Category Archives: field crops

Funky fungi for healthy fields

fungus-twitter-englishBy Matt McIntosh for AgInnovation Ontario

St Catharines – Brock University researchers are looking for growth – fungal growth that is – and they are doing it with agriculture in mind.

PhD students Larissa Barelli, Soumya Moonjely, and Shasha Hu are trying to understand the relationship between entomopathogenic fungi – a naturally occurring bug-killer – and plants.

By studying how the ground-based fungi work within the soil, they could develop an effective and more naturally derived method of pest control that also promotes plant growth.

“These fungi exist all over the globe. There are numerous varieties in Ontario alone, and each has its own unique characteristics and target insects,” says Barelli. Continue reading

Locally grown okra could soon be an option in Canada

okra - webBy Kelly Daynard for AgInnovation Ontario

Vineland, Ontario – It’s no secret that there’s a growing ethnic population of Canadians who have preferences for foods from their home countries. That fact brings with it unique opportunities for farmers to produce crops that haven’t traditionally been grown locally.

Okra is one such crop.

Over six million kilograms of okra is imported into Canada every year and the demand climbs annually. India is the top producer of the world’s okra, growing more than 70 per cent of the global crop. Other big producers are Nigeria, Sudan, Iraq and Pakistan. Continue reading

Navigating Northern Ontario’s climate shortcomings

Weather Station 2 - webBy Lisa McLean for AgInnovation Ontario

North Bay – Farmers in Northern Ontario have a short growing season. There’s little room for error, and every bit of data helps.

That’s why for the past seven years, a research team has built a tool that gives both real-time and historic information that helps growers make more informed crop management decisions.

The project, called GeoVisage, is the brainchild of three Nipissing University researchers – geographers Dan Walters and John Kovacs, and computer scientist Mark Wachowiak.

The team says the project was born from a request from area farmers to collect data that could be shared with farmers in a timely way on their own farms.

“Initially the idea was to collect quality information that could be shared among Northern Ontario farmers without requiring them to meet in person all the time,” says Kovacs. “Our area saw a shift from cattle to cash crops about ten years ago, and farmers needed enough data to decide what different types of cash crops made sense to grow.” Continue reading

Farmer wins innovation award for “potpourri” cover crop practice

Blake Vince with soil in the field - web
By Matt McIntosh for AgInnovation Ontario

Merlin, Ontario – Cover crops like red clover play an important role in many farmers’ rotation plans.

What, though, would you say to someone who plants 18 different cover crops, simultaneously, every single year? What’s the cost, return, and motivation behind such a practice?

For Blake Vince, a Merlin-area farmer who uses the aforementioned technique, the motivation behind such a cosmopolitan cover crop system is rooted in environmental stewardship.

It’s an innovation that has served his farm well since he started incorporating it in 2010, and has also brought him some social recognition. Continue reading

Soy research fights food poisoning

Suresh Neethirajan - webBy Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph ON 19 July 2016 – The latest use for soy could fight food poisoning. University of Guelph researchers are using soy extracts – isoflavones and peptides – to prevent the growth of microbial pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses.

Extracting natural agents from soy could benefit the food industry by replacing synthetic additives currently used to protect foods. The extracts have been found to combat common microbes and reduce bacterial contamination in food.

“It’s an ideal solution,” says Suresh Neethirajan, University of Guelph engineering professor and director of the BioNano Laboratory. “Soy is a safe, common food that’s been consumed for thousands of years and now we can use it to make the food we eat safer by preventing harmful bacterial growth.” Continue reading