Author Archives: AgInnovation Ontario

How Canadian soybean farmers are protecting the Bruce Trail

This story comes to us from Soy 20/20

Cutting the Bruce - Image provided courtesy of Tom Hall - web
By Lilian Schaer for Soy 20/20

Niagara Escarpment – What do soybean farmers and Ontario’s famous Bruce Trail have in common? More than you might think.

The Bruce Trail, popular with hikers, runs the length of the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere reserve, from Niagara to Tobermory, Ontario. It is maintained by a team of volunteers, who use their chain saws and other equipment to manage the trail and keep it useable and safe.

All that equipment leaves an environmental footprint, though – oil residues from chain saw cutting, volatile organics from combustion, and sometimes respiratory irritation for sawyers during extended periods of cutting. Continue reading

Asian eggplant: one of Ontario’s newest local foods

Asian and Indian eggplant - web
By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Vineland, Ontario – Chinese long and Indian round eggplant are one of Ontario’s newest locally grown vegetable crops, thanks to ongoing research at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland).

Watch the video.

Some quantities of field-grown Canadian Asian eggplant are already available at retail stores in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, but researchers at Vineland are also working on developing year-round greenhouse production of the veggies.

Vineland’s World Crops program started in 2008 with a series of projects to evaluate different vegetable crops popular with new Canadians from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Okra and eggplant were ultimately selected as the two most promising crops based on potential volumes and growing ability in Ontario. Continue reading

Spinning gold out of straw

This story comes to us from Bioenterprise

Mushrooms growing in substrateLondon, Ontario – Cennatek believes there’s money to be made in discarded mushroom compost — and a host of other agricultural feedstocks. A $1.4 million pilot plant will provide the proof.

Every week, 52 weeks a year, the Highline  Mushrooms  plant in Ontario’s  Prince Edward County  discards  600  tonnes  of  spent  mushroom  compost.  And while local farmers are happy to use the nutrient-­‐rich waste as fertilizer, that’s only a seasonal activity.

So Highline turned to Cennatek. The London, Ontario company has developed technology to extract minerals from biomass — including the wheat straw in mushroom compost — and turn them into high-­‐value liquid fertilizer.   Continue reading

Host-a-Hive brings bees home

Not all innovative ideas are born in a lab — some are born, quite literally, within the walls of your own home

gees bees swarm catch - web
By Lyndsey Smith for AgInnovation Ontario

Dunrobin, Ontario – When Marianne and Matt Gee bought their home on a small acreage west of Ottawa, they were surprised to find a honeybee hive had already taken up residence.

Not keen to exterminate these helpful pollinators, Matt relocated them to a box and set up the hive in the backyard with a little help from a local beekeeper. The couple soon became beekeepers by choice and discovered they really enjoyed keeping bees.

Soon a call came in about another hive found in a house — would they be interested in rescuing it? Matt, who worked in construction as a career, was in a unique position to access the bees and safely remove them. With Matt’s home building experience and the couple’s beekeeping knowledge, the Gees found themselves rescuing dozens of hives over a number of years.

Fast forward seven years to 2016, and Marianne and Matt are embarking on a much larger honeybee venture — one that moves from just rescuing bees to, instead, setting up individual honeybee hives across several Ottawa neighbourhoods. Continue reading

A community for clean water

Farmers, rural residents work together to reduce phosphorous levels

stream and waterer - web
By Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Tobermory – A community group in the Bruce Peninsula knows poop just doesn’t run downhill, it flows downstream too.

That’s why local farmers have been working alongside the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association (BPBA) to provide new watering systems for cattle on pastures, removing the animals from drinking and walking in waterways.

With the goal to improve water quality for themselves and their neighbours downstream, the BPBA’s Six Streams Initiative focuses on addressing three sources of water pollution in their area – cattle drinking in waterways, soil erosion, and under-performing septic systems. Continue reading