science-based trade, regulation harmonization and the development of internationally recognized phytosanitary standards, including maximum residue levels for crop inputs, the Harper Government is working to ensure more predictable trade for pulse and special crops.

The Harper Government recognizes the importance of efficient and effective trade routes as the lynchpin to new opportunities for special crops and pulse industries in global markets. In his speech, the Minister acknowledged the tremendous work being done by the Canadian Special Crops Association and Pulse Canada on the Crop Logistics Working Group, which continues to seek concrete solutions to supply-chain challenges. Furthermore, the Government is continuing to implement its response to the Rail Freight Service Review to address issues with rail freight service.

Canada is the world leader in the export of peas, lentils, canary seed and mustard seed, with total exports of pulses and special crops reaching $2.5 billion in 2011.

Published in Federal

June 26, 2012, Toronto, ON - A new report released today by BMO Bank of Montreal reveals what Canadians feel is a significant impact on farming as a result of youth moving from farms to urban centres.

The BMO Farm Survey, conducted by Pollara, asked Canadians living in both rural and urban areas what they feel are the challenges as demographics shift for farm operators. The survey revealed the following:

  • Family farms: 62 per cent saw a negative impact on family farms
  • Transfer of Knowledge: 61 per cent believe the migration impacts the ability of farmers to transfer knowledge to the next generation
  • Rural Way of Life: 55 per cent believe the move of young people from rural to urban areas has a negative impact on the 'rural way of life'

These concerns are expressed by urban dwellers to the same extent as rural dwellers - and sometimes more.

According to migration trends from Statistics Canada, rural areas have experienced a net reduction of young people under the age of 25. Furthermore, based on the Census of Agriculture, farm operators under the age of 35, as a percentage of total farmers, declined from 9.1 per cent in 2006 to 8.2 per cent last year.

"A farm is more than a business; it's vital to Canada's economic strength, and this survey highlights the value Canadians place on family farms being able to survive and prosper," said David Rinneard, National Manager, Agriculture, BMO Bank of Montreal. "BMO has been a major supporter of the agriculture industry and has committed $10 billion in additional credit over the next three years to businesses across Canada."

"It is easy enough to take agriculture for granted when you have a grocery store full of food, but to sustain this, we need young people in agriculture. A main area of focus for the Canadian Federation of Agriculture is intergenerational transfers and building long-term profitability into farming operations," said CFA President Ron Bonnett. "BMO's study shows all Canadians are sharing similar concerns and recognize the importance of the sector, and this is encouraging. Broad public support is what's needed to secure the future of our farms and food," added Mr. Bonnett.

Survey results cited are from online interviews with a random sample of 1,011 Canadians 18 years of age and over, conducted by Pollara between May 18 and May 23. A probability sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/-3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

BMO's roots in the Canadian agricultural sector date back to 1817, when it first began working with farmers. BMO Bank of Montreal provides customized loan and deposit solutions to Canada's agri-business owners, the single largest core commercial sector that the bank serves. For Canadian businesses, including those in the agriculture and agri-food sectors, looking to innovate, enhance productivity, and grow their business, BMO Bank of Montreal recently announced a credit boost of $10 billion over the next three years.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $525 billion as at April 30, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions. For more information, visit:

Published in Research

June 20, 2012 – Captures of spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) in monitoring traps have increased recently in Michigan, with higher numbers of flies trapped as well as an increasing number of monitoring sites showing activity. In the state’s monitoring network, total captures have climbed from one female SWD trapped in the week of May 29, to six males and 16 females in the week of June 8. In the past week, seven males and 22 females have been trapped.

At this time, SWD activity has been detected in Van Buren, Allegan and Ottawa counties. The majority (86 per cent) of the female SWD trapped this past week have been caught in monitoring traps baited with a yeast-sugar solution, rather than in traps baited with apple cider vinegar. This solution can be made by mixing 1 tbsp of active dry yeast, 4 tbsp of sugar and 12 oz of water. This will make enough liquid for multiple traps. For more information on how to build traps to monitor SWD, take a look at the information on the MSU IPM Spotted Wing Drosophila website.

The catches of SWD a full month earlier than in 2011 highlight the need for monitoring so farmers know where and when to protect susceptible fruit. It is also important to know that berries become susceptible to infestation by SWD only when the fruit start to soften during ripening. This means that crop protection activities should be focused on the earliest varieties, whereas the later varieties that still have green berries are not yet at risk.

There is a number of insecticide options with activity against SWD. Check local spray recommendations.

Published in Insects

June 15, 2012 – Cucurbit downy mildew was confirmed on June 14th, 2012, in a cucumber field in Wayne County, Ohio. This significantly increases the risk of infections occurring in Ontario. All cucumber growers should begin a preventative fungicide program immediately. Use one of the recommended targeted downy mildew fungicides every seven days.

DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE SYMPTOMS TO SPRAY. Unprotected crops are at the highest risk of experiencing serious losses to this disease. READ MORE

Published in Food Safety

June 12, 2012, Germany – Bayer CropScience announced that it has agreed to purchase the watermelon and melon seed business of Abbott & Cobb Inc., a privately-held seed company headquartered in Feasterville, Pa.

The acquisition will strengthen the vegetable seed business of Bayer CropScience, which operates under the Nunhems brand. Around 30 employees of Abbott & Cobb are expected to join the vegetable seed business of Bayer CropScience. Closing is expected within a few weeks. Financial details were not disclosed.

Abbott & Cobb markets watermelon in the U.S. with increasing business in Mexico, Australia and Asia. Abbott & Cobb will continue with its remaining business with crops such as sweet corn, pepper and squash.

“The demand for healthy fruits and vegetables is increasing worldwide, and this segment is of crucial importance for Bayer CropScience,” said Sandra E. Peterson, CEO of Bayer CropScience.

“We are excited to join forces with Bayer CropScience's vegetable seeds organization with our watermelon and melon business – foremost because of its commitment to providing innovative solutions to vegetable growers throughout the world,” said Art Abbott, CEO of Abbott & Cobb. “Together we will build on the long tradition of our company offering high-quality products and excellent service.”

Published in Companies

June 11, 2012, Dorchester, Ont – The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has granted a second User Requested Minor Use Label Expansion (URMULE) for Ranman 400SC fungicide. Control of Pythium damping-off and Pythium root rot in greenhouse transplants of tomato, pepper, cucumber, lettuce and Brassica vegetables, have been added to the label. Ranman fungicide previously received an URMULE in Spring 2012 for suppression of white rust on spinach.

Ranman is a Group 21 product with the active ingredient cyazofamid. It is also registered for use on carrots, cucurbits and potatoes for several other diseases.

With this latest registration, Ranman can now be used for control of Pythium damping-off and Pythium root rot on greenhouse transplants of specified vegetables, at a rate of 30 millilitres per 100 litres of water. Ranman should be applied as a soil drench to the growing medium immediately after seeding.

This minor use registration was supported and co-sponsored by government stakeholders on both sides of the Canada – U.S. border.

Ranman fungicide should be used as part of an Integrated Pest Management program and in rotation with other disease management products as part of an effective resistance management strategy.

Published in Diseases

June 11, 2012 – Canada is facing a potato shortage, mainly because of poor growing conditions last summer. That has sent wholesale prices for some spuds soaring and forced processors such as Toronto-based McCain Foods Ltd. to temporarily close some plants.

McCain announced recently that seven processing plants in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Wisconsin and Maine will face some downtime this summer because of the shortage. Idaho-based J. R. Simplot Co. also scaled back production at some of its facilities this spring because of a lack of potatoes. READ MORE

Published in Companies

June 4, 2012, El Cajon, CA – Toro recently announced the launch of AquaFlow 3.0, the company’s newest drip irrigation system design software.

Now available for user registration and download, AquaFlow 3.0 provides designers with a new tool to configure drip irrigation systems for optimum performance using Toro’s Aqua-Traxx and Aqua-Traxx PC drip tape, as well as BlueLine Classic and BlueLine PC drip line.

Some of the features of the new software include:

  • Dashboard format with tiled graphs
  • Comparison of two different lateral selections
  • Pull-down menus for easy viewing
  • Multiple slopes in both the lateral and mainline programs
  • Choice of multiple sub-main and mainline pipe types and sizes
  • Lateral and sub-main flushing calculations

“The dashboard approach is a unique innovation that has been well received during beta-trials,” says Claude Corcos, senior marketing manager for Toro’s micro-irrigation business. “It enables designers to dynamically view any changes they make associated with the selection and sizing of laterals, sub-mains and mainlines. This helps save time and leads to better design selections.

“The ability to properly flush a drip irrigation system is often just as important as high system irrigation uniformity. Aqua-Flow 3.0 allows designers to view multiple aspects of flushing and irrigation at the same time, easing the decision making process.”

To help bring the numbers and data to life, the software generates colour-coded block maps that depict system uniformity, and are included in reports that may be customized and saved in multiple formats.

AquaFlow 3.0 is currently available in English and Spanish.

To become a registered user and receive download and update information, please click here.

Published in Irrigating
Page 54 of 56

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