OMAFRA Achievements in Crop Technology 2007
- Product Development Specialist/OMAFRA
PDF Format -
Partnering in a competitive, sustainable and environmentally
responsible crop sector.
Table of Contents
- Director's Message
- Defining Branch Priorities
- Innovation Economy
- Plant Health and Regulatory Issues
- Competitive Production and Handling
- Food Safety and Quality
- Putting you in touch with the information you
- Staff Recognition
- Agriculture Development Branch -- Crop specialists
deliver research, technology and information
I am pleased to present the 2007 "Achievements in Crop Technology."
This report highlights the Branch accomplishments over the past year
and illustrates how our accomplishments support our Ministry vision.
Crop Technology Branch supports a diverse agricultural sector with
staff working in the areas of field crops, fruits and vegetables,
greenhouse production, agroforestry and specialty crops.
The achievements in this report are organized under the following
branch strategic areas:
- Innovation Economy
- Plant Health and Regulatory Issues
- Competitive Production and Handling
- Food Safety and Quality
As you may know, the Ministry undertook a review of its structure
to examine and redefine our role in fostering a stronger agri-food
sector and more prosperous rural communities. Our goal is to align
OMAFRA's resources with priorities of our government to ensure that
the ministry provides efficient service delivery to our clients.
As part of this review, the Crop Technology Branch, Livestock Technology
Business and Organizational Management Unit were combined into the
Development Branch. You can be assured that this new branch will continue
to provide you with the service and programs you expect.
We look forward to continuing to work with you and your organization
in the coming year.
Bill Ingratta, Director
Crop Technology Branch
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Defining Branch Priorities
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
A strong agri-food sector that is integral to Ontario's economy
and contributes innovative solutions to protect the environment, to
provide safe and nutritious food, to promote the bio-economy and to
support the health and well-being of Ontarians.
Crop Technology Branch Vision
Partnering in a competitive, sustainable and environmentally responsible
- Innovation Economy
Assist crop sectors to respond to new and evolving opportunities
in the marketplace such as value chains, functional foods, nutraceuticals,
bioenergy, biohealth and bioremediation.
- Plant Health and Regulatory Issues
Assess crop protection issues, support minor use initiatives and
develop programs in integrated pest management, plant health and
reduced risk strategies. Assist commodity sectors in dealing with
regulatory related impacts.
- Competitive Production and Handling
Assess new and/or evolving crop production and management technologies
to improve competitiveness in the domestic and global marketplace.
- Food Safety and Quality
Promote sustainable production and postharvest systems and practices
that will ensure safe, high-quality agricultural products for the
Assess and promote environmentally responsible use of new technologies,
nutrients, pesticides and water for crop production and assess impacts
and opportunities of climate change.
Crop Technology Branch consists of highly trained, technical professionals
who are committed to maintaining their leading-edge knowledge of both
the research and the field production aspects of their disciplines.
By partnering with growers, grower organizations, agri-business and
researchers, staff work to improve the economic competitiveness and
innovative capacity of the crop production sector of Ontario. This
is achieved through validation, knowledge translation and delivery
of technical information through print publications, conferences,
seminars, workshops and courses, the internet, applied research and
demonstration trials, and commodity association and agri-business
meetings. Crop Technology Branch staff also use their knowledge and
experience behind the scenes to establish research priorities, encourage
new markets and technology developments, provide technical input to
various policy directives and facilitate communication between all
sectors of the industry.
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Virtual Greenhouse Helps Producers Capture Energy Opportunities
Energy costs are the largest expense of operating a greenhouse. With
energy costs continuing to rise,
finding ways to reduce these costs and improve overall greenhouse
design efficiency is a key priority for the industry. Our Greenhouse
Vegetable Specialist is working with Integrated Manufacturing Technologies
Institute, National Research Council, Industrial Research Assistance
Program, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers and the University of
Windsor to establish a virtual greenhouse that will be used to evaluate
energy balance in the greenhouse, labour efficiency and greenhouse
design. It is anticipated that the virtual greenhouse will allow growers
to input information regarding their greenhouse (planned changes)
and look at "what if scenarios." The first phase of the
project is looking at energy conservation and will allow the user
to determine which energy conservation techniques would be beneficial
for their operation. In the second phase, the system will allow a
greenhouse manufacturer to try "what if scenarios," such
as looking at structural modifications and their impact on energy
consumption, plant spacing and labour movement.
Grow Pipes Enhancing Fruit Maturity and Quality
Research conducted by our Greenhouse Vegetable Specialist, at the
Greenhouse and Processing Crops Research Centre at Harrow with Agriculture
and Agri-food Canada (AAFC) and Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers
(OGVG) as well as at a commercial greenhouse facility, has shown the
benefits of using a grow pipe in improved micro-climate management,
fruit quality and disease management. A grow pipe is a small diameter
hot water pipe suspended 30 to 50 cm above the growing media within
the crop growing row. This is used as the primary heat source at certain
times of the year. The temperature of the water is adjusted to alter
the microclimate allowing the greenhouse grower to make adjustments
that will create a microclimate that enhances fruit maturity and quality.
There are currently 34 hectares of greenhouses using this technique
DNA Barcode Scanning of Insects
Recent advances in the use of molecular technology for identification
of organisms to species have been
developed at the University of Guelph, which is home to a project
known as the Barcode of Life. Working with researchers at the University
of Guelph, Crop Technology Branch staff worked on a major project
aimed at developing a database of Ontario agricultural pests as a
means of facilitating rapid identification. This project included
financial commitments from a number of agricultural crop sectors.
One major commitment from the greenhouse industry, took this project
a step further by investigating the feasibility of developing a prototype
for a portable DNA sequencer that would allow in field identification.
The long-term potential of such technology would include its use at
the American border, speeding up entry of Ontario grown product into
the United States, particularly in situations where insects were found.
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Plant Health and Regulatory Issues
Managing Invasive Alien Species Issues
With increased trade of plants and plant products across borders
comes the increased risk of spreading new invasive plants and plant
pests. One of the challenges for agriculture is balancing trade issues
while recognizing and managing pathways for introduction or spread
of invasive alien species (IAS).
Currently, many Crop Technology specialists are involved with IAS
issues. Our staff assess crop protection issues, support minor use
initiatives including emergency use registrations for IAS and quarantine
pests, and assist commodity sectors in dealing with regulatory related
impacts. In response to these threats, Crop Technology specialists
participate in international-federal-provincial task forces, working
directly with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, other governments
and ministries, researchers and affected stakeholders to develop action
plans and solutions.
In 2006-07, OMAFRA specialists contributed to the prevention, early
detection or management of the following invasive pests: downy mildew
on cucurbits, apple clearwing moth, soybean rust, emerald ash borer,
sudden oak death, soybean cyst nematode, dog strangling vine, giant
hogweed, plum pox virus, bois nor, leek moth, swede midge, soybean
aphid and cabbage seedpod weevil.
Getting the Word Out About the Asian Long-horned Beetle
Asian Long-horned Beetle (ALHB) was first detected in New York as
a serious invasive insect pest of primarily hard maples and other
valued forest broadleaf species. It was necessary to get information
out to woodlot owners about the potential impact on the maple syrup
industry as a food crop and the significance of this pest to forestry
wood products. A series of workshops were held to educate maple producers
and woodlot owners on the potential threat to our industries by ALHB.
Emphasis was placed on learning how to identify the signs and symptoms
of ALHB in affected hardwoods and to report any sightings to the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency or specialists as soon as possible in order
to contain any infestations quickly. Crop Technology's Agroforesty
Specialist worked with other government agencies to organize and deliver
a series of six workshops held across the province at local meetings
of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association, forest pest research
meetings and at other farm woodlot meetings.
Pepper and Tomato Anthracnose Survey Uncovers an Unexpected Species
In 2006, several samples of anthracnose-infected pepper and tomato
fruit were collected in southwestern Ontario. In the past, pepper
anthracnose (Colletotrichum spp.) was quite rare in Ontario, but the
incidence has increased dramatically in the last couple of years.
Research from Ohio, where similar observations were noted, indicated
that there had been a shift in Colletotrichum populations towards
a species that was more virulent on pepper and tomato.
Initial diagnosis ruled out the species thought to be the primary
cause of tomato anthracnose in Ontario. Crop Technology provided funding
to conduct genetic testing on the samples with a surprising result.
All the anthracnose samples were of one species, but this was neither
the typical Ontario species, nor the species identified in Ohio.
Now that Crop Technology Branch staff have uncovered this shift in
species, work has begun to determine if management practices need
to be adjusted. In 2007 a more extensive survey will be conducted
to assess control methods.
Soybean Rust (Soybean PIPE - Pest Information Platform for Extension)
The threat of soybean rust has led to unparalleled international
co-operation and partnerships. The comprehensive soybean rust "sentinel
plot" monitoring program put in place by the United States Department
of Agriculture (USDA) with OMAFRA and the Ontario Soybean Growers
(OSG) is one such
example. Ontario's involvement in this innovative network resulted
in a series of soybean sentinel plots (38 in 2006 and 44 in 2005)
being established across the soybean production area of southern Ontario.
The sentinel plot program involves intensive scouting for soybean
rust symptoms and field evaluations by the OMAFRA in conjunction with
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and industry partners. The establish-ment
of these plots allowed OMAFRA also to survey for other soybean pests
such as SCN, aphids and other diseases.
Ontario's involvement through OSG funding in this North American
early warning system provides Ontario and Canadian soybean producers
and industry with access to soybean rust management information and
research that otherwise would be cost prohibited.
Investigating the Role of Soil Insects as Pests of Root Crops in
Soil insects have long been a significant problem for producers of
root vegetables in Ontario. In recent years, carrots and sweet potatoes
have experienced significant economic losses due to damage from these
pests. Historically, wireworms and grubs were thought to be the main
soil insects in root crops. However recent investigations by Crop
Technology Branch staff revealed high numbers of millipedes in fields
where growers had attributed damage to wireworms. Millipedes are important
in maintaining soil health, and have not traditionally been considered
pests. There is little information available on what impact, if any,
they have on yield of root vegetables in Ontario.
In response to these observations, Crop Technology Branch staff,
together with researchers from the University of Guelph, are studying
the biology of soil pests in Ontario carrots and sweet potatoes in
2007. The goal is to identify the main species of wireworms, millipedes
and other arthropods attacking these crops and to determine what factors
influence their populations and impact on crop yield. The project
will also evaluate various sampling techniques, in the hopes of identifying
an effective method that growers can use to monitor their crops for
these pests. This information will be critical to the registration
of pest control products and the development of integrated pest management
strategies aimed at reducing the impact of these pests on root crops
in the province.
Leek Moth, an Invasive Alien Species, Attacking Alliums
The leek moth is an invasive alien species of European origin, which
damages Allium spp. including onions, leeks, garlic and chives.
It was first identified in the Ottawa area in 1993 and recognized
as a new introduction by the scientific community in 1997. Since its
detection, leek moth has resulted in significant damage to both conventional
and organic allium producers in eastern Ontario and southwestern Quebec.
Over the past three years, Crop Technology Branch staff and Agriculture
and Agri-Food Canada staff worked together to develop a monitoring
protocol and management solutions for both conventional and organic
allium producers. This work has provided a better understanding of
leek moth population dynamics and how to better time pest control
applications through the use of a degree day model. Data packages
supporting pest control registrations have been prepared and submitted.
In 2007, work is on-going to learn the distribution of leek moth in
One of the initial goals of this project was to increase leek moth
awareness to allium growers. To this end, field research has been
presented at meetings across the province. A poster reporting on the
2006 field season won first place at the annual Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Conference. In addition, the leek moth infosheet has been
updated with new information and photos. Through technology transfer,
allium growers across Ontario are learning what, where and how to
control leek moth.
Swede Midge Biology and Management
The swede midge, an economic pest of cole crops, is native to Europe
and Asia and was not known to occur anywhere in North America prior
to its identification in Ontario in 2000. Since then, swede midge
has been identified as a quarantine pest and its distribution has
been recorded in Ontario and Quebec.
Crop Technology Branch staff and researchers from the University
of Guelph have worked together to evaluate trapping methods, reduced
risk pesticides, and better understand the relationship between trap
captures and field damage. Based on this research, Ontario cole crop
growers are now equipped with best management practices in the battle
against the swede midge. Canadian distributors commercially provide
pheromone traps as well as offer site-specific decision-making information.
Data generated from field and greenhouse trials are being used to
support both emergency use and User Requested Minor Use Label Expansion
(URMULE) registrations. Monitoring work in different counties has
provided weekly snap shots of flight activity to growers across southwestern
In addition to research, Crop Technology Branch staff continue to
play a leading role in the International Swede Midge Task Force.
This "Lady" Can Do a Lot of Damage
Multicoloured Asian Lady Beetles, Harmonia axyridis, are
normally beneficial insects, but become pests when they are attracted
to ripening grapes. If Multicoloured Asian Lady Beetles (MALB) are
harvested along with the grapes, they impart an unpleasant taste and
aroma to the resulting wine. The attraction of MALB to ripening grapes
is not unique to Ontario, but university researchers, private industry,
and government agencies in Ontario have taken a lead role in finding
solutions to this problem. Since the first major appearances of MALB
in grapes in 2001, Crop Technology Branch staff have provided leadership
to the grape and wine industry through convening the Multicoloured
Asian Lady Beetle Working Group (formerly called the MALB Task Force).
Since its inception, the MALB Working Group has been chaired by Crop
Technology Branch staff, and includes members from grape and wine
industry groups, individual wineries, universities, other government
agencies, and private industry service groups. The continuing roles
of the Working Group include keeping members and all grape growers
and wineries informed of MALB problems, research and solutions, as
well as determining current and future research needs and securing
funds for research and services related to MALB. Other important activities
where Crop Technology Branch staff have assisted with MALB issues
include securing pesticide registrations for late season use and exploring
alternative pest management options. As an established invasive insect,
MALB is now a permanent part of the ecology of Ontario. Despite that,
the efforts of the grape and wine industry, assisted by the MALB Working
Group, have insured that excellent vintages continue to be produced
Training for CFIA Inspectors Helps Ensure Accurate Pest Identification
Nurseries are considered potential pathways for the introduction
of new forestry pests. While pests and diseases do not recognize borders,
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspectors play a vital role
in keeping pests and diseases out of Ontario through their inspections
at border crossings. Ensuring that CFIA inspectors have the knowledge
and tools to do their job properly is key to maintaining a healthy
This past year, Crop Technology Branch staff in collaboration with
Landscape Ontario and the University of Guelph developed and delivered
an applied four-day training program for CFIA inspectors. The course
provided CFIA staff with information and tools to correctly identify
common pests, diseases and abiotic problems (problems caused by something
other than a disease or pest) associated with nursery crops. Modules
covered included plant and pest identification, an introduction to
insects and diseases of woody plants, and a review of regulated and
economic pests as well as beneficial species. Efforts were made to
help inspectors understand the production systems used within the
industry. New information learned was put into practice through guided
tours and an investigation of the University of Guelph's insect collection.
Participant feedback was very positive and encouraged the delivery
of a similar course in 2007.
Minor Use and Emergency Registrations
For all crops grown in Ontario, minor use crop-pest priorities are
developed annually and submitted to the national minor use priority
list. Each year numerous projects are conducted at the national level
addressing Ontario priorities. Additional provincial minor use priorities
are addressed by pulling together the necessary data, research trials,
and registrant support to steer these through the Pest Management
Regulatory Agency (PMRA) process.
Crop Technology Branch staff play a pivotal role in prioritizing
minor use needs and seeking sustainable ways to address the minor
use technology gap over the long term. Staff seek risk reduction strategies
and act as a liaison with our American, European and Australian minor
Crop Technology Branch staff also play a key role when an emergency
pest outbreak occurs, as these situations must be addressed rapidly
to protect Ontario's vital agricultural interests. Crop Technology
Branch has responded quickly in validating the emergency use situation
and seeking sustainable ways to address the problem over the long
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
- In 2006, approximately 63 minor use submissions were granted full
registration status by PMRA. Ontario was the sponsor or key proponent
of 50 per cent of these submissions. There are approximately 350
active minor use submissions in the system presently. The federal
minor use program, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Pest Management
Centre, accounts for about 245 of these projects or 70 per cent
of the national total. The remaining 105 projects have been sponsored
and submitted by the provinces of which Ontario accounts for about
66 per cent.
- In 2006, 21 emergency use submissions were brought forward, prepared,
reviewed and submitted by Crop Technology Branch in collaboration
with grower organizations. Eighteen of these emergency use submissions
were approved by PMRA saving over $475 million in potential crop
losses in Ontario. Two of the emergency use submissions were withdrawn
due to full registration being granted and one was withdrawn by
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Competitive Production and Handling
Soil Fertility Handbook (Publication 611)
A team of Crop Technology Branch staff, with input from agribusiness
and academia, have extensively revised and updated the Soil Fertility
Handbook. This handy reference brings together into one place the
fundamentals of how nutrients behave in the soil and in crops. It
is intended for use by farmers and agronomists, but it has also been
popular as a textbook in college and university soil management courses.
More than 90 tables and figures (25 of them brand new) help to make
the concepts understandable.
This book explains the science of soil testing and fertilizer recommendations,
and clearly explains the benefits of using the OMAFRA recommended
systems. It provides the tools for farmers to tailor their own fertilizer
program, right up to designing their own custom fertilizer blends.
Helping growers get a better understanding of how nutrients behave
should result in more effective fertilizer use, leading to increased
profits and reduced environmental impact.
Increasing Ontario's Share of the Market for Golden Apples
The imported Golden Delicious has always reigned supreme on retail
shelves in Ontario for consumers with a preference for yellow skinned
apples. The mix of yellow skinned varieties has changed significantly
with the likes of Gingergold, Earligold, Golden Supreme, and Aurora
as well as improved strains of Golden Delicious grown using special
techniques. Aurora is considered one of the best eating apples in
the world. Crop Technology Branch staff were able to grow Aurora cultivars
in a test plot in Lambton County during the 2006 growing season. Results
have stimulated a high level of interest in both Ontario and B.C.,
where Aurora has its origins. The experiment was done in a year that
was not considered to be a good year for Golden Delicious types. These
cultivar trials and applied research have provided information to
growers to improve the look and finish of Ontario grown Goldens. The
use of particle films and growth regulators offers promise that these
yellow apples will be able to fill the niche demand that the imported
Golden Delicious currently holds, increasing marketing opportunities
for Ontario growers.
Innovative Greenhouse Research Improves Competitiveness of the Sector
High wire cucumber production is a training method that differs from
the traditional umbrella system. It allows the plant to be grown so
that the main stem is not terminated resulting in very tall plants
that need to be lowered (layered) like tomatoes. This increases production,
improves fruit quality and allows easier harvesting of the mature
fruit. Crop Technology Branch staff have developed a protocol, based
on several years of research to address various issues with this system
resulting in 25 to 35 per cent increase in production. This system
coupled with supplemental lighting has resulted in doubling the production
on a per m2 basis. Several growers are now adopting this system on
a trial basis.
Additional research conducted by Crop Technology Branch staff has
shown that eggplants can be grown successfully in Ontario greenhouses.
Studies on plant density, stem density, nutrition indicate that plants
grown at 2.4 plants per m2 and two stems per plant is the optimal
density for our conditions. In 2001, no eggplants were grown in Ontario
greenhouses. In 2007, approximately five hectares of eggplants are
Drip Irrigation Water Movement in Raised Beds
Many growers have adopted drip irrigation technology to improve water
use efficiency and to apply nutrients with the irrigation water. However,
field observation suggests that a greater awareness of how water moves
on a variety of soil types is needed. Growers have questions about
scheduling irrigation and fertigation treatments. Under-application
of water can cause plant stress and lead to the buildup of salts.
Over-application of water can cause root diseases. The potential for
fertilizer leaching is also a concern.
Crop Technology Branch staff and OMAFRA's Irrigation Engineer used
a technique successfully developed by researchers at the Dover Experimental
Farm in Dover, Florida. The "dye test" involves the injection
of a non-toxic dye into the irrigation system to study the movement
of water in soil. The objective was to evaluate this technique for
its potential as an on-farm management tool that would demonstrate
to growers how water moves down and across raised beds and how management
practices affect scheduling.
In 2006 the blue dye test was conducted at five sites, including
Ridgetown College for Diagnostic Days. Presentations were made on
the results of these initial demonstrations at the Ontario Fruit and
Vegetable Conference, and the Great Lakes Fruit Extension Workers
Conference. More demonstrations are planned for 2007.
Ontario Corn Study Helps Direct Future Hybrid Development
One advantage the Ontario seed corn industry possesses is quality.
Maintaining our productivity and quality under variable growing conditions
in the future is critical to the ongoing viability of the Ontario
industry. In 2006, a seed corn disease and insect survey was conducted
by Crop Technology Branch staff in the production areas on southwestern
Ontario. Results support the observations that certain diseases such
as Gray Leaf Spot, Northern Leaf Blight and Anthracnose leaf blight
(three economically and potentially destructive seed and commercial
corn diseases) are increasing.
The information obtained on disease and insect impacts in Ontario
seed corn and commercial corn fields will assist both private and
public breeders in hybrid development which will help meet this challenge
and potentially reduce loses to diseases and other pests. An enhanced
understanding of the barriers to yield and the compensatory management
techniques for Ontario seed corn production is the key to a sustainable
and dependable Ontario seed corn and commercial corn production industry.
Profit Through Knowledge
The fifth annual Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention, "Profit
Through Knowledge", attracted more than 1,400 horticultural producers,
marketers and industry representatives. The two-day conference combined
educational sessions with a major trade show. More than 120 exhibitors
representing all the input, service and information providers to the
horticultural industry participated. Crop Technology Branch staff
played a major role in the success of this conference as session chairs
and through the development of the educational program. Staff used
their broad network of contacts to bring international speakers and
local experts to the conference to present production information,
innovative practices, business management and marketing strategies.
Topics presented took the audience from field to marketplace. Sessions
focused on product performance, disease management, food safety in
the harvesting and handling of leafy greens, the latest research on
controlling corn earworm, new post-harvest technologies and management
strategies for downy mildew in cucumbers. Global marketing trends
presented addressed issues such as linking food and health, buying
locally and opportunities within ethnic markets. Panel discussions
involved the audience in creative and innovative marketing to help
them profit through knowledge.
The Effect, Timing and Rate of Chemical Thinners on the Incidence
and Severity of Black Rot of Apple Fruit
Managing fruit load on apple trees is important to maximize fruit
size and quality. Chemical thinners have been developed and registered
to reduce crop load since hand thinning is very labour intensive and
costly. Application of chemical thinners can result in mummified fruit.
Mummified secondary fruit are rapidly colonized by the Black rot fungus,
Botryosphaeria obtusa. This provides an important source of inoculum
that infects primary fruit later in the season.
To address this issue, Crop Technology Branch staff worked with University
of Guelph researchers to investigate methods of using chemical thinner
technology to reduce Black rot in apples while optimizing fruit crop
load and fruit quality. Results of the research showed that the incidence
of Black rot was lower on fruit from trees that received chemical
thinners at petal fall than on trees treated when fruit were 11 to
15 mm. Black rot severity on fruit was also significantly lower on
fruit from trees when chemical thinners were applied at petal fall
than from trees treated when fruit were either 6 to 22 mm or 11 to
15 mm. Preliminary results indicate that trees treated at petal fall
or when fruit were 6 to 11 mm produced adequate numbers of fruit per
tree with good fruit weight and a low incidence and severity of Black
rot at harvest. These results help growers reduce crop load, maximize
fruit size and quality.
International Potato Common Scab Conference
Potato growers in Ontario are experiencing more difficulties with
common scab, and practical control methods for this disease are sorely
needed. In view of the widespread common scab problem, Crop Technology's
Potato Specialist organized the First International Potato Common
Scab Conference held in North America. The conference was held in
Guelph on March 5-6, 2007. The conference brought together 13 scientists
from around the world to discuss the practical implications of their
This conference addressed many of the challenges and economic implications
of the issue. It was attended by approximately 160 people, including
researchers, extension personnel and a large number of potato farmers,
who comprised approximately 70 per cent of the attendees. This was
truly a North American conference with participants from Ontario,
Quebec, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Alberta, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The conference provided an excellent opportunity
to share experiences with scab management from a worldwide perspective.
A consistent message from all speakers and growers is that common
scab on potatoes continues to increase. The increase in scab symptoms
on potato tubers is having an economic impact on growers, packers
and processors. Compared to its status 10 to 15 years ago, the disease
has moved from a relatively lower importance in potatoes to a major
disease issue. While surface scab may render the potatoes non-marketable
for seed and table (ware) markets, they may still be used for processing
into french fries and chips (crisps). Pitted scab is increasing and
makes potatoes unsuitable for use in processing as removal of the
potato skin still leaves deep pits in the flesh that reduces the quality
of chips and fries. A major challenge now exists to develop effective
control and management practices.
An extensive assessment of more than 100 potato varieties/seedlings
had been evaluated each year (2005-6) by Crop Technology Branch staff
in a naturally infested scab research plot to assess susceptibility/resistance
to common scab under conditions at the test site in Alliston, Ontario.
Tuber samples were put on display at the conference. Under the conditions
tested, some varieties have displayed excellent field resistance to
scab and others consistently displayed susceptibility to scab with
evidence of surface and pitted symptoms. A summary of the varietal
susceptibility to scab evaluations, from the Ontario trials was compiled
by Crop Technology Branch staff and was included in the registration
package for all attendees. Of the 187 varieties/seedlings tested,
the ratings were: 11 very tolerant, 29 good tolerance, 14 some tolerance,
41 susceptible, 44 very susceptible and 48 extremely susceptible.
Some of the most heavily used table and processing varieties were
in the latter two categories.
Researchers, working on scab, found the conference to be beneficial
in sharing their results and discussing their ongoing programs with
other scientists. Potato growers had the opportunity to interact with
researchers from around the world and exchange ideas on potential
scab control methods. A proposal was made to develop an international
newsletter on new developments/research on common potato scab.
Corn Ear Moulds and Mycotoxin Survey
A wet fall of 2006 created harvesting difficulties and corn quality
concerns. As field corn harvest began, Crop Technology Branch staff,
in partnership with the University of Guelph, began sampling corn
fields across the province. This survey identified the extent and
severity of ear moulds and mycotoxins within the corn crop. Ears and/or
harvested grain were assessed for visual mould growth and for deoxynivalenol
(DON, vomitoxin) and Zerealenone levels. More than 90 fields were
sampled from across southern Ontario. This survey, combined with other
Crop Technology extension efforts such as Cropline, articles in newsletters
and publications, delivered critical information to the Ontario corn
Regional differences in the severity of infection were identified.
Chatham-Kent, Middlesex, and Elgin Counties, for example, had much
higher DON levels than the rest of the province, while areas to the
east of Guelph were virtually free of corn that tested over two ppm
DON. Recommendations for harvesting, drying and storage techniques
to mitigate the problem associated with high mycotoxin corn were provided.
The project also conducted research relating to mitigation techniques
that will improve future recommendations.
Crop Technology and Livestock Technology staff identified feeding
concerns for livestock producers, suggested herd health symptoms to
watch for, and gave recommendations for sampling and testing for mycotoxins
in grain and feed. Human health concerns and safety precautions, particularly
for those with prolonged exposure (such as those working in the grain-handling
sector), were recommended.
Interactive Workshops Assist Growers in Managing Obliquebanded Leafroller
Obliquebanded Leafroller (OBLR) is a major pest of apples throughout
Canada and is considered one of the priorities under the Pest Management
Centre risk reduction strategy. Resistance to organophosphate (OP)
insecticides and cross resistance to insect growth regulators (IGR)
has made managing this pest a challenge. Although new reduced-risk
products are available for effective management of this pest, their
modes of action and application timings may differ from those of older
chemistries. To facilitate the transition, Crop Technology Branch
staff organized a series of grower meetings on OBLR across the province
in the winter of 2007. The interactive workshops highlighted management
issues including biology, monitoring, thresholds, spray coverage,
resistance to insecticides, management options (using reduced-risk
pesticides), and other practices (thinning, pruning, and sprayer calibration)
that contribute to successfully controlling this pest. These workshops
were requested by the Ontario apple growers who also sponsored the
workshops. Funding in support of these workshops was obtained through
the Pesticide Risk Reduction Program. A total of 145 growers received
certificates of completion following their attendance and participation.
Monitoring Program for Pests in Herbs and Lavender
One major challenge to the production of herbs and lavender in Ontario
is a lack of knowledge about the major insects and diseases attacking
these crops. This problem is expected to increase as acreage increases.
Providing growers with information that will help them in the accurate
identification of pest problems is a key objective of an ongoing survey
being conducted by Crop Technology Branch staff at herb farms in southwestern
Since 2005, weekly visits were made to commercial herb fields to
take samples of insects and diseases from many of the major field
grown herbs produced in the province. Major insect pests observed
were several leafhopper species, including aster yellow and potato
leafhoppers, as well as aphids, leaf miners and tarnished plant bug.
Diseases included downy mildew and Alternaria leaf blight.
High nematode populations in thyme led to a larger study to determine
the effectiveness of nematode suppressive cover crops. More detailed
scouting surveys are planned for 2007. One major finding was that
pest problems in herb crops are often misdiagnosed or attributed to
production concerns. For example, dieback in thyme due to nematode
infestation had initially been attributed to the plants being allowed
to flower too long.
A key success of this project has been the development of baseline
information on major herb pests and when they appear. Results to date
have been presented at a number of grower meetings, and it is hoped
that, as more data is collected, the information can be included in
OMAFRA agriphones and publications. This will aid growers in the accurate
diagnosis of problems and timely application of pest management solutions.
This is particularly important for herb growers as most producers
prefer not to apply chemical control products to these crops, instead
relying on alternative pest management solutions, which generally
require a more detailed knowledge of the pests and their biology.
Lavender Study Group Promotes Industry Opportunities
Promoting interest and improvement in the production of minor crops,
such as lavender, sometimes requires creative approaches and vision.
The success of the lavender study group, established by Crop Technology's
Ginseng and Medicinal Herbs Specialist, is an excellent example of
one such approach. The group, now in its second year, is led by a
local lavender grower. The group meets regularly to hear speakers,
view demonstrations and share knowledge. Topics covered include pest
and weed control, management of cuttings, distillation of lavender
flowers, organic protocols, and lavender based agritourism opportunities
targeting artists and school tours.
The establishment of the study group has resulted in the building
and sharing of information about varieties and growing techniques.
The long-term goal of the study group is to have a lavender agritourism
industry in Ontario that compliments wine tours and day-trip opportunities.
A number of the farms have long-term plans to do value-added processing
of oil, hydrosols, bundles of flowers, packets of buds and scented
8th Year of Soil Management Workshop Proves Popular
The need to educate agri-business and producers on the many aspects
of soil quality has not changed since 2000, when the Soil Management
Workshops began. Promoting new advances in technology and knowledge
ensures that the workshop content is always relevant and practical.
The consistently high attendance and excellent evaluations prove that
agribusiness and producers find these workshops valuable. This year
almost 60 participants were exposed to practical methods for assessing
soil quality. The practical management solutions and new tools will
assist consultants in providing better advice to their clients. Growers
who manage their soil better increase their competitive edge.
Conference Celebrates 20 Years of Promoting Woodlot Improvement
A well-managed woodlot can provide economic returns to a landowner.
Practical options for managing pine resources was the focus of the
20th annual Kemptville Winter Woodlot Conference. Crop Technology's
Agroforestry Specialist took a lead role in planning this one-day
workshop that attracted almost 250 participants. The workshop is jointly
sponsored by the Eastern Ontario Model Forest, OMAFRA, the Ministry
of Natural Resources and the South Nation and Raisin Region Conservation
Authorities. Participants learned about forest pests, nuisance wildlife
control and specific management options for red and white pine plantations.
Screening of Reduced Risk Products for Management of Powdery Mildew
Powdery mildew is one of the most chronic and serious diseases that
afflicts greenhouse vegetables. The problem is compounded by a lack
of products or tools that growers can access for management of this
disease. Powdery mildew has been identified by the greenhouse vegetable
industry as a top priority. Crop Technology Branch's Greenhouse Vegetable
IPM Specialist worked with staff of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
and the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers to develop a proposal
for funding from the Pest Management Reduced Risk Program (PMRRP).
The purpose of this project was to find effective reduced and low-risk
products that would be registered for management of powdery mildew
in greenhouse vegetables. Research has started at the Greenhouse and
Processing Crops Research Centre in Harrow to provide data to assist
in the registration of low-toxicity products. Having such products
assists growers in reducing losses attributed to powdery mildew and
in practicing fungicide resistance management by having sufficient
products for rotation.
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Food Safety and Quality
Developing a HACCP-based Food Safety Model for Herbs, Spices and
Natural Health Products
The number one issue in medicinal plants is fraud, either through
misidentification of plants grown/collected or deliberate substitution.
Consuming the wrong medicinal plant can be deadly. Consumers need
to know that they are getting the health benefit they paid for or
expected when they purchase a product. Other industry issues that
need to be addressed are bacterial contamination and heavy metals.
In 2002, our Ginseng and Medicinal Herbs Specialist participated
in the newly formed National Herb, Spice and Natural Health Product
Coalition as a technical resource. This national team representing
ten provinces and one territory took on the job of developing a farm
food safety model for herbs, spices and natural health products in
Canada. This model was based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points
(HACCP). A plant identification module was developed. This module
is recommended by the World Health Organization for use in Third World
countries. It is a full-traceability model and is being used as part
of access benefit sharing protocols being developed at the United
Nations. A Good Agricultural Practices manual for Canadian producers
of herbs and spices was also developed. This was done according to
protocols establish by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
In 2006, a pilot training exercise with Ontario ginseng growers was
conducted. Ten growers participated and supplied feedback which was
used to improve the manual. A group of pharmaceutical manufacturers
from China has asked that all ginseng growers use this program and
that producers mesh our Good Agricultural Practices Program with theirs
to develop a global standard for ginseng. This will be developed this
summer and fall. Once the technical review is completed and appropriate
changes are made, growers will have a CFIA recognized model in Canada
for on farm food safety for herbs, spices and natural health products.
Evaluation of SmartFresh (1-MCP) Treatment for Ontario Greenhouse
SmartFresh (1-MCP) has the ability to delay fruit ripening and thus
increase product shelf life. This technology has been utilized by
the apple industry during the past few years, resulting in more marketing
opportunities and increased competitiveness.
Crop Technology's Fresh Market Quality Program Lead, in collaboration
with the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, AgroFresh Inc., Agricultural
Adaptation Council, and the University of Guelph, developed a multi-year
project to evaluate the potential of SmartFresh to improve quality
and extend shelf life of Ontario greenhouse tomatoes.
SmartFresh was shown to slow ripening, maintain vine health, and
delay color change in several types of greenhouse tomatoes. Application
methods and incorporation into commercial postharvest practices are
currently being investigated.
Due in part to the success of this project, SmartFresh was recently
registered in Canada for use on tomatoes. As a result, Ontario greenhouse
vegetable growers will have the ability to extend marketing windows
and avenues for their tomatoes.
Study on Environmental Effects of Storing and Spreading Waste Sugarbeets
on Crop Land
In the winter of 2004, weather and other factors resulted in the
rotting of large quantities of sugarbeets in storage piles in Ontario
and Michigan. In January 2005, the sugar company requested that their
grower/shareholders take loads of sugarbeets for field spreading.
When this situation arose, Crop Technology Branch staff contacted
sugarbeet experts in other growing areas to gather information on
waste sugarbeet storage and handling. Initial recommendations were
developed based on the limited information available. To address this
lack of information, a two-year project was proposed by Crop Technology
Branch staff and funded by the Ontario Sugarbeet Growers' Association
(OSGA), through the CORD program.
The project explored the potential for composting waste sugarbeets,
conducted a greenhouse simulation of waste beet spreading, monitored
sugarbeet stockpiles, and in 2005-06 sampled and monitored fields
where waste beets were spread.
Possible agronomic and environmental considerations relating to waste
sugarbeets was reported in an infosheet distributed to growers and
posted on our website. Meetings were held with growers and company
representatives to discuss management practices for dealing with the
Through this initiative, Crop Technology Branch staff were able to
answer questions growers had about waste sugarbeets and help them
deal with problems that arose. The information developed will be useful
in developing recommendations and management practices for dealing
with large quantities of waste sugarbeets or other crop waste if similar
situations arise in the future.
Ensuring Accurate Test Results Through Agronomic Accreditation Program
Soil testing services to farmers in Ontario are provided by private
laboratories. Both farmers and government need to know that the analytical
results are accurate, since soil test results are the basis for fertilizer
recommendations and nutrient management. The OMAFRA Agronomic Accreditation
Program, administered by Crop Technology Branch staff, provides the
assurance that results from accredited labs meet standards.
To produce a program that is both economical for the laboratories
and effective, OMAFRA has teamed with the North American Proficiency
Testing Program (NAPT), which operates under the Soil Science Society
of America, as the source of exchanges samples. Accredited labs must
be enrolled, at their own cost, in NAPT, and submit their sample results
(five soils and three plant tissues each quarter) to both NAPT and
OMAFRA. These results are compared to the average of the Ontario labs,
as well as to the larger population of all the labs enrolled in NAPT.
This allows any problems in the labs to be quickly identified and
Currently there are five accredited labs in Ontario, plus one in
Ohio that has Ontario clientele. These labs provide accurate results
to Ontario farmers, enhancing the profitability and competitiveness
of Ontario crop production. This also creates a sound basis for nutrient
management planning, minimizing the risk for adverse environmental
impact from nutrient application.
Project Helps Producers Address Environmental Issues
Convincing growers that changing cultivation practices can impact
climate change requires solid data. Over the past four years, Crop
Technology Branch staff have partnered with University of Guelph and
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers, industry and a number
of local Soil and Crop Improvement Associations on the Greenhouse
Gas Mitigation Program. Our staff implemented a number of demonstrations
of best management practices (BMPs) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Improved nitrogen use efficiency of field and horticulture crops was
demonstrated through nitrogen rate work and with cover crops. A researcher
worked with the data collected by many of the projects to determine
the reduction in nitrous oxide emissions from the various BMPs. A
comparison of different tillage methods and analysis of soil from
long term tillage and rotation plots demonstrated the levels of carbon
sequestration. An average of 65 demonstration sites per year were
established over the first three years.
Climate change and greenhouse gas mitigation practices were communicated
to growers by Crop Technology Branch staff through media releases,
newsletter articles, meetings, tours and presentations at major conferences.
A successful series of soil and nitrogen workshops were held across
the province in the first and third years of the program. Presentations
were given at a total of 130 meetings and 63 field days and tours.
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association administered the
program in Ontario in cooperation with the Innovative Farmers Association
Regular Fertilization Reduces Weeds and Herbicide Use
Many communities and municipalities are concerned about herbicide
use on public spaces and lawns. Developing alternative approaches
to weed control that helps minimize herbicide use provides alternatives
to municipalities, businesses, homeowners, and lawn care companies
who want weed free lawns or turf, but don't want to use herbicides.
A study conducted by Crop Technology's Turfgrass Specialist found
that applying commercial fertilizer regularly to a lawn over a four-year
period could reduce weed cover by five to 12 per cent. A combination
of two organic fertilizers, corn gluten meal and a beet juice extract,
applied over a four-year period also reduced weed cover to just below
ten per cent. The study found that using spot spraying only to control
weeds on plots that were fertilized regularly, could reduce herbicide
use by 96 to 99 per cent. This study concluded that regular fertilizing
with conventional fertilizers or organic fertilizers will keep weeds
in check. This research offers options for municipalities to maintain
public spaces, such municipal parks and sports fields, weed free with
minimal herbicide use.
Cover Crops Achieve Effective Plant Nematode Control
Strawberries are very susceptible to both root lesion (Pratylenchus
penetrans) and root knot nematodes (Meloidogyne hapla).
Chemical fumigation of soil prior to planting strawberries is the
preferred method for nematode control. The reliance on this single
method of nematode control is costly and often viewed as non-sustainable
in agriculture, since beneficial microorganisms are also eliminated
in fumigated soil. To address this issue Crop Technology Branch staff
conducted a trial in an established commercial strawberry field with
a previous history of root lesion and root knot nematodes. The purpose
of the study was to evaluate and compare the effectiveness and extent
of nematode reduction in strawberries following Mustard cv. Cutlass,
Marigold cv. Crackerjack and Canadian Forage Pearl Millet 101. The
cover crops were compared to the nematicide Vapam and an untreated
Fallow and all cover crops suppressed root lesion nematode populations.
Best suppression was achieved with marigolds. Fallow, marigolds and
particularly the oriental mustard cv. Cutlass suppressed rootknot
nematode populations. Strawberry transplants were planted across all
plots in the spring of 2007 and the soil and root population levels
of both root lesion and root knot nematodes will be monitored over
the next two years, to determine how long the nematode suppression
will last in a perennial crop. Results from this trial demonstrate
the effectiveness of nematode suppressing cover crops and may be useful
for managing plant parasitic nematodes in organically grown strawberries,
offering an alternative to chemical control.
Celebrating 15 Years of IPM Training to Greenhouse Flower Industry
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) workshops are one of the main components
supporting the implementation of IPM in Ontario floriculture greenhouses.
IPM is a tool that allows growers to reduce the use of chemicals on
their crops, reducing costs and potential impacts on the environment.
Since 1992, workshops have been held annually during the winter. In
2007 a workshop at the end of January attracted approximately 25 participants.
Information on the biology, identification, and management of pests
and diseases was presented. Participants also learned about implementation
of IPM and biological control. Growers had the opportunity to view
first hand insect and mite specimens (both pest and beneficial), and
plant disease specimens.
On-Farm Forestry Research Creating Alternative to Transplanting
Landowners understand the value of tree coverage to protect marginal
land or to act as wind breaks for crop protection. Trees also provide
excellent sources of carbon sequestration. However, transplanting
tree seedlings is very labour intensive and time consuming. For this
reason many landowners don't reforest land that is best suited for
trees. Direct seeding of trees is one option being explored by Lakehead
University foresters, in cooperation with Ministry of Natural Resources,
Conservation Authority and OMAFRA. Crop Technology's Agroforestry
Specialist is helping design and set up a project to determine the
viability of seeding trees directly. Initial trials have focused on
three hardwood species including red oak, bur oak and black cherry.
Two sites, each two acres in size on private land, were direct seeded
in spring 2006. Germination of seeds in all plots was greater than
80 per cent. A herbicide strategy was developed for the second year
of growth to address the weed pressure. This herbicide strategy appears
to be working well for 2007. Damage by wild herbivores including deer,
voles and squirrels was significant during the first fall and winter.
The direct seeding technique may be able to be adapted to a no-till
seeder. Landowners could eventually be able to purchase seed for various
purposes such as reforestation to hardwoods or conifers, species suited
for riparian buffers or suited as shelterbelts. A new demonstration
site was seeded in June 2007 at the Canada's Outdoor Farm Show with
red oak using a vegetable plastic mulch applicator for weed management.
If successful, direct seeding would be a more efficient and less expensive
method for landowners to establish tree cover encouraging increased
Looking at the Compatibility of Products for a Greenhouse Vegetable
Growers aim to minimize the development of pesticide resistance,
practice sustainable techniques in managing insect and disease problems,
and reduce potential impacts on greenhouse pollinator populations
(ie. bumblebees). These techniques are environmentally friendly and
help reduce costs. Providing growers with tools and information to
assist in integrating pest control products with the use of biological
control agents and pollinator populations in integrated pest management
(IPM) programs is the goal of this project.
Crop Technology's Greenhouse Vegetable IPM Specialist worked with
researchers from the University of Guelph and Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canada (AAFC) to develop a proposal and obtain funding for this project
from AAFC's Pest Management Program and CORD IV funding from the Ontario
Greenhouse Vegetable Growers. Information generated will facilitate
and promote adoption of IPM techniques that ultimately result in reduced
use of pesticides. Growers will be able to reduce or minimize the
development of pesticide resistance and practice more sustainable
techniques as a result of a better understanding of the deleterious
effects on biological control agents and pollinators that are important
components of a successful greenhouse vegetable operation.
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Putting you in touch with the information
you need through ...
Crop recommendation publications revised and produced in 2006-2007
These publications provide current production advice to producers
to help them make effective crop management decisions so they are
competitive in the industry.
Crop Technology Branch is celebrating its 10th anniversary online.
The website offers an in-depth collection of crop production relevant
information 24 hours per day, seven days per week at ontario.ca/crops.
Over 100,000 visits per month are made to the crop website to access
technical information, images, publications, agriphones, podcasts,
and conference and meeting news. There are more than 1,500 subscribers
for new content notices, over 3,500 subscribers for newsletter notices
and over 2,000 subscribers for our agriphone/crop update services.
Several major crop publications are available online (in both English
and French) as well as in printed form. These include Publication
811, Agronomy Guide; Publication 75, Guide to Weed Control; and Publication
812, Field Crop Protection Guide. These are updated as new versions
become available. Each online publication is interlinked to related
pages and photos to improve user friendliness and efficiency to find
up to date information. These online publications are very popular
with clients accounting for 20 to 30 per cent of the visits to the
OMAFRA Crops web pages.
A very successful innovation in 2006-07 was the addition of timely
crop update information in a podcast audio format that clients can
download to their computer or MP3 player for listening. Podcast usage
is rapidly growing. The enhanced podcasts include images and website
links to assist growers in disease and pest identification.
Newsletters and Factsheets
Crop newsletters account for approximately 20 per cent of the visits
to the crop website and over 50 per cent of the visits are to view
factsheets and infosheets that give detailed information on specific
crop issues or pests.
Minor Use on the Website
OMAFRA plays a key role in prioritizing minor use needs and seeking
sustainable ways to address the technology gap over the long term.
The internet is a primary method of disseminating information and
assisting our stakeholders in priority setting. The long-standing
collaboration between Ontario and Quebec on the minor use file is
clearly illustrated by our minor use website.
This website is used nationally and internationally by minor use
stakeholders as the leading information source for minor use information
in Canada. All new minor use registrations, priorities and active
projects are listed on a crop-by-crop basis on the OMAFRA minor use
webpage and are updated on a regular basis throughout the year. Key
links to our provincial, national and international minor use partners
Minor use file updating is a weekly activity that requires a collaborative
effort between Crop Technology Branch staff, Client Services Branch
staff, and Ministère de l'Agriculture des Pêcheries et
de l'Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) staff to ensure that the
information is available in both French and English. This project
demonstrated how important and strong the relationship is between
Ontario and Quebec with regard to the minor use program. Years of
collaboration have culminated in an excellent resource available to
all of our stakeholders.
Transferring Technology Through Conferences, Seminars and Workshops
Ontario producers, agri-business members and consultants are committed
to continuous education and participate in many conferences and extension
events during the year. Some of these events are exclusively OMAFRA
run, but most are delivered in partnership with provincial and local
agricultural organizations. Crop Technology Branch staff contribute
their knowledge of production challenges, current research results,
and new technological advances to create interesting and interactive
sessions that address the needs of Ontario producers. Staff use their
large local and international networks to ensure the best possible
speakers are brought in to deliver the message. In 2006-07, staff
brought in several speakers from outside the province to help deliver
the resources of the world to Ontario producers. All events receive
good media coverage with articles and interviews from events making
it into the popular press.
Crop Technology Branch staff contribute to many annual conferences,
seminars and workshops in Ontario. Attendance for these events is
well over 30,000 producers, agri-business members, and consultants,
which has been stable from year to year, demonstrating their continued
value to participants. Crop Technology Branch staff also contribute
to the development of courses and workshops on an as-needed basis
throughout the year to answer specific industry needs.
The following is a sampling of these conferences, seminars, workshops
- Southwest Agricultural Conference
- Tender Fruit Pruning Demo Days
- FarmSmart Agricultural Conference
- Soil Quality Workshop
- Greenhouse IPM Workshop
- Crop Diagnostic Days
- Eastern Ontario Crop Conference
- FarmSmart Farming Systems Expo
- Guelph Organic Conference
- Eastern Ontario Crop Diagnostic Days
- Processing Vegetable Industry Conference
- Turf Managers Short Course
- Ontario Potato Field Day
- IPM Consultants Workshop
- Ontario Turfgrass Symposium
- Grape Tailgate Tour
- Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention
- Ontario Nursery Grower IPM Workshop
- OMAFRA IPM in the Nursery Greenhouse
- Berry Growers Twilight Tour
- Canada's Outdoor Farm Show
- Leamington Tomato Day
- North American Maple Syrup Council
- Ontario Potato School
- Canadian Greenhouse Conference
- Small Fruit & Vegetable Spring Info Day
- Essex County Associated Growers
- Hort IPM Scout Training Workshops
- Greenhouse Vegetable Short Course
- Agri-business Breakfast Meetings
- Poinsettia Variety Trial Day
- Soil & Crop meetings, tours & updates
- Woodlot Conferences
- Landscape Ontario Congress
- Ontario Weed Inspectors Meeting
- Nursery Growers Short Course
- Society of Ontario Nut Growers
- IPM Workshop for Nursery Crops
- Millet Sorghum Field Day
- First National Herb and Spice Conference
- IPM Workshop for Cut Flowers
- Greenhouse Environment Night School
- IPM Workshop for Flower Exporters
- Utilising the Environmental Computer to Control the Greenhouse
- North American Strawberry Growers Association Winter Conference
- Ginseng Garden Walker Training Session
- Nutrient Management Research Update
- Drip Irrigation Workshops
- Soybean Rust Workshops
- Apple Storage Clinic
- Let's Discuss It - Bedding Plants
- Sweet Potato Info Day
- Fertigation Workshops
- Hemp Information Day
- Greenhouse Gas Project Update Meeting
- Let's Discuss It - Poinsettias
- Labour Seminar for Prince Edward County Wine Growers Association
- Specialty Coloured Bean Tour
- Great Lakes Fruit Workers Meeting
- Swede Midge ID workshop
- Mating Disruption Twilight Tour
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Finalist BRAVO Innovation Award
Jennifer DeEll, Fresh Market Quality Program Lead,
was a finalist in the Innovation category for rising to the challenges
faced by Ontario's horticultural industry through development of innovative
technical and administrative solutions. The BRAVO Excellence Awards
is the formal recognition component of the Ministry's employee recognition
program. It's designed to recognize and thank the individuals and
teams whose special contributions and accomplishments have set new
standards of excellence for OMAFRA.
Canadian Phytopathological Society Award
Mike Celetti, Plant Pathologist-Horticulture Crops
was awarded the 2006 Canadian Phytopathological Society Award for
Achievements in Plant Disease Management. The award recognizes his
work in finding solutions to problems in Plant pathology and his dedicated
contribution to the field of plant disease management.
Winner OPS SPIRIT Volunteer Award
Anne Verhallen, Soil Management Specialist-Horticulture
was recognized as for an OPS SPIRIT Volunteer award. OPS Spirit is
a recognition program for employees of the provincial government to
acknowledge the great volunteer work they perform. Anne was recognized
for sharing her time as a 4-H volunteer, Chatham-Kent Heritage Days,
Thamesville Youth Soccer Association, Youth for Understanding student
exchange host and school volunteer.
Greenmaster Editor's Award
Pam Charbonneau, Turfgrass Specialist, was awarded
the Editor's Article of the Year Award for 2006. Pam is a frequent
contributor to GreenMaster magazine as well as to the Guelph Turfgrass
Institute electronic newsletter. Her article on "Mastering the
Moss Menace" published in the issue of GreenMaster was chosen
by Editor Blair Adams as the 2006 award recipient.
Corn Specialist Named as 2007 T.R. Hilliard Award Winner
Greg Stewart, Corn Industry Program Lead, was awarded
T.R. Hilliard Award. The Hilliard award was established by the Ontario
Agricultural College Alumni Foundation to recognize individuals who
are making significant contributions in agricultural extension in
the province of Ontario.
Described by his nominators as "a leader among extension specialists",
Stewart is responsible for field-scale demonstrations and research
and collects corn research from around the world to determine its
applicability for Ontario producers. He collaborates with researchers,
provides input on project direction and value at the farm level, and
liaises with farm organizations. His outreach efforts include the
Growing Ontario's Corn website (www.gocorn.net), regular articles
in a number of agricultural publications, new releases and presentations.
He is a popular speaker at grower meetings.
Seed of the Year Finalist for 2007
Venture processing peach has been named as a finalist in the third
annual Seed of the Year competition. The variety has become one of
the most popular peach varieties in North America, and accounts for
nearly 30 per cent of the new processing peaches planted by Canadian
growers in the last five years. This variety was developed by Ken
Slingerland, Tender Fruit and Grape Specialist, in partnership
with Prof. Jayasankar Subramanian and Prof. Neil Miles of the University
of Guelph. Venture processing peach has superior resistance to bacterial
spot disease and brown rot, two major diseases in peaches. It produces
high and uniform yields, with large fruit that is desired by the processing
The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Special Award
Ken Slingerland was also part of a team to receive
a special award for the establishment of the Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt.
The award announced by Gord Miller, the Environmental Commissioner
of Ontario, was given to staff from the Ministries of Municipal Affairs
and Housing, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs,
Public Infrastructure and Renewal, Transportation, Environment, Culture,
Tourism, Economic Development and Trade, Attorney General and the
Niagara Escarpment Commission.
Ontario Berry Growers Association Award of Merit
Pam Fisher, Berry Crop Specialist, was awarded the
award of merit from the Ontario Berry Growers Association. The award
recognizes Pam's commitment to the industry and years of involvement
with the Association.
Agriculture Development Branch -- Crop specialists
deliver research, technology and information
Publications and Factsheets
The Pick of the Crop brochure lists all major Crop Technology publications
and products available for purchase. Factsheets are available free
of charge at all OMAFRA Resource Centres and on the OMAFRA website
OMAFRA Website - ontario.ca/crops
Through the Crops Index Page you can access:
- factsheets, infosheets, publications and supplements
- publications products catalogue
- conferences, tours, workshops, announcements
- downloadable audio including podcasts
- crop and pest updates
- on-line subscription service
- image galleries (herbicide injury, weeds and insects)
From farm tours to hands-on workshops, Crop Specialists work with
agricultural organizations to deliver crop management information.
Check the Crops Conferences and Meetings page on the OMAFRA website.
Conferences and Presentations
Technical Specialists are available to present information on a wide
variety of new technologies.
Research and Demonstration Trials
Specialists work with provincial and local agricultural organizations
to evaluate new technology and management ideas on-farm.
The following newsletters are available online or through subscription
to help you keep current:
- Crop-Pest Ontario
- Crop Talk
- Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Newsletter
- Ontario Berry Grower
- Orchard Network
- The Tender Fruit Grapevine
- Vegetable Viewpoint
Crop and Pest Updates
Various types of Crop and Pest Updates provide timely information
and recommendations on insects, diseases and production management
throughout the growing season. Updates can be accessed 24/7 and are
available in a variety of formats - toll-free telephone service (formerly
known as Agriphone), downloadable audio, podcasts, and text files
on the OMAFRA website. Crop and Pest Updates include:
- Berry Bulletin
- Cropline (downloadable
audio, podcast, telephone 1-888-449-0937)
- Field Crop Reports
- Maple Production
Report (website, telephone 1-888-290-4441)
- Nursery &
Landscape Report (website, down-loadable audio, podcast, telephone
& Specialty Crop Report (website only)
Advice (website, downloadable audio, podcast)
Management Report (downloadable audio, podcast, telephone 1-888-290-4441)
Update (website only)
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For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Local: (519) 826-4047