By Lisa McLean
New Hamburg – An Ontario company that developed lunar rovers for the Canadian Space Agency has adapted the technology for use on earth. The resulting vehicle – called Argo J5 XTR (Xtreme Terrain Robot) — has applications across a variety of industries, including agriculture.
Ontario Drive & Gear Limited (ODG) is well-known to many consumers as the maker of Argo, popular all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that can travel on rough terrain through land and water. The Argo J5 XTR is an unmanned robotic platform that travels on rough terrain in a variety of conditions ranging from war zones to underground mines — without putting an individual operator at risk.
“We’ve been working on space projects since 2008, but most years we only got to build two vehicles at a time – a primary and a back-up,” says Peter Visscher, chief technology officer for ODG. “We had an offer from a defence contractor to commercialize the vehicles, so we built a version for use on earth – and being Argo, we also made them amphibious.” Continue reading
Southwestern Ontario weather measurement system lets farmers use minute meteorological data
AGRIS employee Darren Clark setting up a weather station
By Matt McIntosh for AgInnovation Ontario
Farmers are notoriously keen meteorologists, but the weather information readily available to them isn’t always the most precise. That can be a bit nerve-wracking when your livelihood depends on conditions at the beanstalk level.
In an effort to make weather information more practical for individual farmers, AGRIS Cooperative Ltd., together with Wanstead Farmer’s Cooperative and Haggerty Creek Ltd. launched the AGGrower Daily Dashboard.
This lets them offer an up-to-the-minute rainfall and temperature data service using 80 automated and 200 manual weather stations.
Wirelessly connected and distributed at 10 kilometre intervals between Essex, Sarnia, Mount Brydges, and the northern shore of Lake Erie, the stations measure rainfall and temperature in their immediate area.
Gathered data is then fed back to a central database, which farmers can access through their computer or mobile device. The difference, though, is that those measurements can be taken by the metrerather than the kilometre. Continue reading
Local company enhances naturally-occurring microbes to aid greenhouse growers
By Matt McIntosh for AgInnovation Ontario
Toronto – Healthy growing conditions are critical to the success of any crop, and chemicals designed to help plants grow and resist disease are common, useful tools for farmers – whether growing conventional, organic, indoor, or outdoor crops.
Metagenom Bio Inc., however, is one company trying to help growers reduce their reliance on chemical controls.
With help from Bioenterprise, an organization that supports the development of agri-technology companies, through its Bioenterprise Seed Fund, Metagenom Bio Inc. uses improved microbe communities to both enhance plant growth and reduce the impact of disease.
“We’re what we like to call a ‘microbiome’ company,” says Patrick Ang, chief executive officer and the self-identified “business guy” for Metagenom Bio Inc. Continue reading
This week’s story comes to us from the Agricultural Adaptation Council.
By Lilian Schaer
Bradford – Collaboration between vegetable growers, a farm organization, and a grower co-operative is leading to improved plant health and more efficient vegetable production in the Holland Marsh.
The Bradford Co-op, the Fresh Vegetable Growers of Ontario and individual vegetable growers in the Holland Marsh – an extremely fertile vegetable growing area near Bradford just north of Toronto – are collaborating on a project with the University of Guelph to test innovative technologies that will make their Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs for key crops like onions and carrots more efficient and cost effective. Continue reading
By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario
Vineland – Ontarians will soon be able to easily grow blueberries on their own balconies or patios.
That’s thanks to an agricultural innovation made possible by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, and the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance.
Demand for more edible potted plants combined with heightened consumer interest in food production led researchers at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) to work on new technology to allow consumers to more easily grow plants in containers.
Dr. Youbin Zheng and his team have developed a new organic growing material – known in the plant-growing world as substrate – that is specifically suited to growing plants like blueberries or other small fruits in containers instead of in gardens. Continue reading