Spraying
April 10, 2017, Calgary, Alta – An exclusive new Canadian distribution agreement between bio-ferm and Nufarm Agriculture Inc. adds two biological fungicides to Nufarm’s horticultural line of crop protection solutions.

Blossom Protect and Botector are now available from Nufarm in Canada, as part of the company’s lineup of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides for Canadian horticultural growers.

“Biological fungicides make up an important and growing part of our fungicide portfolio,” says Maria Dombrowsky, horticultural specialist at Nufarm Agriculture Inc. “Blossom Protect and Botector are great complements to our existing products, and will allow Nufarm to continue to support growers and their IPM programs.”

Blossom Protect is a biological fungicide that provides protection for pome fruit against fire blight (Erwinia amylovora). Botector is a biological fungicide used to protect grapes from botrytis (Botrytis cinerea).

bio-ferm products contain a unique mode of action that hinders the development of resistance,” says Werner Fischer, managing director with bio-ferm. “Our products are suitable for conventional and organic production, and bring the additional benefit of being safe for humans, animals and beneficials. They are certified through Ecocert Canada.”

Blossom Protect and Botector are available exclusively through Nufarm Agriculture Inc., its distributors and retailer partners across Canada.
Published in Diseases
April 3, 2017, Guelph, Ont – Syngenta Canada recently launched Aprovia Top fungicide, a new tool for controlling foliar early blight and suppressing brown spot.

Early blight, which is caused by the Alternaria solani fungus, is found in most potato growing regions. Foliar symptoms include small, brown, irregular or circular-shaped lesions that form on the potato plant’s lower leaves later in the season. The disease prefers warm, dry conditions to develop, and can be more severe in plants that are stressed and weakened.

Brown spot, caused by the Alternaria alternata fungus, is closely related to early blight and is found wherever potatoes are grown. Unlike early blight, brown spot can occur at any point during the growing season, producing small, dark brown lesions on the leaf surface.

Aprovia Top fungicide combines two modes of action with preventative and early curative activity on these two key diseases. Difenoconazole (Group 3) is absorbed by the leaf and moves from one side of the leaf to the other to protect both surfaces against disease. Solatenol (Group 7 SDHI) binds tightly to the leaf’s waxy layer and is gradually absorbed into the leaf tissue to provide residual protection.

“After a strong start, a foliar application of Aprovia Top can be used to manage these key diseases and keep potato crops greener longer,” says Eric Phillips, fungicides and insecticides product lead with Syngenta Canada.

Aprovia Top is available now for use in 2017 production. In potatoes, one case will treat up to 40 acres.

At this time, maximum residue limits (MRLs) for Solatenol use on potatoes have been established for markets in Canada and the U.S. Growers should consult with their processor prior to use.

In addition to potatoes, Aprovia Top can be used to control scab and powdery mildew in apples. Aprovia Top also provides control of early blight, powdery mildew, and Septoria leaf spot in fruiting vegetables, as well as powdery mildew, Alternaria blight and leaf spot in cucurbit vegetables.

See the Aprovia Top label for a complete list of crops and diseases.

For more information about Aprovia Top fungicide, please visit Syngenta.ca or the Customer Interaction Centre at 1‑87‑SYNGENTA (1‑877‑964‑3682).
Published in Diseases
March 28, 2017, Calgary, Alta – Four new crops have been added to the Presidio fungicide label as the result of Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) minor use approvals.

Presidio is now approved for use on ginseng, tobacco, brassica leafy vegetables and greenhouse ornamentals for a variety of troublesome diseases. The PMRA has also approved Presidio for control of pink rot on potatoes.

“These Presidio label additions are really important news for Canadian growers that depend on minor use approvals to protect their high value crops,” says Maria Dombrowsky, horticultural specialist at Nufarm Agriculture Inc. “Now more growers can access Presidio as part of their integrated pest management (IPM) program with a unique class of chemistry for better resistance management.”

Presidio (Group 43) provides growers with preventive and some curative reach-back action against downy mildew and Phytophthora spp., including late blight, on a variety of crops. In addition to these new crops, Presidio is also registered for use on head, stem and root brassica, cucurbits, fruiting vegetables and leafy vegetables.

“Presidio offers a great new option for domestic potato growers managing pink rot,” says Dombrowsky. “Growers should check with their processors before using Presidio on potatoes, because maximum residue limits (MRLs) for potatoes have not been established in all export markets.”
Published in Diseases
March 27, 2017, Guelph, Ont – Engage Agro Corporation has announced the release of two new products to serve horticultural producers across Canada.

Property 300 SC fungicide is a suspension concentrate fungicide that offers protection against powdery mildew in grapes, cucumbers, pumpkin, squash and melons.

Pyriofenone, the active ingredient in Property, is the newest generation chemical found in the FRAC U8 group. It demonstrates extremely fast translaminar activity that is complemented by a “vapour effect” that is stronger and longer lasting than that of other chemistries found in the same group.

Property is the only group U8 fungicide that can be applied up to the day of harvest on grapes.

Cosavet DF is a dry flowable sulphur fungicide that prevents powdery mildew and controls erinium mite of grape. Its patented formulation ensures a low dust, easy to mix product that helps to minimize the risk of scorching. Cosavet DF also controls a wide variety of diseases in tree fruit, Saskatooon berries, cucumbers and peas.

Variations in particle size ensure immediate, mid-term and residual activity through contact and vapour action to protect against target fungi.

For more information contact Engage Agro at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 1-866-613-3336.
Published in Diseases
March 1, 2017, Calgary, Alta – Chateau herbicide, by Valent Canada, Inc. is now registered for use on broccoli and caneberry.

Broccoli and caneberry growers in Canada now have another tool to assist in the control of Group 2-acetolactate synthase (ALS) resistant weeds, such as red root pigweed, green pigweed, eastern black nightshade and common ragweed.

Chateau, containing flumioxazin (51.1 per cent), is a residual pre-emergent herbicide. A PPO inhibitor, Chateau’s mode of action is different than many other herbicides, so it helps fight resistance, while providing long-lasting control of tough weeds including Group 2-resistant weeds.

“Chateau has proven to be an effective herbicide on a wide range of crops” says Maria Dombrowsky, horticulture specialist at Nufarm Agriculture Inc. “I am pleased that this tool is now available to broccoli and caneberry growers for incorporation into their IPM program.”

Chateau should be used in rotation with other herbicide modes of action. Chateau is also registered for use on other crops, including pome fruit, blueberries and strawberries. For more information, consult the complete product label at www.nufarm.ca/product/chateau/.
Published in Weeds
February 21, 2017, Ridgetown, Ont – The Ontario Pesticide Education Program has released a new manual for farm workers.
 
If you work on a farm where pesticides are used, you need to know how to work safely around pesticides. The information in this manual explains how farm workers can work safely on a farm that uses pesticides.

It can be downloaded from their website (5 MB). For those without Internet access or with a need for a print version, you can request the manual from OPEP at 1-800-652-8573 (Ontario only) or 519-674-2230.

A Spanish version will be released very soon.

Please ensure that all your farm workers are familiar with the information in this manual.
Published in Chemicals

 

When applying chemicals to crops, where the chemical is delivered is sometimes more important than how much is delivered.

A team of U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists has developed a new laser-guided spraying system that controls spray outputs to match targeted tree structures.

“Conventional spray application technology requires excessive amounts of pesticide to achieve effective pest control,” says ARS agricultural engineer Heping Zhu. “This challenge is now overcome by our automated, variable-rate, air-assisted, precision sprayer. The new system is able to characterize the presence, size, shape, and foliage density of target trees and apply the optimum amount of pesticide in real time.”

The system has many parts that have to work together with precision, including a high-speed laser-scanning sensor working in conjunction with a Doppler radar travel-speed sensor.

“Our field experiments showed that the precision sprayer, when compared to conventional sprayers with best pest management practices, consistently sprayed the correct amount of chemicals, despite changes in tree structure and species,” Zhu says.

“Pest control with the new sprayer was comparable to that of conventional sprayers, but the new sprayer reduced average pesticide use between 46 and 68 per cent, with an average pesticide cost savings of $230 per acre for ornamental nurseries. The cost savings can be much higher for orchards and other fruit crop productions.”

Additional tests in an apple orchard demonstrated that the new sprayer reduced spray loss beyond tree canopies between 40 and 87 per cent, airborne spray drift by up to 87 per cent, and spray loss on the ground between 68 and 93 per cent.

Sharon Durham is with Agricultural Research Service’s information staff.

 

 

 

 

Published in Spraying

 

With the increases in minimum wage, labour costs have jumped significantly for Ontario horticulture farmers in recent years. While this has been tough on many producers, apple growers have been feeling the bight keenly considering there is more labour required to keep an orchard running.

Some have approached the challenge head-on, aggressively reducing the need for labour through planning, management and intensive production. But one Ontario grower has thrown a lot of effort into doing more with less. For his hard work and experimentation, Werner Zurbuchen, the owner of Zurbuchen Farm in Norfolk County, was recognized with a 2014 Premier’s Awards for Agrifood Innovation Excellence.

“We still have to work long hours at times,” he admits. “But we’re doing significantly more with less.”

In 1993, Zurbuchen and his family decided to sell their broiler operation and orchard/vineyard in Switzerland and immigrate to Canada. They purchased a broiler chicken farm in the Waterford area, which featured 185 workable acres of loam soil that has since been systematically drained. During his first autumn on the new farm, Zurbuchen got going right away with apple growing. He planted 100 apple trees and also grafted other varieties to test how they would perform in the Ontario climate. Once he saw them doing well, he budded 17,000 trees on rootstock in his own nursery, and then planted them on 17 acres. From 2009 to 2012, Zurbuchen and his family expanded the orchard to 50 acres. The farm now has 48 acres of apples (with 10 being mature, high-density cultivation), two acres of pears, and the rest supporting a rotation of corn, soybeans and wheat.

“The apple crop estimate for 2015, if things go well, is about 1,000 bins,” Zurbuchen says. “In terms of what we grow, over the past two years, we have cut out our Spy, Mutsu and Macintosh cultivars because these varieties aren’t favoured today, and are now growing a majority of newer varieties. By today’s standards, we plant a medium-density orchard of 1,000 trees per acre and train them as tall spindle.”

Tall spindle tree care, once the trees reach their maturity, is time-consuming in terms of taking care of the upper section beyond normal arm reach from the ground.

“If you use a ladder for this – and for thinning, tying, trellis installation and harvesting – it’s quite expensive because of the labour involved,” Zurbuchen says. “In addition, ladders and heavy bags of apples can be dangerous.”

Zurbuchen had already designed the high-density part of the orchard for mechanization, so when labour costs started increasing around 2010, he went the automation route and bought machinery. (He also welcomed his son-in-law Joseph Taylor to the farm as mechanic and, after some training, as seasonal field manager.) Zurbuchen’s first purchases were an imported European mechanical thinner, a Frumaco platform/harvest-aid and a bin trailer. In 2011, he bought a Feucht windfall pick-up machine, and in 2013, a Fama mechanical pruner.

The Frumaco platform has performed as expected, boosting operational efficiency by a significant amount.

“It cuts both pruning and harvest time by 35 per cent, and thinning and trellis/tying worktime each by 50 per cent,” Zurbuchen says. “I can’t provide an accurate figure for the mechanical pruner right now as we’re still experimenting with it, but together with the platform, we are hoping for at least a total 50 per cent reduction in pruning time. We have used it a lot in a leased orchard with standard planting density and with varieties prone to dropping, and we can pick up at least 50 bins in seven hours with two men running it.”

While worker safety has also been improved with the machinery additions, Zurbuchen says that proper instruction for each worker is still critical in order to keep the risk of accidents to a minimum.

Because he thought there might be other growers besides himself interested in mechanizing, Zurbuchen also started an orchard equipment business called Tazu Technology. The company imports and distributes mechanical pruners, platform picking machines and other orchard equipment.

“We stand by what we sell because we have firsthand experience with it,” he says.

There are six Frumaco harvesters currently being used in Quebec and Ontario orchards, and Zurbuchen believes that number will increase.

“There’s been a lot of interest from growers and we’re confident that in the coming years, more farmers will move forward in mechanising their operations,” he says. “We are currently in the process of purchasing a Lipco twin row tunnel sprayer which will be able to spray two rows at once, recycling lost chemicals while not being effected by the prevailing winds we seem to have quite often.”

Zurbuchen is also thinking seriously about buying a Frost Buster – a propane air blast heater that will help combat night frost in the spring and also assist with pollination.

The current challenges for this operation include planting new varieties that will be strong market leaders for many years to come. Replacing some of the less desirable older varieties with newer ones will also help to fill out the orchard’s harvesting window. Zurbuchen also wants to continue honing his integrated pest management (IPM) program, as well as his strategies for finding committed local labour.

“It’s also a challenge these days to deal with more and more paperwork, not only related to employees but also to comply with regulations and burdensome red tape,” he says.

Of winning the award, Zurbuchen says he’s happy that it’s brought some positive attention to the apple industry.

“It is our hope that the government understands that for Ontario farmers to be successful in a very competitive market is a very real challenge,” he says. “We are thankful to the premier and her staff who put the work into recognizing the hardworking people in the agriculture industry.”

 

 

 

Published in Harvesting

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

February 10, 2015, Racine, WI – Orchard growers eager to match tractor power and efficiency with the best-possible working environment now have a cab tractor option from Case IH. The new cab combines a low profile with a roomy interior to protect crops while maximizing operator comfort.

With an overall height of 83 inches, the new cab provides one of the lowest profiles in the industry and will help keep produce on the trees. The Orchard Cab provides the operator with a 360-degree view, and all the windows are recessed into the cab for a smooth exterior surface that will not catch on tree limbs.

The ergonomic control layout, large entry and exit doors, cab pressurizer and HVAC system are designed to maximize operator comfort while reducing operator fatigue. Plus, the cab offers spacious design.

With 98 per cent Case IH OEM parts, dealers are able to service almost every part through the Case IH part system. This ensures adequate parts stock inventory and overnight availability of these parts using the dealer’s order system (already in place).

The cab is compatible with the Tier 4A Farmall 85C, 95C, 105C and 115C and will be available for the Tier 4 B 90C, 100C,110C and 120C soon.

Published in Spraying
Orchard management and harvesting hasn’t changed greatly in the past few decades but that is changing quickly.

“The orchard industry is one of the last industries to automate or mechanize,” said Matt Peters with N.M. Bartlett Inc., a Niagara, Ont.-based supplier of crop protection products and machinery.

Peters is on the advisory committee of the Comprehensive Automation for Specialty Crops (CASC) group, whose goal is to develop automation strategies and technologies for the specialty crop (tree fruit) industry. The organization is comprised engineers, scientists and extension specialists based at various universities, government officials, growers and industry representatives from five U.S. states. This area represents 70 per cent of U.S. apple production.

In 2008, the United States Department of Agriculture provided research funds to the tree fruit industry through the Specialty Crops Research Initiative (SCRI) program to match contributions

by industry, said Peters. The funding was to assist in establishing research partnerships to focus on efforts to improve production efficiency. Its $47 million in funding will end January 2014.

He estimates U.S. specialty agriculture generates $50 billion annually, while Canadian speciality crops create another $7 to $10 billion annually.

One of the funded projects is examining mechanical blossom thinning without chemicals and minimal hand labour. The CASC is looking at European technology, such as the Darwin Mechanical Blossom Thinner, which offers a saving in peaches of between $185 to $935, Peters said.

The Darwin thinner – when equipped with sensors and mounted on the back of a tractor – offers an additional saving of $63 to $135, he added, noting that N.M. Bartlett is starting to build and market the thinner for North America.

CASC, under the SCRI program, is also looking at crop intelligence, including pest monitoring, crop load scouting, stress and disease detection. As an example, the organization is studying an automated insect trap, the Z-trap, to identify pests, relay information to growers and crop consultants as well as destroying insects using pheromone lures to lure them into an electric coil, said Peters. He added it allows faster access to information than a scouting trap.

CASC is also reviewing vehicles that offer mobility and accurate positioning to assist in harvesting, including an autonomous prime mover that uses a laser, GPS and a camera to conduct routine tasks such as mowing, spraying, tree training and bin moving, plus a disease identification and prediction system equipped with micro-sensors for the orchard, he said.

European technology
“There are a lot things we can learn from Europe,” said Peters. “They have much higher costs than us, so they have thought through this shift.”

European scissor jack platforms such as Blosi or Orsi are self-leveling for up to a 20 degree slope and sensors will also keep them driving straight when in orchard rows, he said.

Additionally, they offer a 46 per cent saving in thinning costs, a 25 per cent saving in pruning costs and a 18 per cent saving in harvesting costs.

Peters stated the orchard platform will pay for itself within three years on lower labour costs.

Mechanical pruners mounted on the platform are being used with great success in Belgium, Germany and France, he said, observing that N.M. Bartlett is importing a German design to be built in Canada featuring a double knife blade mounted on a swing away arm with hydraulic controls to alter the angle of cut.

Peters said a mechanized blossom thinner can also be added to a platform.

N.M. Bartlett will also be introducing the Bin Dog, an autonomous vehicle that pushes up bins from the orchard to an unloading dock.

U.S. technology
Phil Brown Welding, based in Michigan, has designed and built for orchards, vineyards, greenhouses and nurseries. Phil Brown designed his machines in partnership with Pennsylvania State and Washington State Universities.

Brown has developed a three-wheeled tree trimmer/pruner and fruit harvester (the Brownie One), a self loading and unloading box handler that works with the harvester, a box shuttle, a blossom thinner, brush sweepers and pushers.

He has also mounted his harvester on a scissors platform where two pickers on the platform can work in rows 12 to 18 feet wide as the platform can be extended or retracted.

“We have had less bruising than with a picking bag and ladders,” claimed Brown.

The two pickers feed the apples into a vacuum hose on the platform which feed into a bin which can be filled in six to eight minutes, he said.

His orchard platform has auto-steering and auto-shift and it can be used for thinning and pruning by dismounting its vacuum picking system, said Brown. His latest platform costs about $80,000 and, to date, he has built 50 of them.

U.K. technology
Tim Biddlecombe of Fast Ltd., U.K.-based orchard consultants, added a lot of U.K. growers in the past five years have adopted the Dutch picking train system in which a tractor tows five to six coupled, wheeled bins down the rows to where they are to be filled.

He said it offers constant supervision, less bruising and bin bumping, less picker fatigue, less row rutting, less mud splashing, and reduces phytophthera; but it can be difficult to handle on steep slopes or side banks. It also requires more tractors and a large enough central collection point for unloading and there is more apple puncture in the bins, he observed.

Biddlecombe, however, noted one U.K. fruit farm estimated it saved 45,241 pounds in its first year on the bin train system in tractor fuel and a reduction in picking time from 26 to 16 days.

Smart sprayer
Andrew Bishop of Noggins Corner Farm in Greenwich, NS., is very pleased with his latest machinery purchase for his orchard.

In 2012, he began using a John Bean Smart Sprayer he bought from a supplier in Ontario. Since then, “it has been on the go constantly,” he said. “I quite like it. It makes the job much easier.”

With a tracking hitch between the tractor and the sprayer and crab steering on the tractor, Bishop said it is quite easy to handle in the orchard. As well, its ultra-sonic sensor system with five sensors mounted on either side of his tractor can tell the computer controller for the sprayer in the tractor cab the distance to the trees and their height.

Bishop said the sensors activate the nozzles on the sprayer’s boom arms through the on-board computer and he never has to stop and shut off the sprayer.

“It is a very sensitive system that gives very good coverage,” he said, noting that if he drove the tractor over 5.5 mph, the sprayer will shut off and he could also reduce drift by adjusting the fan speed on the spryer.

“It is fantastic for the environment and the cost saving,” said Bishop.

The Smart Sprayer has a 400 gallon capacity tank and a very low maintenance cost, he said.

Bill Craig, a tree fruit extension specialist with Perrenia – the provincial consulting agency – added Bishop’s Smart Sprayer is the first sensor-equipped sprayer in the
Annapolis Valley. ❦
Published in Harvesting

December 19, 2012 – Diseases such as purple spot can have major economic impacts for asparagus growers, and the best line of defence is spraying.

The good news is that asparagus growers know this and take steps to protect against it. The bad news is that there are few things harder to spray than asparagus in fern. READ MORE

Published in Spraying

November 8, 2012 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have released two mobile phone applications to make things easier for anyone who needs to adjust insecticide spray equipment.

The apps were developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists Bradley Fritz and Wesley "Clint" Hoffmann at the agency's Areawide Pest Management Research Unit in College Station, TX. The apps are designed to ensure that aerial and ground-based crews can hit targets and minimize pesticide drift by keying in specifics on the type of equipment and pesticide they are using.

With dozens of manufacturers producing dozens of different types of spray technology – each with its own nozzle type, flow rate, and pressure setting range – the equipment setup can get pretty complicated. Aerial sprayers also must factor in wind speed, air temperature, flight speed and humidity.

The apps incorporate the latest science of spray technology, including spray nozzle atomization models developed by ARS at College Station. They can be used with a smartphone and accessed right from a field or the cabin of a small aircraft. More than half of all aerial applicators responding to a survey by the National Agricultural Aviation Association reported using smartphones. Data also can be saved for later use and e-mailed to colleagues.

One app is designed for ground-based spraying for mosquitoes and other threats to public health. It covers 60 different sprayers made by 19 manufacturers and was developed jointly with the Department of Defense’s Navy Entomology Center of Excellence in Jacksonville, Fla. The user selects the appropriate sprayer and is guided through the process of selecting specific operational settings, such as the nozzle type, flow rate and spray pressure setting.

The other app, for aerial spraying, walks users through the process of adjusting nozzles and settings so pesticides are delivered at optimal droplet sizes. Droplet size is critical in aerial operations to ensure on-target deposition and minimize pesticide drift. The user specifies the nozzle manufacturer from a menu and is steered through a series of screens and prompts that, based on the specific operating conditions, helps him or her select the right size of the nozzle opening, spray pressure, nozzle orientation and airspeed.

The apps are available online through the Apple iTunes App Store and the Google Play Android Marketplace by searching for “Aerial Sprays” for the aerial application app and “Vector Sprays” for the ground-based sprayer app.

Read more about this research in the November/December 2012 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Published in Spraying

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

June 19, 2012, Quebec City, QB - Farmers are always looking for ways to improve their farming practices, increase their productivity and maintain the sustainability of the environment. The Centre Eau, Terre et Environnement of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique will receive an investment of more than $250,000 to improve an integrated computer model that examines the economic and environmental impacts of implementing beneficial management practices (BMPs) on the farm and on a broader landscape scale.

"This program allows farmers to make more informed decisions about which beneficial management practices are right for their farm, which in the end, means more money in their pocket and less stress on the environment," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

The investment for this computer model is part of the $14-million Growing Forward Watershed Evaluation of Beneficial Management Practices (WEBs) project. The WEBs project, established in 2004 as the first of its kind in Canada, operates within nine small agricultural watersheds across the nation in order to better understand the environmental and economic performance of BMPs. Previous to this study, the costs and environmental benefits of BMPs had seldom been measured on a broader landscape scale. Results from the WEBs projects are providing a foundation for understanding the broader applicability of these BMPs within a specific region. Farmers can use this knowledge to maintain high agricultural productivity, while minimizing the impacts of farming on the environment. Results can also be used in planning future agricultural policies and programming.

The refined computer model will help farmers and land managers decide which BMPs will be most effective in improving soil and water quality by providing a framework to maintain agricultural productivity while minimizing the impact of farming on the environment.

Over 70 other federal, provincial, academic and non-governmental organizations are also partners in this national project, which will run until 2013.

For more information about the WEBs project, please visit: www.agr.gc.ca/webs.

To find out more about Growing Forward and its initiatives, please visit: www.agr.gc.ca/growingforward.

Published in Irrigating

April 13, 2012, Dorchester, Ont – Tivano, a bio-fungicide and bactericide, has recently received regulatory approval.

Registered by AEF Global Inc. of Lévis, Que, and marketed through UAP Canada Inc., Tivano is a liquid product whose active ingredients are citric and lactic acid.

Tivano is registered for suppression of several diseases in a variety of crops including, tomatoes, strawberries, squashes, pumpkins, grapes and roses. It is also the only product registered in Canada for use on angular leaf spot in strawberries. Bacterial canker in tomatoes is also on the Tivano label, as are powdery mildew (strawberries, roses, squashes, pumpkins), downy mildew (grapes) and black spot (roses).

“Tivano works through plasmolization of the pathogen cells,” says Janet Porchak, national marketing manager with UAP Canada Inc. “It also creates a physical barrier on the leaf surface which inhibits disease infection and development.”

Tivano is designed for and suitable for use as part of both conventional and organic production systems.

Tivano should be applied preventatively when conditions are conducive to disease development, with application continuing until run-off. The interval between applications ranges from five to 10 days depending on the crop and the disease and there is no (i.e. zero day) pre-harvest interval requirement. Foliar spray volumes range from 200 L/ha to 800 L/ha, again depending on the crop and disease of interest.

Porchak notes that to maximize effectiveness, Tivano should be used prior to or at the early stages of disease development. Tivano should be applied in sufficient volume to ensure full coverage, using a standard or industrial sprayer with flat-fan nozzle tips.

Tivano is packaged in 10 L jugs, marketed through UAP Canada Inc. and sold to ag retailers across the country.

Published in Research

February 24, 2012, Guelph, Ont – Bayer CropScienceis now offering orchard growers a new herbicide option with Alion. The herbicide provides residual control of annual grassy and broadleaf weeds, including glyphosate, triazine and ALS-resistant weeds, on pome fruit, stone fruit and tree nuts.  

“Alion features a completely new mode of action that provides longer-lasting weed control compared to competitive products,” says David Kikkert, portfolio manager of horticulture with Bayer CropScience. “By choosing Alion, growers will benefit from its outstanding performance, and weed control they can depend on for the entire season.”

“Alion herbicide is what growers have been waiting for; it offers an extremely low use rate, excellent environmental safety, and it stays where you put it,” says Allan Kaastra, field development rep for Eastern Canada with Bayer CropScience. “Alion enables growers to more effectively rotate modes of action and preserve the utility of weed management technologies. Alion can be applied to established orchards of at least three full growing seasons, and if weeds are present at the time of application, growers can simply tank-mix Alion with a contact herbicide like Ignite®.”

Alion:

  • Is a group 29 herbicide
  • Provides long-term residual control
  • Provides pre-emergent control for a broad spectrum of weeds
  • Controls annual grassy and broadleaf weeds, including glyphosate, triazine and ALS-resistant weeds
  • Can be applied anytime during the season as long as the ground is not frozen or snow covered
  • Is an effective resistance management tool
  • Provides flexibility because it can be tank-mixed
  • Has a low dose rate

Alion is available in a 1L jug from Bayer CropScience horticulture retails in orchard growing regions of Canada.

 

 

 

Published in Weeds

February 17, 2012 – AMVAC Chemical Corporation recently appointed Engage Agro the exclusive distributor and marketer of Impact corn herbicide in Canada. 

Published in Weeds

February 10, 2012, Dorchester, Ont – UAP Canada Inc. and FMC Agricultural Products recently reached an agreement that will see UAP serve as the exclusive distributor of the wettable powder formulation of Rovral fungicide in Canada.

Published in Diseases

January 16, 2012, Guelph, Ont – Syngenta Canada Inc. recently announced that Revus® Fungicide, when used in a tank-mix with Previcur N™ Aqueous Solution fungicide, has received Emergency Use Registration for suppression of downy mildew on greenhouse cucumbers in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia until December 31, 2012.

Published in Research
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