Category Archives: corn

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

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

One food to rule them all

Ontario business achieves international acclaim for marketability of health food ingredients

Muffin - web
By Matt McIntosh for AgInnovation Ontario

Toronto – Dietary restrictions due to intolerances, allergies, and personal choice are a reality for many people and finding quality, nutritious foods that fit one or multiple restrictions can be difficult.

One Ontario business, though, has been able to satisfy many major dietary needs with their allergen-free – and healthy – cereal products. The company is called Amazing Grains Inc., and despite only beginning operations in 2014, has been generating quite a domestic and international stir.

Watch the video by Ontario Agri-Food Technologies

This includes recently receiving the 2016 Startup Ingredient of the Year award from NutraIngredients.com, a Europe-based organization focused on development and marketability of health and food products. Continue reading

High value pharming: Is the future of farming measured in components?

WheatStarch03-1000x20 (1) - web
By Lyndsey Smith for AgInnovation Ontario

Ottawa – When you get right down to it, farmers don’t raise grain or meat. Really, they produce three things: protein, carbohydrates, and fat.

As luck would have it, humans need those things, in varying quantities, for nutrition.

If we look more closely at one of those three things — protein — we discover that this particular component is so much more than a steak or part of a grain.

Proteins are actually amazing things — they can be enzymes, health promotants, and even medicine. Insulin is protein. Lactoferrin is protein. Humans need protein not just as nutrition in the form of hydrolyzed amino acids, but also for health as protein therapeutics. Continue reading

Using good bacteria to grow more crops

Chlorophyll extracted from soybean leaves – tubes right show inoculated plants - web

Chlorophyll extracted from soybean leaves – tubes on the right show inoculated plants

By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough – Researchers at Trent University have discovered beneficial plant bacteria that could be used to produce more field crops like soybeans without having to farm additional land.

These bacteria, Methylobacterium , which already occur naturally in soybeans, produce plant hormones called cytokinins that promote the growth of both the plant itself and its seeds.

Now, work by Dr. Neil Emery, Professor of Biology and Vice President, Research at Trent, and fellow researcher Dr. Anna Kisiala has identified how to harness those natural hormones to encourage soybean plant health and strength and increase seed size and pod numbers. Continue reading