Category Archives: crop protection

A weatherman for every acre

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

Going O-Naturel:

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

Innovative technologies help Holland Marsh growers protect their crops

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

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