Seeding/Planting
June 6, 2017, Charlottetown, PEI – As potato growers across P.E.I. plant this year's crop, many are using the latest GPS technology to guide them.

"I'd say probably 80 per cent of growers out there would have something like this," said Will MacNeill, owner of Atlantic Precision Agri-Services, in West Devon, P.E.I. READ MORE
Published in Planting
May 15, 2017, Augusta, ME – With little fanfare, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control recently approved the registration of three new types of genetically engineered potatoes that have been developed by a major Idaho agribusiness company.

The move means that the J.R. Simplot Co.’s Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic potatoes could be planted in Maine fields at any time. These potatoes were created by adding genes from a wild potato plant and are designed to be resistant to late blight. READ MORE
Published in Vegetables
May 8, 2017, Wenatchee, WA – Get ready for a new kind of apple. It's called Cosmic Crisp, and farmers in Washington State, who grow 70 per cent of the country's apples, are planting these trees by the millions.

The apples themselves, dark red in colour with tiny yellow freckles, will start showing up in stores in the fall of 2019. READ MORE
Published in Fruit
March 1, 2017, Boise, ID – Three types of potatoes genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine are safe for the environment and safe to eat, federal officials have announced.

The approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late last week gives Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Company permission to plant the potatoes this spring and sell them in the fall. READ MORE
Published in Companies
The B.C. tree fruit replant program is having a positive affect on the province’s fruit growing industry and has been so popular, the province’s Ministry of Agriculture has provided additional funds.
Published in Provinces
February 8, 2017 – Walki, a producer of technical laminates and protective packaging materials, has developed an organic mulching solution based on natural biodegradable fibres instead of plastic.

Walki Agripap is made from kraft paper that is coated with a biodegradable coating layer, which slows down the degradation of the paper. Without the coating, the paper would degrade in the soil within a few weeks.

Walki’s new organic mulching solution has been the subject of extensive field-testing in Finland. The tests, which were carried out in 2016 by independent research institute Luke Piikkiö, compared the performance of different biodegradable mulches for growing iceberg lettuce and seedling onions. The tests demonstrated that Agripap was easy to lay on the fields and delivered excellent weed control. The results in terms of yield and durability were also good.

Following the successful testing and approval of Agripap in Finland and Sweden, the next step will be to complete testing in Europe’s main mulching markets: Spain, France and Italy.
Published in Planting
February 7, 2017, Presque Ilse, ME – Potato seed tubers harboring Dickeya dianthicola and Pectobacterium wasabiae are the only confirmed source of these pathogens.

At this point, there is no evidence that either of the two pathogens overwinter in the soil. The generally accepted length of survival time in the soil for these pathogens is one week to six months, climate dependent. Longer survival is possible on plant matter in the soil. With that, the source of the inoculum, and hence the source of the disease, is seed. Therefore, any best management practices efforts on Dickeya dianthicola or Pectobacterium wasabiae must start with the seed.

Select seed from farms where Dickeya dianthicola or Pectobacterium wasabiae have not been detected and seed marketed in previous years has not been associated with Dickeya dianthicola or Pectobacterium wasabiae.

Check North American Certified Seed Potato Health Certificates before purchasing seed and select seed that had not been increased on a farm associated with Dickeya dianthicola or Pectobacterium wasabiae.

Select seed with zero blackleg levels reported on the North American Certified Seed Potato Health Certificate.
 
Select seed that has been PCR tested by an independent laboratory and confirmed to be free of Dickeya dianthicola and Pectobacterium wasabiae.

Select seed from farms where a zero tolerance approach to Dickeya dianthicola and Pectobacterium wasabiae is being implemented.

Seed lots with field readings of blackleg present should have reports that suspect plant samples were taken for testing and found to be Dickeya dianthicola and Pectobacterium wasabiae free.

Avoid seed from fields where symptoms of Dickeya dianthicola or Pectobacterium wasabiae were observed, even if affected plants were rogued out.

Where possible, avoid irrigated seed crops.

Where possible, avoid planting whole-seed lots that were stripped from multiple lots.
Published in Research
When a new crop takes off, it’s not unusual that specialty equipment is designed and commercialized in order to make things easier. In this case, the crop is garlic, and the equipment is a planter and an add-on under-cutter (both pulled behind a tractor), designed and manufactured by Garlic-EEZ of Dundalk, Ont., owned by garlic grower Ken Hunt.
Published in Equipment

June 8, 2016, South Rustico, PEI – A P.E.I. potato farmer has taken to social media to show people what exactly he does for a living.

"I have a bunch of friends that, you know, they just don't know what I do for a living," said Marten Nieuwhof. READ MORE

Published in Planting

May 19, 2015, Fresno, CA – Agrian announced recently that its cloud-based agriculture data management platform is now available for Canadian agriculture and food system businesses.

The recently released Agrian 6 software platform includes several new capabilities, all of which are designed to help growers, crop advisors, ag retailers and food processors manage, share and leverage farm data simply and efficiently.

Building on software platform, Agrian is now introducing its updated Agrian 6 software program for Canadian growers and agribusinesses. The platform brings together elements of precision agronomy, analytics, compliance and sustainability in a single farm data management system.

“One of the major challenges growers have with the recent proliferation of farm data technologies is the lack of a cohesive and unbiased source for comprehensive compliance, precision ag data management and recordkeeping,” said Nishan Majarian, CEO and founder of Agrian.

“There’s been an explosion of point solutions that provide just one piece of the precision ag puzzle, like equipment tracking, for instance. But that fragmentation has led to frustration from growers and agrifood professionals with having to use six or eight different apps or software programs to manage information that impacts their operation. That frustration is compounded when farmers can’t access all of the data points and records in unison.”

Agrian’s expanded software program is designed to accommodate all facets of precision ag data in one platform. With a single Agrian account, users can access a suite of customizable applications via computer, tablet or smartphone.

The Agrian 6 system is programmed to capture data on fertilizer applications; nutrient management; planting records; field scouting reports; spray records; integrated soil, tissue and water laboratory analysis; and asset tracking with wireless data transfer from field equipment.

The Agrian 6 mobile mapping application allows users to plot field samples and track inputs, scouting records, seeding rates, crop performance and yield records. The robust mapping features are customizable and can be used to document field-specific records and events.

Satellite imagery is available, capturing up to two-million square miles daily, and provides access to high-resolution, multispectral, in-season imagery for timely extraction of data that directly impact crop production and performance.

Agrian 6 dashboards can be easily customized to provide users with summary snapshots or detailed real-time reports on water use, fertilizer and chemical inputs. With permission from growers, the dashboards also allow for a network of users such as applicators, agronomists or ag retail partners to record their field-level activities. Growers can also program “alerts” so they are automatically notified when trigger points are reached or action is required.

“We’re excited about the design and architecture of Agrian 6,” said Chad Matthies, Canadian business manager for Agrian. “It’s very simple to use and it’s consistent across platforms. Whether you’re working on a desktop, tablet or phone, all the features look and function in the exact same manner. The feedback we’ve received from customers involved in beta testing has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Matthies added that every page has help capabilities built in, providing information directly to the user when they need it. Agrian also provides regular training webinars to help new and existing users customize the system to best suit the needs of their operation.

To date, commodity crop growers who have adopted data management and precision agronomy tools have done so to drive efficiency and optimize production. With few exceptions, their adoption has been optional.

But for produce growers, who are required to adhere closely to a myriad of governmental regulations and food company standards, using data management and compliance reporting systems like Agrian’s is, by and large, standard operating procedure as a means to efficiently document practices for compliance purposes.

Analysts foresee the potential for more demands being made on commodity crop growers for documentation of nutrients, chemicals and other applications. Increased pressure is being placed on the entire agrifood supply chain from consumers, voters, government, export markets and food retailers.

Greater emphasis is also being placed on environmental stewardship and sustainable farming practices. The rapid growth of markets for organics and other non-conventionally produced foods has also increased the number of growers documenting inputs.

“There’s no question the application of data and technology will continue to increase at a rapid pace, whether it’s for production efficiency, compliance reporting or documenting sustainability measures,” said Majarian. “The Agrian 6 platform is designed exclusively to help growers, ag retailers and food companies manage data in a unified format that contributes to the success of their businesses.”

Published in Companies

August 2, 2013 – Great Salt Lakes Minerals has launched a mobile tool designed to help potato growers and crop consultants make more accurate soil nutrient decisions and maximize yield potential.

The Potato Potassium Uptake Calculator is now available here or is available for download to an iPad device via the Apple App Store for iPad. Those who wish to download the application to an iPad can visit the Apple App Store. READ MORE

Published in Companies
June 7, 2013, Kunkletown, PA – Vineyard posts are essential to proper trellising, but they come at a cost, both ethically and fiscally. The wood in the post doesn’t come from anywhere but trees, and there are social concerns about to deforestation and overuse of natural resources.

Enter the recycled plastic vineyard post. Not only do they provide an ethical benefit in regards to deforestation issues, but they also stand the test of time better than any wood could.

“Vineyard poles are highly durable,” said inventor and manufacturer Patric Kelley. “They’re not susceptible to rot, termites, carpenter bees or other wood boring insects. They look good and function well for many, many years. Compare it to wood yourself. We think you will be pleasantly surprised.”

Where wood continues to rot and requires constant upkeep (and money), plastic requires very little, if any follow-up maintenance over the same lifespan.

One might express a concern about the plastic itself, and whether or not there are any chemicals that might be leached into the earth, especially when dealing with something as delicate as soil used for growing grapes. According to Kelley, unlike pressure treated wood, there are zero hazardous chemicals that could be leached from it.

With a dedication to helping preserve the environment and a desire to help others who are also committed to this goal, Close the Loop was established in October 2000 after much research. Products are made in the U.S. from recycled plastic scrap and waste wood fibre.

For more information, click here or check out Close the Loop on Facebook.

Published in Planting
May 10, 2013 - Being called "green" or "sustainable" are not words that Bill Redelmeier likes to use to describe Southbrook Vineyards, despite the fact that both words are quite apt. He and his wife Marilyn have owned the winery since 1991 and have recently won the 2012 InterVin International Wine Awards highest honour – Winery of the Year, for its innovative growing practices and fantastic product.

Redelmeier doesn't like to describe his operation using words such as "sustainable" because they have no standard definition, which can lead to greenwashing – where environmentally friendly words are used to deceive the consumer into the belief that a company's aims or policies are more ecologically aware than they actually are.

"When we started out, we set out to make the best wine possible," says Redelmeier. From the winery's move to Niagra in 2005, the Redelmeier's knew that they wanted to be holistic and self-sustaining, which lead them to pursue biodynamic growing practices. In September 2008, Southbrook was certified organic and biodynamic by Demeter International (http://www.demeter.net/), the first Canadian winery to do so, and officially began operations.

"We don't talk about anything unless it is certifiable or provable," he adds.

The process of biodynamic agriculture is simple, says Redelmeier. "It is based on the way people used to farm 100 years ago. So we plant, we harvest, we make wine using phases of the moon. The sprays we use in the vineyard are herbal teas. We run ruminants in the vineyard because that's important."

"Biodynamics is really all about treating the vineyard or farm as a single, living entity. The least input you can put in to the ground, the better."

In addition to farming biodynamically, Redelmeier tries to keep as much of his purchasing in Canada as he can. For example, some of the winery's bottles are made from reclaimed glass from Saxco International (http://www.saxco.com/), the clothing company Forsyth (https://www.careerapparel.ca/logon.do) makes the employee uniforms and they offer local farmers a market for their organic grapes. "I'm asking people to pay a little bit more – not a huge amount, but a little-bit more – to buy local wine, and I can't in good conscience ask someone to pay a little bit more to buy local if I don't do the same thing."

"If we all get together and pay a little bit more, then the whole world – or certainly our world – is a better place to be."
Published in Marketing
April 10, 2013 – Syngenta and MayAgro Seed have reached an agreement regarding the sale to Syngenta of MayAgro’s greenhouse vegetable breeding programs covering cucumber, pepper and tomatoes.

Under the terms of the agreement, Syngenta will acquire MayAgro’s breeding programs including all native traits developed to improve virus and disease resistance as well as boost yields under cold conditions.
Published in Companies
Mar. 22, 2013 - Newfoundland and Labrador is looking for a hot potato — a spectacular spud that will help kick start the expansion of local grow operations, bringing the province towards potato independence.

At present, the province relies on potato imports from tuber-rich places like Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. READ MORE
Published in Research

January 10, 2013, Holland, MI – Siegers Seed Company recently announced the appointment of Jammie Underhill as its new seed consultant for Ontario.

Underhill will provide his processing industry expertise to the company’s customers and service a market segment for Siegers as its processing sales representative.

Underhill has worked in the vegetable industry as a grower for more than two decades and has worked with the majority of the vegetable processors in the United States and Canada. He has worked closely with the research and development team at Siegers over the years to keep up to date on all new trail varieties and how they perform in different geographical areas.

Underhill can be reached by cell phone at 519-617-3429 or office phone at 519-773-3250.

Siegers Seed Company is a family owned Michigan based business and is a distributor of a full line of vegetable seeds and plants in the U.S. and Canada.

For more information visit www.siegers.com or call 1-800-962-4999.

Published in Marketing

October 15, 2012 – Siegers Seed Company has acquired two new dealerships to represent in Canada. Siegers will be selling for Abbott & Cobb, who offer seed choices in sweet corn, pumpkins and peppers. Siegers Seed Company’s most recent addition is a Seminis dealership, offering a variety of products including Performance Series sweet corn and downy mildew resistant cucumbers.

For more information visit www.siegers.com or call 1-800-962-4999.

Published in Companies

September 11, 2012 – Nunhems, the vegetable seed business of Bayer CropScience, is expanding its efforts in the Canadian market for cucumber, lettuce and tomato seeds.

Effective Oct. 1, 2012, the sales structure of Nunhems will change.

Nunhems has been represented in Canada for many years by Growers Consulting, Inc. This business agreement will come to an end on Sept. 30, 2012. After that date, Nunhems will begin selling cucumber seeds directly to growers in all areas of Canada.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , a Nunhems employee who specializes in cucumbers, will be the new sales specialist. He will be the contact for cucumber seed orders and follow-up. Ali and his family live in Windsor, Ont., and he is part of the international cucumber crop team of Nunhems, with direct colleagues in the Netherlands and Spain.

Nunhems is also introducing a new cucumber variety, Cyrus (NUN 13077 CUL). Cyrus has already been tested in Canada by several growers for two years. They were very satisfied with the nice fruit quality and the good production.

In addition to cucumber, Nunhems also has a full line of lettuce varieties. Since Growers Consulting was not a lettuce distributor, there are no changes in the distribution. Lettuce is already sold mostly direct to key customers. If you should have any questions regarding lettuce, please contact Nunhems’ specialist, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Nunhems has also started trials of a new tomato program for greenhouse production. Trials include several varieties of tomatoes on the vine (TOV) with an average fruit weight of 150 gram, and also cherry on the vine varieties. The cherry tomatoes weigh around 12 gram and have a deep red colour. With a Brix level of 10, they score very well on taste. For more information on the Nunhems tomato assortment and variety recommendations, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Published in Research

September 10, 2012 – Cover crops are fast becoming a common practice for many farms. According to a survey the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) sent to subscribers of Corn and Soybean Digest, 63.7 per cent of respondents said they did not have enough time to get cover crop established with harvest challenges. A solution to this dilemma is to apply cover crops before crops are harvested. One of the ways to do this is aerial seeding.

Aerial application is an economical way that farmers can apply cover crops to fields. Cost of aerial application is around $15 to $20 an acre plus seed costs. This may seem costly to farmers but when labour, time, equipment and fuel is added together along with the option to use more cover crop species, the cost is comparable.

A challenge to aerial application is proper seeding time prior to crop harvest. Michigan State University Extension – in cooperation with the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee, the Corn Marketing Program and Al’s Aerial Spraying, LLC – has established two soybean and two corn demonstration plots on two farms. Four cover crop species: annual ryegrass, cereal rye, oilseed radish plus oats mix and annual ryegrass plus crimson clover mix were planted on four different days with the final application during the demonstration. Cover crop seed counts were taken to measure how many seeds made it through the canopy and reached the soil.

A demonstration of aerial application as well as plot tours will be held on Sept. 13, 2012 at Phillips Orchards & Cider Mill 1174 W. Gratiot County Line Rd. St. Johns, MI. Registration will start at 9 a.m. A hog roast luncheon will be provided.

For more information about cover crops or the aerial demonstration contact Christina Curell, 231-745-2732.

Published in Food Safety

Jul. 20, 2012, Winnipeg, MB - According to Statistics Canada, Manitoba farmers seeded more potatoes this year than in 2011, according to preliminary data.

In an article published in the Winnipeg Free Press, farmers seeded 76,000 acres, an increase of 4.1 per cent from 2011.

READ MORE

Published in Planting
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