CELEBRATING 133 YEARS AS CANADA’S PREMIER HORTICULTURAL PUBLICATION
VOLUME 63 NUMBER 12
Exhibit shines light on myths about greenhouse produce KAREN DAVIDSON Toronto, ON -- Cool as a cucumber, Peter Quiring fielded media questions about the “Learning Greenhouse,” one of the new exhibits at last month’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. It’s the first time that the owner of Nature Fresh Farms has put his brand in front of a consumer audience. The 10-day show also led to an epiphany: many myths still exist about greenhouse produce. As the largest greenhouse pepper grower in North America, Quiring is used to meeting large retailers at trade shows such the Produce Marketing Association’s recent event in New Orleans. However, he’s been itching to talk to consumers directly. The promise of 300,000 Greater Toronto Area visitors to the Royal seemed like an ideal venue, especially located within the “For the love of food” pavilion. “We want consumers to eat more vegetables, and of course more greenhouse vegetables,” says Quiring. “We’re looking to increase domestic share, so that means letting consumers know the benefits of Ontario or Canadian-grown product and to look for the label.” As demographics are changing rapidly in metropolitan areas, Quiring wants to understand those cultural shifts, face to face. He’s
INSIDE Chinese visit Canadian blueberry farms Page 5 Sweet potato consumption has doubled in five years Page 14 Vineyards and wineries
www.thegrower.org P.M. 40012319 $3.00 CDN
For the first time, Nature Fresh Farms rented exhibit space at last month’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. Thanks to sister company, South Essex Fabrications, a miniature-sized working greenhouse was erected complete with grow-lights, recirculating irrigation system, retractable energy screen, beehive and tomatoes growing in coconut husk media. Putting time – and brand – on the line with “The Learning Greenhouse,” owner Peter Quiring says consumer engagement is the next step in increasing domestic demand. Photo by Ben Radvanyi.
convinced the timing is right to put vegetables at the center of the plate. That’s why he devoted several days to meeting with the public as did his food safety officer, operations manager and
integrated pest management specialist. Even the company’s in-house chef came to cook eggplant no-meat meatballs for the health professionals’ dinner. While dietitians were receptive,
the mass audience is more cautious about trying new products. “We’re not where we thought we were,” concluded Ray Wowryk, director of business development for Nature Fresh
Farms, when the show ended. “The greenhouse vegetable industry and Nature Fresh Farms have a lot of work to do in educating about healthy eating.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 3
Tomato farmers are crushed by closure of H.J. Heinz plant Leamington, ON –Ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co., has hammered the tomato capital of Canada, announcing the closure of its century-old plant by next June. Physically located at the center of Leamington, the secondlargest facility in the Heinz universe will let go 740 employees. The impact will have farreaching effects in southwestern Ontario, particularly Essex and Kent counties. That’s where 46 growers of processing tomatoes won’t have contracts. Forty per cent of the processed tomato industry –4,300 acres – will be pulled out of tomato production. Seven smaller processors remain, contracting about 300,000 tons from 7,300 acres. While this highly productive land is suitable for wheat, soy and corn, they are lower-valued
crops that don’t require the planting and harvesting equipment specific for tomatoes. “The switch was flipped overnight,” says Dave Epp, whose family has had a contract since 1950. Since H.J Heinz was bought by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway fund and a Brazilian investment company, 3G Capital, earlier in the year, speculation was rife about a potential closure. With no obvious investments going into the plant, growers were suspicious. What has offended them, says Epp, is the lack of notice for a transition period. “When I signed my agreement last spring, questions were specifically asked about a potential closure and whether the company would honour verbal assurances of a two-year
transition period,” he says. “That question was run up the flag pole to the top and the answer came back to go ahead with a threeyear agreement. With this announcement, I have some issues with what’s happened, after our family’s 63-year relationship with Heinz.” Epp is one of 13 growers who had invested in 36 kilometres of pipeline and a pumphouse that filtered water from Lake Erie to irrigate 2,500 acres of tomatoes. Known as the Leamington Area Drip Irrigation project, this ambitious infrastructure won accolades from none other than the Ontario premier with a $100,000 award for agri-food innovation excellence. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4
PAGE 2 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
AT PRESS TIME… Metro demands food safety compliance
Water treatment systems listed
Effective December 31, 2013, Metro has announced that they require all produce suppliers to be certified under a recognized food safety program. All produce vendors who provide produce to Metro will be required to be certified under one of the Global Food Safety Initiatives (GFSI) recognized food safety standards. Suppliers are urged to contact their Metro buyer for further information.
Earlier this year, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (VRIC) hosted a workshop about greenhouse and nursery irrigation water treatment systems. A listing of these technologies is now available at www.ces.uoguelph.ca/water There are many available technologies that can be used says Youbin Zheng, VRIC environment horticulture chair. They can be for pH control, particle and debris removal, to treat irrigation water for pathogen control or to remove nutrients and other contaminants before discharge. “This website is intended to collect as much reliable information as possible in one single place to help you decide which technology/technologies to select for your specific operations, and to provide some essential technical data to help make the right decision when using these technologies,” says Zheng.
HZPC, one of the largest seed and potato breeding companies in Europe, awarded Potato Woman of the Year to Ontario potato specialist, Eugenia Banks. The honour was presented in The Netherlands at an open house where new potato varieties are displayed. She was cited for her Potato Field Guide, technology transfer through variety trials and enthusiasm for working with potato farmers.
Dreams can come true in agriculture Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc. has unveiled its new website for teachers and students to explore careers that don’t readily come to mind. The launch of GrowingCareers.ca couldn’t have come at a better time, just days after Ontario premier and ag minister Kathleen Wynne challenged the agri-food industry to create 120,000 new jobs by 2020.
NEWSMAKERS Think winemaker. Think food wholesaler. Think director of food marketing. All of these jobs are unique and don’t necessarily have the educational track that most would assume. The website has posted videos of these horticultural careers. Jay Johnston, for instance, talks about how he got out of the software business at age 30 to pursue a more creative career as a winemaker at Flat Rock Cellars. “I didn’t want to be chained to a desk, where there was a new cycle every six weeks,” he says. He enjoys being out in the vineyard as well as the art and science of winemaking. John Russell relates his long career at the Ontario Food Terminal in the food wholesaling business. “You need your running shoes on when you come to work,” he says. “We’re looking for young people who show ambition and are willing to bring new ideas.” Women such as Ippolito Produce’s Ashlee Mclean have busy careers in marketing. She describes a typical day as everything from designing packaging to food writing to tweeting. “I love being able to have a voice,” she says. The website offers tips about job searching, writing resumes and more. As Colleen Smith, OAFE executive director, remarked at the launch, “We’ve been too modest in celebrating the diversity of jobs that agriculture can offer.”
The Ontario Produce Marketing Association Gala and Awards Night brought out 520 people, a record for this event. The Cory ClackStreef Produce Person of the Year was awarded to Noel Brigido, Freshline Foods. The Outstanding Achievement award was won by Nature Fresh Farms, owned by Peter Quiring. The Outstanding Achievement award went to Adrian Huisman, former general manager of the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers’ Marketing Board. Ben Alviano, Mann Packing Co was honoured with the Fresh award. Congrats to all winners. Adrian Huisman CropLife Canada has announced that Ted Menzies, long-time Alberta farmer and former Member of Parliament for the riding of Macleod, will be the new president and CEO as of January 1. He held several federal positions including federal minister of state for finance and parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance. He succeeds Lorne Hepworth who is retiring. Mastronardi Produce president and CEO, Paul Mastronardi, has been named Ontario’s 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Food and Beverage Category winner. As the fourth-generation president based in Kingsville, Ontario, he heads a team that has pioneered many innovative business practices in the greenhouse vegetable sector. Bev Shipley, an Ontario MP representing Lambton-KentMiddlesex, is the new chair of the House of Commons agriculture committee. An agenda is to be set for the winter season that will likely include the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the EU. Congratulations to Dr. Manjeet Sethi, executive director of the Pest Management Centre, who was recognized as one of the top 25 people in the Ottawa capital. Ottawa Life recognizes top leaders on an annual basis. Shelley Imbeault is now executive assistant/market development coordinator for the Asparagus Farmers of Ontario. She was formerly with Erie Innovation and Commercialization. The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) has elected five new directors for the 2013 – 2014 growing season. The following have been elected for a two-year term: Tony Coppola, Jordan Kniaziew, Naunihal Gill, Marco Hoogenboom, James Neven. They join current directors: James Cornies, Paul Mastronardi, Jim Slater, Jan Van der Hout and Jim Veri.
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Ashlyn Bird has joined the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers as marketing and communications coordinator, recommending and monitoring marketing and communications programs. She is an Honours Bachelor of Commerce graduate from the University of Windsor and will be completing her Masters of Business Administration this month. Taste Canada recently hosted its annual awards for Canadianauthored cookbooks. Of note, Vancouver-based Sharon Hanna took first prize in the single-subject category for The Book of Kale. The CBC’s People’s Choice Award was won by Mairlyn Smith for The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook. Elizabeth Baird, former food editor for 20 years at Canadian Living Magazine, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Association of Ontario Food Processors welcomes new director, Adrian Jaques. He is part owner of Sunshine Pickles, a family owned and operated company which has been processing vegetables since the early 1990s. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair welcomes Peter Hohenadel as director, agriculture and food. He’s an agriculture graduate of the University of Guelph, a former farm journalist with Country Guide and a long-time advertising agency practitioner. Mark your calendar for the Royal, November 7-16, 2014. For more newsmakers, specific to the grape and wine industry, see B2.
DECEMBER 2013 –– PAGE 3 THE GROWER
Exhibit shines light on myths about greenhouse produce CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 As more than 5,000 students flooded the show one day, Wowryk observed the gap between Nature Fresh’s message and what students were eating: pizza, hot dogs and poutine. And among adults, the questions were surprising. Is your produce made from genetically modified organisms? Is your produce organic? Do you spray pesticides? Perhaps most perplexing of all, Wowryk says consumers of all ages had misconceptions that hydroponic produce doesn’t have flavour. That’s quite a shock for a company that tests 350 varieties every year in the quest for taste. “All of this points to the need for more demonstrating and tasting at the retail level,” says Wowryk. That’s an expensive challenge, with in-store demos easily costing $500 per day. Here’s the double-edged sword for fast-growing companies such as Nature Fresh. They must expand to fill the needs of retailers who are increasingly dealing directly with growers who can guarantee consistency of supply
and quality. But as they grow bigger, they are farther removed from the end consumer. That’s the paradox. There are 150 million consumers within a 12-hour drive of Leamingtonarea greenhouses but as Nature Fresh has just discovered, there can be major gaps in perception of the end product. Guaranteeing the brand experience becomes a shared responsibility between grower and retailer. Quiring is being as transparent as possible. In a video stationed above a display of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, he laid bare the vastness of his greenhouses that some may say looks like corporate farming. An award from the Ontario Produce Marketing Association honoured his technical prowess and innovation. But for all that pioneering, the bottom line is taste. Ken Wong, a distinguished professor of marketing at Queens University, offers his perspective. Why doesn’t Nature Fresh Farms meet students in their universe by putting peppers on their hot dogs? “The reality is that most
“The Learning Greenhouse” was a beacon for consumers on the exhibit floor of the recent Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. consumers don’t care if produce is grown in a greenhouse,” says Wong. “Consumers are overwhelmed with information today and what they want is taste. Make taste the central message and
emphasize how it’s natural or organic. The greenhouse is the supporting story, the draw for getting consumers into the booth.” For a multi-million dollar
business that has 130 acres under glass at Leamington, Ontario, the investment in 800 square feet of exhibit space may prove to be a defining moment in its 14-year history.
Consumers simply rinse and slice the squash, toss with oil and add the seasoning packet, and sauté over heat for five minutes. “It’s pantry to plate in just over five minutes and the only additional ingredient is olive oil,” says Jeremy Lane, sales director for Baloian Farms, Fresno, California. Available in an eight-count case, the product is expected to retail for about $3.99.
Olé for the tomato
Storage of U.S. fresh-market apples is up 10 per cent over last year, with 120 million bushels tallied as of November 1. On a variety basis, Gala and Granny Smith were up while Red Delicious, Fuji and Golden Delicious were down. Common varieties on the eastern part of the continent – McIntosh, Jonathan, Empire, Rome and Cortland – were up substantially from 2012 when frost wiped out the Michigan and New York crops.
After Mexico and the Netherlands, Spain is the world’s largest tomato exporter. The data was just released for 2011 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Mexico, which is the largest exporter, shipped a total of 1,493 million kilos. The Netherlands, in second place, exported a total of 1,040 million kilos, while Spain, ranked at number three, shipping 964 million kilos of tomatoes. As for the value of those exports, there are no changes in the three top positions. The number one spot was still for Mexico, with 1,517 million Euro, followed by the Netherlands with 1,143, Spain with 857.
INTERNATIONAL NEW ZEALAND
Apple exports suspended to China
Spicing up squash
The New Zealand apple industry has halted apple exports to China as it resolves the issue of post-harvest rot, which was detected on three consignments of fruit. A release from New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said the rot, caused by the fungus Neofabraea alba, does not pose any food safety risk but has been identified as a quarantine pest by China for health reasons.
Baloian Farms has launched an individually wrapped tray with three whole squash and a seasoning packet. Research found that the average consumer generally purchases two to three pieces and a mix of both yellow and green at a given time. Flavour packet options include Parmesan and herb, and garlic and red pepper flavours,
Source: CHC hort shorts
Ontario Pesticide Survey
Beginning December 5, all Ontario field crop, vegetable, fruit and specialty crop farmers are asked to fill out a confidential, anonymous survey of pesticide use for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Rural Affairs. This year, the survey is being conducted by Farm & Food Care Ontario. The survey will be available online at www.ontariopesticidesurvey.ca beginning December 5. Farm & Food Care will also accept mail-in, fax or email returns of the survey. Data collection will continue until February 15, 2014. For more information, contact Environmental Coordinator Bruce Kelly at Farm & Food Care: email@example.com or 519-837-1326, extension 292.
PAGE 4 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
Tomato farmers are crushed by closure of H.J. Heinz plant the departure of Heinz. “We’re still getting over the shock and awe,” says Brian Taylor, Setterington’s Fertilizer Service Ltd., Essex, Ontario, less than a week after the announcement. As an input supplier of fertilizer and crop protection products, Taylor says he is number-crunching to estimate the impact on his business. He anticipates that the full impact won’t be known for a year as the ripples affect the service industry. But
with 300,000 acres of arable land in Essex County, he’s optimistic there will be a way to adjust and modify how he operates. “Don’t sell the people of Leamington short,” says Epp. “The community will pull together. Let’s think of the opportunity that these freed-up acres present with assurances of quantity and quality of water. That’s got to be attractive to other industries.” Heinz corporate affairs did not return a call for comment.
COMING EVENTS 2013 Dec 3 – 5
CropLife Canada Grow Canada Conference 2013, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Calgary, AB
Ontario Potato Board Annual General Meeting, Cambridge Holiday Inn, Hall C, Cambridge, ON 10 am
Dec 4 – 7
Joint North Carolina Strawberry Growers Association and North American Strawberry Growers Association Conference, Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Durham, North Carolina. www.ncstrawberry.com
Haygrove Owners’ Conference, Lancaster, PA
Photo by Herb Sherwood
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Built as recently as 2009, the $10 million investment was to compete against California-grown tomatoes and maintain worldclass yields. Ironically, irrigation was no insurance for overabundant rainfall during the 2013 season. Of the 500,000 tons contracted by all tomato processors, only 350,000 tons were delivered. Heinz would represent 40 per cent of that. “It’s been a poor year for tomatoes,” says Al Krueger, executive assistant, Ontario
Processing Vegetable Growers. “I don’t want to speculate on what the remaining seven Ontario processors will do. In the shortterm, they are limited by scope and size of existing operations.” The trend of globalization will have a very real effect on the local economy of Leamington. Besides the loss of 740 direct jobs, the worry is that another 2,000 jobs are at risk in the supply chain. That’s also bad news for Premier Kathleen Wynne who recently challenged the Ontario agri-food industry to create 120,000 jobs by 2020 in the food
and beverage industry. Her clarion call will require policy changes to lower utility rates, speed up building licences and to streamline environmental regulations if Ontario is to become one of the top five places in North America to grow and process food. Those are just some of the threats facing the food and drink industry according to Steve Peters, a former ag minister and now executive director of the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors. Recommendations from a recent strategy document is a blueprint for moving forward, but won’t be in time to reverse
Dec 10 – 12 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2014 Jan 7, 8
Southwest Agricultural Conference, Ridgetown, ON
Ontario Apple Growers Annual General Meeting, Elizabeth Room, Crowne Plaza, Niagara Falls, ON
Jan 13, 14
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Annual General Meeting, Crowne Plaza, Niagara Falls, ON
Quebec Apple Growers Annual General Meeting, Club de golf de la Prairie, La Prairie, QC
Empire State Producers’ Expo, ON Center, Syracuse, NY
Jan 27 – 29 North American Raspberry and Blackberry Conference, Hershey, Pennsylvania
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Jan 27, 28
Scotia Horticultural Congress 2014, Old Orchard Inn, N.S.
Jan 28, 29
Ontario Processing Vegetable Industry Conference, Hilton Hotel, London, ON
Jan 29, 30
Chatham-Kent Farm Show, Chatham-Kent Convention Centre, Chatham, ON
Jan 30 – Feb 2 Guelph 2014 Organic Conference & Expo, University Centre, Guelph, ON Feb 18
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Ontario Berry Growers’ Association Annual General Meeting, Niagara Falls, ON
Feb 19, 20
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention, Scotiabank Convention Centre, Niagara Falls, ON
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Feb 22 – 26 57th International Fruit Tree Association Annual Conference & Intensive Workshop, Kelowna, BC
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Feb 25, 26
Agricultural Management Institute Conference: “Take a new approach: creating agribusiness linkages,” Delta Hotel, Guelph, ON
Canadian Horticultural Council Annual General Meeting, The Grand Hotel, Kelowna, BC
DECEMBER 2013 –– PAGE 5 THE GROWER
A Chinese delegation visits Canadian blueberry farms KAREN DAVIDSON Farmer conversations are always the same around the world. What kind of soil do you have? What are the pests? How are the prices? That’s exactly what Jeff Zelem discovered when he hosted a group of 10 Chinese extension workers in early October. “I jumped at the chance to meet this group of Chinese,” says Zelem, owner of Kent Kreek Berries, Simcoe, Ontario. “They are going to grow blueberries with or without us.” The opportunity came out of the blue with a phone call from Elena Caprioni, program director of York University’s Asian Business and Management Program. Fluently bilingual in Mandarin, she was responsible for organizing an intense three-week trip that focused on blueberry production in Ontario and British Columbia. “Blueberries represent a new market in China,” she explains. “These extension workers want to learn about different blueberry production systems, irrigation, pest management and of course, import-export.” This group had a laser focus on blueberries, commented Kevin Schooley, Ontario Berry Growers’ Association and one of the lecturers. They had very specific questions about improving pH balances. The Chinese province of Shandong, south of Beijing, is the most famous region for blueberries, however this tour group was from the landlocked province of Guizhou (pronounced GWAY-JO), a hilly region with marginal soil. Of the 10 visitors, six were from the Guizhou Botanical Garden Fruit Tree Resource Lab. The remaining members were from Majiang County, an area that’s been designated for a blueberry eco-tourism centre. From the Chinese perspective, blueberry picking is considered a leisure activity and something of an exotic pursuit when packaged with outdoor scenery.
One of their first stops was at Kent Kreek Berries where Jeff Zelem spent a sunny afternoon talking about all aspects of production, including his mechanical harvester. “I was surprised that they were growing organic blueberries,” says Zelem. “That’s a very difficult task, because blueberries don’t tolerate pests very well. They didn’t know very much about spotted wing drophosila, a pest that’s really been an issue for us this year.” Comparing notes, Zelem discovered that their acreages are relatively small. Zelem’s farm of 16 acres of blueberries plus another eight coming into production would be considered large for the Chinese. Despite harsh growing conditions in the province of Guizhou, the budding blueberry business is enticing. The blue jewels are worth gold – about $13 per kilogram – to newly empowered consumers looking for an exotic fruit. The Chinese delegation also visited Andrews’ Scenic Acres, Wilson’s Fresh Blueberries and Kawartha Country Wines as well as the Ontario Food Terminal, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and the Hamilton Farmers’ Market.
A group of 10 Chinese blueberry extension workers visited Ontario and British Columbia in late October. Here, Wen Guanqin, an engineer from the Guizhou Botanical Garden Fruit Tree Resource Lab examines blueberry bushes at the farm of Jeff and Paula Zelem, Kent Kreek Berries near Simcoe, Ontario.
OFVGA welcomes guest speaker
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association
NEW REVISED TWO DAY FORMAT
155th Annual General Meeting
with meetings Monday and Tuesday, banquet Monday night.
Stand-up comedian Derek Edwards is proof positive: you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. His award-winning “rural” humour has made him the hottest thing in Canada.
January 13 & 14, 2014 Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls, ON
AWARD OF MERIT NOMINATIONS The award is our way of recognizing the outstanding contribution made by an individual or organization to our fruit and vegetable industry.
REGISTRATION FORM, AGENDA AND AWARD OF MERIT NOMINATION FORM AVAILABLE AT
Is there someone you would like to nominate? Deadline: Nov. 30, 2013
PAGE 6 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION
Board briefs Following are highlights from the OFVGA board meeting held November 14, 2013. The purpose of this brief is to keep you up-todate on the issues that the OFVGA is working on, as well as projects and initiatives the organization is involved in. Labour Wrongful dismissal suit: Section chair Ken Forth reported that the wrongful dismissal lawsuit against Tigchelaar Berry Farms has been withdrawn. Three Mexican seasonal workers at the farm had claimed that they were terminated without compliance with worker protections under the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Named in the claim alongside the farm were the federal government and Foreign Agricultural Resources Management Services (FARMS), which manages the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). Advertising positions: Farmers hiring workers through SAWP are reminded they must advertise their available positions to Canadian workers as well. Fruit and vegetable farmers are encouraged to keep copies of any ads they place in local papers, for example, so they can provide this proof if requested to do so by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Growers recognized for service: Ken Forth and Hector Delanghe have each received the Badge of Honour from Jamaica for their long-standing commitment and service to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. Forth is the president of FARMS and Delanghe is a former chair and current board member of FARMS. Presented by the Governor General of Jamaica on the advice of the country’s Prime Minister, the award recognizes people who, by their service and contribution, have had a meaningful and significant impact on national life. It is rarely awarded
to non-Jamaicans. Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) The CHC has put their Ottawa office building up for sale and will be moving into smaller premises in 2014. The organization has hired a research and policy analyst, Andre Bourbonniere, and will also be hiring a communications and committee coordinator to be in place by the new year. The organization’s membership fees will be at the same rate in 2014 as they were in 2013. These developments are part of the ongoing work by the CHC oversight committee, chaired by Adrian Huisman (Ontario), to help the organization chart a new path. Other committee members include Bar Hayre (BC), David Jeffries (Prairies), George Gilvesy (Ontario), Jocelyn Ste-Denis (Quebec) and Gary Linkletter (Atlantic). Crop protection GROU: The legislation to enshrine the Grower Requested Own Use (GROU) is not final yet. Some concerns were raised in the spring about the program’s limitations, including that only 15 products are reviewed per year and product approvals for GROU only last for two years. A request to increase the approval time to five years was denied but a request to fast-track a product renewal and have renewals not be included in the 15-product maximum is being considered. Invasive species: The presence of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in Ontario is growing. It is not yet an issue with crops but is expected to present significant challenges for growers down the road as it affects more than 300 different crops, including soybeans and corn. Harmonization: Crop protection section representatives will be meeting with Health Canada to discuss full harmonization of the
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crop protection processes between Canada and the United States. The goal for complete harmonization is to have the same label on both sides of the border, which follows the definition of harmonization adopted by both OFVGA and CHC earlier this year. Erie Innovation and Commercialization Erie Innovation and Commercialization ceased operations on October 31, 2013. The initiative was launched as a special project by the OFVGA to help bring new opportunities to farmers in the South Central Ontario Region affected by the decline of the tobacco industry. Financial support for the project was provided through the Agricultural Adaptation Council and by local municipalities, the OFVGA, University of Guelph, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and many other farm and agricultural organizations, but long-term support for core business operations for Erie Innovations could not be secured. The organization was instrumental in the creation of the Ontario Hazelnut Association, the Ontario Lavender Association and the
Ken Forth (L) and Hector Delanghe have each received the Badge of Honour from Jamaica for their long-standing commitment and service to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. Ontario South Coast Wineries and Growers’ Association, as well as many other innovation and commercialization projects during its four and a half-year mandate. OFVGA accepting award of merit nominations till November 30 OFVGA is accepting nominations for its Industry Award of Merit, presented yearly at the annual general meeting in January. The award is OFVGA’s way of recognizing the outstanding contribution made by an individual or organization to
Ontario’s fruit and vegetable industry. This recognition may include strategic leadership, technical input, and/or dedication. Nominations are due November 30, 2013 to the OFVGA office. Annual General Meeting The 155th annual general meeting of the OFVGA will be held January 13 and 14, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Registration and hotel information, as well as the event agenda, are available at http://www.ofvga.org/events.php.
DECEMBER 2013 –– PAGE 7 THE GROWER
‘Fresh from the farm’ fundraiser scores high marks with schools
KAREN DAVIDSON Schools are hungry for cash. So when a fresh fundraising idea comes along that involves messages about healthy eating and local foods, it scores high marks. The Fresh from the Farm, Healthy Fundraising for Ontario Schools, pilot project proposed that root vegetables and Empire apples be delivered to schools and that students roll up their sleeves to sort into saleable bundles. With the fall’s harvest delivered in mid-November to southwestern Ontario schools and the northern district of Algoma, participating schools earned just over $47,000 in revenue and growers earned more than $68,000. Just as important, another $12,800 or 10 per cent went to administration so that the program is self-sustaining. “We’re thrilled that we’ve had the opportunity to increase the awareness of healthy eating and the integration of the related topics of agriculture and food into the classroom,” says Cathy O’Connor, a registered dietitian and project coordinator
who worked with the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) and the Ontario ministries of education as well as agriculture and food. “This year’s pilot is on the mark if we compare our numbers with the first year of Manitoba’s program,” says Alison Robertson, OFVGA. A total of 379 schools were eligible to enroll, however only 70 schools participated. “We were a little disappointed with the enrolment number, however it is consistent with results from the first year of the Manitoba program where they had 66 schools participate prior to growing to more than 400 in their third year of operation,” says Robertson. “Looking to the history of the Manitoba program, we feel we are right on track in our pilot year.” Manitoba’s program now moves more than 900,000 pounds of produce and earns $400,000 for schools says Larry McIntosh, president and CEO, Peak of the Market. A great idea can get bogged down in execution, however professional partners got this pilot off the ground. The EatRight Ontario call centre fielded requests for information from schools. Dietitians then
referred callers to curriculum-linked, educational resources available from Ontario Agri-Food Education and others. If they wished, teachers could integrate the fundraiser into learning in the classroom. The pilot’s success is also attributed to strong school champions and the fact that students could earn volunteer hours by sorting the produce into appropriate-sized bundles. Credit also goes to Jack Streef of Streef Produce and Shawn Farquhar, Massey Wholesale, who delivered high-quality produce in attractive packaging. Consistent with the green agenda, a compostable bag was sourced from BioBag Canada to package the produce. Feedback from parents and students has been so positive that a second fundraising drive might be added next spring to include greenhouse-grown cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. Another year might see the addition of Ontario-grown sweet potatoes and squash. That’s a huge displacement of chocolate bars, once the mainstay of school fundraisers.
Actual participating schools
70: 31 North 39 South
Total revenue generated
Grower revenue 50%
Fresh from the Farm revenue 10%
Schools revenue 40%
Bundle A Potatoes, carrots, onions, parsnips
Bundle B Apples
Total lb produce
Source: Jeff O’Donnell, Team Lead, Healthy Eating, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food
PAGE 8 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
Close to a deal for harmonized rules on potato cyst nematode KAREN DAVIDSON Only three areas in Canada are positive for potato cyst nematode (PCN): specific pockets on Vancouver Island, in Quebec and Newfoundland. Despite most potato-growing areas being free of PCN, the costs of testing and monitoring are becoming onerous for seed growers exporting to the U.S. The value of Canadian seed potato exports to the U.S. was $28.8-million. Negotiations with American counterparts have been intense this fall on how to harmonize regulations says Joe Brennan, chair of the Canadian Potato Council, Canadian Horticultural Council. “I think there is a reasonable
chance of an agreement,” says Brennan, a New Brunswick potato grower. “There’s been a lot of testing since 2008 which has given a good baseline of information. Outside known infected areas, no PCN has been found in the 80 per cent of seed potato acres tested. Our aim is to reduce the amount of testing, but through ongoing monitoring, keep an eye on this pest.” Potatoes are the only host of this specific nematode, a microscopic worm that can exist for up to 30 years in the soil patiently waiting to hatch eggs in the presence of a potato plant. No pesticides or other measures exist to eradicate this pest. If PCN is confirmed, fields are quarantined and restricted from growing a
2008 Canadian Dollars 1,209,612
2012 Quantity 3,420
Canadian Dollars 9,033,097
Nova Scotia Ontario PEI Québec Saskatchewan National
Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada long list of crops, including sod. Adjacent fields also come under surveillance rules. The concern is that soil not be moved off the
farm, through equipment or other activities. “Science has proven through testing that we have the safest,
PCN-free potato seed in the world,” says Gord Visser, an Alberta seed grower and CHC potato committee member.
One microscopic worm led to dumping of 7000 tonnes potatoes The subject of potato cyst nematode is painful to Ernie Van Boom, owner of Northbank Potato Farms Ltd, near Edmonton, Alberta. With 540 acres of potatoes and considerable investment in irrigation, he was devastated when a positive diagnosis of PCN was made on his farm in the fall of 2007. The test results, conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) effectively shut down his seed business to loyal customers in Florida and California. He was forced to dump 7,000 tonnes of freshly harvested potatoes. Subsequent to that finding, he launched a legal case against CFIA because he claims the test was a false positive. To date, he has maintained his silence except
for the April 2009 public record of his testimony to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and AgriFood. “It’s been almost a year and a half since a single deteriorated PCN egg sac was discovered allegedly in one of our fields by the CFIA,” Van Boom testified. “After the completion of intensive soil testing, involving thousands and thousands of samples, CFIA was unable to replicate a positive reading.” Van Boom was further frustrated because using the criteria set out by the American regulator, his farm is not positive for PCN. His case is still before the courts. Canadian growers have abided by a surveillance plan and phytosanitary rules for PCN since 2009.
cpma.ca The Canadian Produce The Prod duce Marketing Marketing Association Associiation in invites vites y you ou tto o Liv Live ve Healthy, Healthy, Ea Eatt Fr Fresh resh at a the 2014 Convention Trade Show Vancouver. 20 14 C onvention and a T rade Sho w in V ancouver.
APRIL 2-4, 2014
DECEMBER 2013 –– PAGE 9 THE GROWER
CANADIAN HORTICULTURAL COUNCIL
Washington state rejects GM labeling The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) recently praised Washington state voters for rejecting a proposal that would have required labeling of genetically modified food ingredients. “We are pleased that the voters of Washington state rejected I522 by a significant margin,” said GMA president and CEO Pamela G. Bailey. “I-522 was a complex and costly proposal that would have misled consumers, raised the price of groceries for Washington families and done nothing to
improve food safety. “Genetically modified food ingredients (GMOs) are safe, good for the environment, reduce the cost of food and help feed a growing global population of seven billion,” Bailey added. “Because a 50-state patchwork of GMO labeling laws would be confusing and costly to consumers, GMA will advocate for a federal solution that will protect consumers by ensuring that the FDA, the America's leading food safety authority, sets national standards for the safety and label-
ing of products made with GMO ingredients. Our country's labeling laws have and should continue to be based on health, safety and nutritional content.” The campaign over Initiative 522 has been one of the costliest initiative fights in state history, according to published reports. While early polling suggested that voters favoured the measure, TV and radio advertising financed by GMA and five biotechnology companies may have helped persuade Washington residents to rethink their positions.
Groups opposing I-522 helped raise $22 million. Hefty contributions came from Monsanto Co., DuPont Pioneer and GMA, which collected millions in donations from the nation's top food companies, including Nestle SA,
General Mills Inc., Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. Many of those companies mounted a $46 million defense to defeat a similar food-labeling measure in California last year.
and Agri-Food will continue to be responsible for non-food safety agricultural activities, including economic and trade issues, as well as important animal health and plant protection work. The CFIA will continue to support the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-
Food in exercising these responsibilities. The CFIA remains as a separate agency under the leadership of the president of the CFIA within the Health Portfolio and will continue to carry out all of its current responsibilities.
knowledge products on a national and international scale. His responsibilities will include the research and development of position and policy statements for standing committees and assigned commodity groups, as well as the
coordination of industry data collection and analysis for input to various government consultations. André may be reached at 613226-4880 (ext. 209) or at firstname.lastname@example.org
CFIA joins health portfolio Earlier this fall, it was announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency now reports to the Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose. This new reporting relationship supports the federal Safe Food for Canadians Action Plan. Having the three
federal authorities responsible for food safety - Health Canada (HC), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the CFIA - reporting to one Minister, allows for a clearer focus on consumer safety. Under the Minister of Health,
the important work of the CFIA, HC and PHAC will not change. The alignment of federal health and safety authorities under one minister will help ensure coordinated federal food safety action and improved collaboration. The Minister of Agriculture
Welcome new staff member André Bourbonnière joins the CHC as manager, policy development and research, bringing a wealth of experience in business, finance, municipal environmental affairs and risk management. Recently, he served as deputy
director of national programs with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) with primary responsibility for the operations of the Green Municipal Fund (GMF). He has been accountable for business service
planning and support on behalf of several organizations, including developing and managing continuous sources of client and business references, case studies, and market studies, including the development and dissemination of
PAGE 10 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
A step forward, two steps backward
RAY DUC CHAIR, OFVGA The good things that grow in Ontario just got a major boost with the passing of the Local Food Act. This bill was first read in the legislature in March 2013
and received royal assent on November 6, 2013, a fairly quick trip through the legislative process, which can be onerous and can take years. Thank you to all members of the legislature for getting this bill in place in a timely manner. Over the next three years $30 million will be invested by the province to create jobs and support innovation in the agri-food sector. Currently the production and processing of food in Ontario employs 740,000 people and contributes $34 billion to the provincial economy. The new legislation -- the first of its kind in Canada -will make more local food available in markets, restaurants, schools and institutions. A requirement was written into this
bill that states the government will produce an annual report. The report will highlight initiatives undertaken by government and industry that help achieve goals and growth targets set by the agri-food sectors in partnership with government. Local food awareness and education is another positive aspect of this Act. The Government will annually proclaim the first week in June “Local Food Week.” During this week local food will be highlighted in all media across the province. Awareness of local food will be enhanced through the distribution of literature, maps and schedules of local events. The Local Food Act will also ensure that locally produced food does not go to waste. Farmers
who have produce in excess of their markets can now donate that produce to food banks and receive a tax credit equal to 25 per cent of the wholesale value of the foods donated. This is a winwin for the 400,000 people who use food banks in Ontario and will benefit producers who will receive some return for their surplus crops. There is not any single component of this bill that will propel the agri-food industry into rapid growth but is definitely another step in the right direction. The fact remains that price is the largest factor in the minds of consumers when making food-purchasing decisions. However, I do believe that if we take enough of these small steps forward we will
see the broader benefits of buying local and not rely on imports for one of our most basic needs, food. Between writing this column and submitting it some sad news came out of Leamington Ontario. The Heinz tomato plant will close next summer after 100 years of processing locally grown tomatoes. This closure is the latest on a long list of plant closures in Ontario. Heinz leaving Leamington highlights the need for action by the government. If the bleeding is not stopped there will be no locally grown, locally processed food for the consumer to purchase. One step forward, two steps backward!
Will horticulture be priced out of business?
ART SMITH CEO, OFVGA Over the past couple of months the advisory panel on minimum wage has been touring Ontario and listening to presentations from concerned citizens regarding Ontario’s minimum wage. They have heard both extremes from folks advocating for $14 to $15 an hour right through to the position that Ontario should not have a minimum wage at all. These positions are not surprising and they show just how diverse the thoughts are
on the issue. We also made a presentation to the panel as did a number of other agricultural organizations all of whom spoke about the disproportionate hit that agriculture would take if there is to be a significant increase in the minimum wage rate. The purpose of the panel is to make recommendations to the government on a mechanism or process for increasing the minimum wage rate in the future. With that in mind and even though many of our members cannot afford any wage increase, a statement from us saying no increase would have been futile. Instead we showed how the sector had not recovered from the last round of increases that took the wage rate up over 28 per cent and we showed how the current rate has surpassed inflation. We explained that we are price takers in this sector and that there is no mechanism to claw back these additional expenses from the marketplace. For many in our society they
simply cannot grasp that concept. What do you mean you can’t get your costs back? How can you stay in business? For others it’s ‘if you are an employer you can afford it.’ Horticulture has always been a price taker but we didn’t always compete against product from foreign countries laid in here below our cost of production. Wholesalers and retailers alike have always wanted the best deal but they also needed to keep you, the farmer, in business because they needed you next week and next year. That has all changed with global trade and if we were not here, their shelves would still be full. One of the questions that came out from the panel was with regards to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) and how it is affected by minimum wage increases in Ontario. When we attempted to explain, we were told by one of the panelists that we were wrong and that the SAWP was exempt. Fortunately the deputy Minister
of Labour was in the room and she cleared up that issue when she explained the policy of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in Ottawa is that the rate paid to offshore workers is the greater of the prevailing rate or the minimum wage of the province. This was a critical moment as it clarified and tied the two programs together. So very clearly the myth that minimum wage increases in Ontario would have little impact on our sector has been straightened out. Wage increases are inevitable but it will be how they are determined that will make all the difference to horticulture producers in the future. We made it clear that it is the big hikes in minimum wage rate like those experienced in 2008, 2009 and then again in 2010 that have the most devastating impact on the sector. We just cannot recover those costs. While the consumer may expect some price increases they rebel when those increases are too great.
As mentioned above, the purpose of the panel is to make a recommendation to the government as to process and not spell out a figure for minimum wage. Nonetheless, the government is going to make some decisions. There are those calling for huge increases and those that simply cannot afford any increase. With a spring budget and the possibility of an election just around the corner, the action taken by the government may very well come out somewhere in the middle. This would be devastating to our sector. Our ask is that the process taken in the future be based on the consumer price index (CPI) but should the government decide that there needs to be a significant increase in the minimum wage rate then we ask that a separate rate for agriculture be established; one that recognises the realities of our sector, one that simply follows inflation or CPI. For what it’s worth, it’s the way I see it.
May you celebrate This beautiful season With joy in your home And peace in your world. Photo courtesy of Quail’s Gate, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia STAFF Publisher: Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association Editor: Karen Davidson, 416-252-7337, email@example.com Production: Carlie Robertson, ext. 221, firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: Herb Sherwood, 519-380-0118, email@example.com
OFFICE 355 Elmira Road North, Unit 105 Guelph, Ontario N1K 1S5 CANADA Tel. 519-763-8728 • Fax 519-763-6604
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The Grower is printed 12 times a year and sent to all members of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association who have paid $30.00 (plus G.S.T.) per year for the paper through their commodity group or container fees. Others may subscribe as follows by writing to the office:
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ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2013 MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE Chair Vice-Chair Fruit Director Veg Director Director
Ray Duc, Niagara-on-the-Lake Jason Verkaik, Bradford Norm Charbonneau, Port Elgin Jan Vander Hout, Waterdown Brian Gilroy, Meaford
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Apples Fresh Vegetable - Other Tender Fruit ON Asparagus Grws’. Mkg. Brd. GGO/Fresh Grape Growers Fresh Vegetable - Muck ON. Potato Board Small Fruit/Berries ON. Ginseng Growers’ Greenhouse Greenhouse
Brian Gilroy, Meaford Mary Shabatura, Windham Centre John Thwaites, Niagara-on-the-Lake Jason Ryder, Delhi Ray Duc, Niagara-on-the-Lake Jason Verkaik, Bradford Mac James, Leamington Norm Charbonneau, Port Elgin Ken Van Torre, Burford Jan Vander Hout, Waterdown Don Taylor, Durham
OFVGA SECTION CHAIRS Crop Protection Research Property Labour Safety Nets CHC
Charles Stevens, Newcastle Harold Schooley, Simcoe Brian Gilroy, Meaford Ken Forth, Lynden Mark Wales, Alymer Murray Porteous, Simcoe
DECEMBER 2013 –– PAGE 11 THE GROWER
PERSPECTIVE How about engaging farmers in the battle against food waste?
OWEN ROBERTS UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH I wrote a story about University of Guelph researchers feeding pigs waste chocolate once…or perhaps I should say “once upon a time,” it was so long ago – back in 1988. Then, feeding waste seemed like a novelty, and pigging out on chocolate bars that had broke during processing (and were therefore deemed waste) certainly captured the public’s imagination: although we haven’t traditionally measured precise numbers at the university when it comes to media uptake, I’m sure the chocolate-for-pigs piece ranks among the all-time leaders. Despite the seeming frivolity of the topic, though, the research had a serious side – it was designed to show an example of how food waste doesn’t have to end up in the landfill, and how, through research, new uses can be found for what we might otherwise be considered garbage. Some 25 years later, that message has yet to resonate with our disposable society. However, the chickens are coming home to roost. In some circles, food waste is now being called the number one issue in the food business. It’s
described as a major stumbling block in the drive to feed the world. According to this line of thinking, we simply cannot bring enough new food into production to meet future needs, so let’s more efficiently use what we have, and stop wasting it. That’s a noble pursuit. I’m not sure everyone buys it, but overall, who can argue with any effort to stop wasting food, especially with a billion people hungry on the planet? Reducing food waste hits closer to home when you embrace some of the domestic statistics. For example, Canadians throw out boatloads of good food -- $27 billion a year, in fact – with fresh fruit and vegetables topping the list at more than 120 kg wasted per person per year. It’s eye opening, if not mind boggling, to realize that the equivalent of 40 per cent of everything Canadian farmers produce is estimated as ending up as waste. And indeed, that’s local food that’s hitting the scrap heap. Half of everything wasted comes from the kitchen – we buy it, and then don’t use it because we don’t know how to, we don’t like the look of it, we bought too much, we are concerned about the bestbefore date, or life gets in the way of good intentions and wellplanned meals, and we simply don’t get around to eating it. Food waste has crept into agricultural circles, and rightly so. The causes of food waste, many of which are complex, cut into farmers’ profits too. The Oakville-based Value Chain Management Centre held its second annual food waste forum in Mississauga last month, where speaker after speaker underlined the need for change. They agreed overall that more new and imaginative approaches
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Re: Remembrance Day 2013 This being Nov. 11th we felt that today was the day to comment on Craig Hunter’s comments. Thank you. Thank you many times over. Having a Grandfather who fought in both the Boer War and WW I and a father [never joining the Legion] who was in WW II and a POW in Italy we understand only too well. They and so many others have provided us the freedom and life that we enjoy today. You are so right – Let none of us forget – ever. Let us also remember to help remind those who seem to know so little about the sacrifices made. “The O’Briens” Priceville [West Grey] ON
to not wasting food will require a culture shift, and not just by consumers and manufacturers. For example, keynote speaker Peter Whitehead, formerly of the UK’s Food Chain Centre, noted agriculture is generally disconnected from the anti-food waste movement. For one reason, students are not trained in agricultural schools to be sensitive to it, he said. Having agriculture students and farmers involved in antiwaste campaigns could change things. The public trusts and feels compassion for farmers. It’s one thing for a business leader to say waste less because it cuts into corporate profits. But it’s another for a farmer to say waste less because you’re throwing away nearly half of the food I grew for you with my own two hands. That has some emotional cache.
PAGE 12 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
Weather monitoring program, pesticide survey, on environmental agenda KELLY DAYNARD Seeking weather observers: Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Program Are you a weather enthusiast? Do you keep regular rainfall records? There is a new weather
network for you! Farm & Food Care Ontario is supporting the launch of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) program in Ontario. CoCoRaHS operates through a network of volunteer observers who take daily readings and enter them through the program website,
33RD ANNUAL GUELPH ORGANIC CONFERENCE & EXPO January 30-February 2 Guelph University Centre
"CATCHING THE WAVE" Major workshop streams includes organic crop production, organic livestock & pasture, permaculture systems, urban bees & horticulture/earth comes alive 4-day, 41-workshop program (paid admission) includes National Seed Symposium, Natural Building, Growing New Crops/World Crops, Organics In Restaurants Feb. 1-2, free public 2-day Expo/Tasting Fair, 160 booths + The Jan. 31st Organic Food & Wine Dinner $50 EXPO GUESTS: meet organic ag. suppliers, certifiers, organic grain trade. Leading vendors: Willsie, Organic Meadow, Homestead Organics, SunOpta, Keystone Grain, Harmony Dairy, Pfenning, Global Repair, The Big Carrot Brochure, info & prices: (519) 824-4120 X 56311 Full brochure & exhibitor list: www.guelphorganicconf.ca
www.cocorahs.org/canada. CoCoRaHS began in Colorado in the late 1990s and came to Manitoba in 2011, Saskatchewan this past spring and a pilot project is also underway in the Atlantic provinces. The program is now up and running in Ontario and looking for observers. Along with their training, CoCoRaHS observers use a monitoring kit which includes an official CoCoRaHS rain gauge with a spare measuring cylinder, a heavy duty snow measuring stick and a snow paddle. Each day they input their measurements through the website, which are then available to the general public through an interactive map. “Data from CoCoRaHS is used by flood forecasters, meteorologists, farmers, schools, gardeners, engineers, insect control, and many more,” said CoCoRaHS Canada’s Karla Jackson, Ontario volunteer coordinator. “Often CoCoRaHS fills in many of the gaps that exist between automated stations, gaining a better indication of localized precipitation events.” In the U.S., the National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation are all supporters and/or users. Canadian groups include Environment Canada, Agriculture and AgriFood Canada, Farm & Food Care Foundation, Manitoba Infrastructure & Technology, the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency and many local watershed management bureaus.
A CoCoRaHS rain gauge Farm & Food Care would like to encourage new observers in Ontario. Anyone interested in signing up or learning more can send an email to ONcocorahs@weatherinnovations.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, call 519-352-5334, or apply directly through the website at www.cocorahs.org/canada. Ontario Pesticide Use Survey
The 2013 Ontario pesticide use survey will commence December 5. All Ontario field crop, vegetable, fruit and specialty crop farmers are asked to fill out a confidential survey of Pesticide Use for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Rural Affairs. This year, the survey is being conducted by Farm & Food Care Ontario. OMAF/MRA and commodity boards, and researchers use the information to help improve minor use pesticide registration lists, work toward safer use of pesticides and to understand trends in use and the types of pesticides used. The survey will track all field and horticulture crops and the pesticides used, acres applied and also acres where no pesticides are used. The survey is anonymous and only a respondent’s county/district information will be collected to help determine pesticide usage in different parts of the province. The survey will be available online at ontariopesticidesurvey.ca. Farm & Food Care will also accept mail-in, fax or email returns of the survey. Data collection will continue until February 15, 2014. For more information, contact Environmental Coordinator Bruce Kelly at Farm & Food Care: email@example.com or 519837-1326, extension 292. Kelly Daynard is Communications Manager, Farm & Food Care
DECEMBER 2013 –– PAGE 13 THE GROWER
Loblaw Companies still have the highest sales
PETER CHAPMAN Our Canadian food business is worth approximately $90 billion per year and Loblaw Companies continue to deliver the highest annual sales. The dominant position enjoyed by Loblaw in the ‘90s has been eroded with industry consolidation and the entrance of competitors from the U.S., such as Walmart and Costco. One of the challenges when you are #1 is that all of the competition can get motivated to catch you. It is easier to get there than it is to stay there. Loblaw employs a multiformat strategy to compete in the different regions of Canada. Each store format appeals to different consumers, however it does make it a very complicated business. The following table illustrates the different banners that make up Loblaw. There are other banners, such as the Wholesale Club, liquor stores in the west, gas stations and, of course, the recent addition of Shoppers Drug Mart. This is a huge business that has been built with internal growth and acquisitions. Loblaw has been through a number of leadership changes in recent years. Each change has altered the direction of the business, which has made the company even more challenging to understand and work with. Some employees might find it difficult to articulate the current focus within the business. Since 2008 Loblaw has employed a centralized structure with the majority of merchandising and procurement functions in Ontario. This led to a loss of sensitivity to the differences between the regions of Canada. Obviously a significant cost savings, however, a cost in terms of execution at store level. In recent years they have invested more staff in the regions. Here are my top 10 considerations when developing relationships with Loblaw: 1. Consider the different formats when you are developing products and programs. Your items will not be right for all stores so you must target the correct formats. 2. Loblaw is split into two divisions for merchandising and operations. One is discount, which includes No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore and Maxi.
These stores are designed to compete with Walmart Supercentre, Costco and the other discount banners. The conventional division operates the traditional food stores (corporate and franchised), such as Loblaw, Zehrs, Your Independent Grocer, Atlantic Superstore, Provigo and Save Easy. Often you will have to work with merchandisers in the two divisions and they even compete with each other at times. 3. Control label products are very important to Loblaw. President’s Choice is a loyalty program and No Name products are important for sales and margin. Respect the company’s commitment to these products and explore their offerings in your categories. 4. The company is going through a massive conversion to the SAP system. Many people in the organization are focused on this and they are spending millions of dollars every year to make it happen. Understand they are preoccupied with it and that there will be disruptions in ordering and other functions. If you are a current supplier, help them where you can and let them know if you see strange things caused by the conversion. 5. Decision making is centralized so you have to be prepared to travel to Ontario. There is some regional merchandising, however most of the resources are in the Brampton office (or Cambridge for produce). 6. Loblaw changes employees from one category to another
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Real Canadian Superstore
Real Canadian Superstore
Maxi & Co.
Corporate traditional Extra Foods store
Atlantic Superstore, Dominion (Nfld)
Franchaised traditional store
Your Independent Grocer
Your Independent Grocer, Fortinos, Valu Mart
often. Take it as an opportunity to educate a new person about your business. It is tough at times to keep continuity. 7. Communication can be a challenge. The merchants have large categories and they are managing the entire country with several banners. Find the most effective method and don’t abuse their time. 8. Buyers are a part of the supply chain division. They are responsible for inventory in and out of the distribution centers and they do not determine who to buy from, just how much. Merchandisers are the people who determine who to buy from. You need to develop relationships with both but make sure you negotiate with the category managers and fill the orders of the buyers. Produce is slightly unique where there are category managers for procurement and merchandising. Suppliers work with the procurement category managers. 9. One of the benefits of a national retailer is that there are opportunities outside the regions. If your item sells well, you have opportunities to grow. 10. Loblaw is the retailer who
has invested most in learning about global foods and the new Canadian food shopper. The purchase of T&T stores has given them great learning and also opportunities for suppliers who have items for these consumers. Food-retailing capacity growth in Canada reached “critical mass” during the third quarter, triggering aggressive price investment and a subsequent dip in profits at Loblaw, officials said Wednesday. Galen Weston, Loblaw’s executive chairman, acknowledged that not all of Loblaw’s price adjustments during the period resulted in increased volume. The effects of this miscalculation and expected margin pressure during the current fourth quarter prompted officials to say the retailer would not meet expected operating income targets for the fiscal year. “When we raised our outlook
Early summer Rally Early Summer will provide outstanding fruit quality
in Q2 we foresaw a competitive back half. However, the actual intensity we experienced in Q3 was greater than we projected and caused actual performance to be below our expectations,” Sarah R. Davis, Loblaw’s chief financial officer, said in a conference call. For the quarter, which ended Oct. 5, Loblaw reported sales of $9.6 billion (U.S.), a 1.9% increase, and non-fuel comparable store sales growth of 0.1%. Gross profits were flat compared with the same period last year, while operating income fell by 8.3% and net earnings tumbled by 29% to $147 million (U.S.). Financials sourced from Supermarketnews.com
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PAGE 14 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
Encouraging results for the edible tropical tuber to replace imports KAREN DAVIDSON Two statistics are driving sweet potato research. Canada imports $42 million of the antioxidant-rich tubers from the southern United States every year, and in the last five years, Canadians have doubled their intake to 1.5 kilograms annually. “We have a good opportunity to expand the 1,300 acres currently grown in Ontario,” says Valerio Primomo, vegetable breeder at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland). “If we had better adapted varieties, for example coldtolerant and early maturing varieties, we could expand production to 7,000 acres and replace the imports.” Primomo is heading a three-year project to identify varieties that will survive and thrive in the short-season, cooler climate of Ontario. In an agreement with Louisiana State University, he tested three crossing
populations consisting of 500 new seedlings in 2012 and 85 were selected for planting at Vineland last May. Two have survived the early May planting. The next step is to evaluate not only yields but shape and size. Primomo says it may be possible to cross these lines with Beauregard, a variety that’s a staple in Ontario. Sweet potatoes have also piqued the interest of French fry maker McCains, soup maker Campbell’s, as well as fresh-cut processor Pride Pak. Together, these valueadd processors face a similar challenge: browning. Just like apples, sweet potatoes oxidize quickly once they are cut. Due to the high reducing sugar content (i.e. maltose, glucose and fructose), sweet potatoes also tend to brown when fried. To suit the processing sector, researchers will need to identify varieties with higher dry matter content as well as lower levels of reducing sugars and phenolic acid. With funding assistance from the
Canada Agricultural Adaptation Program and in-kind support from the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, research will continue with trial expansions in 2014. Next year, the focus will involve
growers in the field. The hope is to narrow the field for varieties that fit the fresh and processed markets.
5th Annual Hazelnut Symposium slated for March 2014
The Ontario Hazelnut Association (OHA) has announced that the the 5th Annual Ontario Hazelnut Symposium is to be held in Brantford, March 25, 2014. The symposium will also feature the 2nd Annual Ontario Hazelnut Association Annual General Meeting. Anticipated expansion of the commercial hazelnut
business in the province, which eventually will result in a new, multi-million dollar sector for agribusiness, is the key priority for the OHA and this meeting will address concerns and opportunities for growers. Specifically, this symposium will address sourcing and planting of hazelnut trees, the
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opportunities in different regions, market size and development, costs of production, potential incentive programs, and agreements with partners in the sector. The objective is to identify new growing opportunities and set farmers up with the most accurate, direct information possible so that decisions to plant hundreds of acresin 2014 can occur. “This symposium will be the catalyst for growers to commit land to hazelnut orchard development”, says Martin Hodgson, a hazelnut grower and OHA chair.
“In addition, the board encourages growers to get involved with association affairs, which will lead to success across the province as we launch this new agri-business venture.” “With the signature of the three year Memorandum of Understanding with Ferrero, growers can have confidence that the market for hazelnuts is secure and that Ferrero is committed to Ontario production for the long term” says John Kelly, OHA director. “This symposium will provide growers detailed information on the
aspects of that MOU.” Sourcing of trees for growers will be addressed at this symposium. “Nurseries are ready and able to provide trees to growers,” says Rob Haynes, OHA vice-chair. “Through our globally leading propagation systems, we have the ability to supply our growers and details of the supply will be provided at the symposium.” Symposium presentations and further information will be available for members at www.ontariohazelnuts.com.
DECEMBER 2013 â€“â€“ PAGE 15 THE GROWER
Contest attracts a big crop of photos
Lavender on Occasion - â€œHarvestâ€? First Place â€“ Margaret Collins
Best in Show - â€œLavender Makes me Smileâ€? Photographer: Ian Baird Lavender naturally brings a twinkle to the eye. Thatâ€™s been proven in spades in this yearâ€™s inaugural photo contest sponsored by the Ontario Lavender Association. What better way to promote lavender, a relatively new crop to Ontario. â€œWe had a very good turn out receiving 52 photos of lavender and lavender products,â€? says Martha Loewen, public relations officer. Both amateur and professional photographers were encouraged to submit photos under the following five categories: â€˘ â€œLavender fieldsâ€? â€“ includes photographs taken of fields and lavender layouts â€˘ â€œLavender in the gardenâ€? â€“ includes container and garden arrangements using lavender plants
â€˘ â€œLavender and friendsâ€? â€“ includes photos of lavender with people, animals or insects â€˘ â€œLavender on occasionâ€? â€“ photos include lavender used during different occasions throughout the year, eg. Christmas displays, wedding arrangements, lavender themed events â€˘ â€œThe many uses of lavenderâ€? â€“ photos would include any uses of lavender once removed from plant. E.g. culinary uses, product displays, or any abstract or unusual uses for lavender and its scents. â€œOur goal is to produce a 16-month, 2014-2015 calendar which would feature some of the photos received. We are also going to be running this contest next year.â€?
Learnings from lavender trials SEAN WESTERVELD Thanks to two growers -Weirâ€™s Lane Lavender and Bonnieheath Lavender â€“ more is known about how to propagate the right cultivars of lavender under Ontario conditions. We examined the success of propagation of different cultivars of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and lavandin (L. x intermedia) at different times of year (eg. pre-bloom, post-bloom, fall). We also examined different rooting media (peat/perlite, peat/perlite/turface, and oasis foam) and different rooting hormone (none, and hormone for vegetative cuttings and semihardwood cuttings). The results are still preliminary but we have found certain cultivars do best at certain times of year. The lavandin cultivars are easier to propagate with success at most times of year, while some of the L. angustifolia cultivars such as Hidcote and Royal Velvet are difficult to propagate and have the most success when the stems are very vegetative. Results with rooting hormone are inconclusive so far, but our experience shows it is beneficial for semi-hardwood cuttings. We have had the most success with a peat/perlite blend. However, we had difficulty determining the water requirements of oasis foam, and it may be more beneficial if the timing of watering can be per-
fected. Although not tested in research trials, our experiences to date show the importance of bottom heat to accelerate rooting and a humid but not wet environment to prevent drying of the leaves while not encouraging disease. Misting is beneficial in the spring when the greenhouse is hot and sunny, but can cause rot in the fall when it is cooler and more humid. Also of note is the difficulty in collecting cuttings from some cultivars when they are older than three years. The plants become very woody with minimal new growth. It is hard to get a decent length of vegetative growth from these. One cultivar, Folgate, has shown a lot of promise for Ontario, but we have had issues getting cuttings from this cultivar as the mother plants mature. Growers wanting to propagate these cultivars should probably replant mother plants every few years to ensure they produce plenty of new growth. More results will be available next winter after the results are fully analysed. These trials were funded through a Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program grant administered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council and held by the Ontario Lavender Association. It was a collaborative effort between the University of Guelph (Cathy Bakker) and OMAF and MRA. Sean Westerveld is ginseng and medicinal herbs specialist for
the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
Anita Buehner and Jan Schooley did their part in promoting lavender at last monthâ€™s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, pictured here beside a large panel of photos sourced from The Grower. Photo by Janet Whitney.
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PAGE 16 â€“â€“ DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
The quest for sustainability CLAUDIA SCHMIDT The sustainable sourcing of agricultural products is becoming important for food retailers and manufacturers. For example, Unilever intends to source 50 per cent of its agricultural inputs sustainably by 2015, and 100 per cent by 2020; McCain requires its Canadian potato producers to have an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP); and fruit and vegetable growers who deliver to Tesco in the U.K. need to be certified by Tescoâ€™s Nurture program. Sustainability programs are being used by food and beverage manufacturers and retailers as a competitive advantage, source of differentiation, and as a tool to improve business efficiencies. With these trends in mind, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growersâ€™ Association commissioned the George Morris Centre to conduct a study of trends in sustainability certification in horticultural products, and how Ontario growers could most effectively engage them. As part of the study, existing sustainability initiatives were reviewed, and a range of industry stakeholders were consulted. The European agri-food sector
The Wine Council and Grape Growers of Ontario are about to launch a sustainability certification program. Access to water will be one element as is pictured here on the Beamsville Bench with a vineyard in the background. is commonly viewed as a market leader when it comes to sustainability. As such, we looked specifically at horticultural sustainability initiatives in the U.K. and Germany, with a special focus on certification. The LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) Marque in the U.K. is a whole farm certification program that is based on a questionnaire
self-assessment, which is audited for certification. Fruit and vegetable growers delivering to U.K. food retailer Waitrose must be LEAF Marque certified. LEAF has attempted to address a key overarching question that producers raise: â€˜what is in it for meâ€™? Based on a 2012 agreement between ADM Direct, Unilever and LEAF, LEAF members are
being offered an additional ÂŁ15/t for standard oilseed rape for five years. In Germany, three whole farm sustainability certification schemes are in place. Sustainability indicators are at the core of two of the certifications. However, the uptake of and demand for agricultural sustainability certification
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systems is quite low. It appears that currently German farmers participate in sustainability certification more out of conviction than from seeing a true market demand for it. The German Farmerâ€™s Union released a statement in June, 2013, rejecting additional sustainability certifications and stating that good agricultural practices and cross compliance are sufficient for sustainable production. Canadian sustainability initiatives have thus far been voluntary responses to marketplace demands or proactive anticipation of future market demands. The first â€œMade in Ontarioâ€? sustainability certification program at the producer level is an initiative by the Wine Council (WCO) and the Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO). It is a response to requests that wineries have received in recent years for sustainably produced wine. The WCO together with the GGO are currently in the process of finalizing a sustainability certification program combining Sustainable Winemaking Ontario with a viticulture component, which is based on a scoring system. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
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DECEMBER 2013 –– PAGE 17 THE GROWER
The quest for sustainability CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16 Growers and wineries have the option to indicate if they would like to have an audit conducted by an independent third party for certification. The program is expected to be launched in November 2013. According to Heather Gale, executive director of CanadaGAP, CanadaGAP has received some questions regarding additional sustainability certification, but no definite market pull has been identified yet. However, sustainability requests are appearing in a similar pattern to food safety requests about 15 years ago. So far, for most buyers, sustainability issues are still in the realm of “nice to have” instead of “must have.” As long as there is no widespread request from program users and their customers to include environmental, social and economic sustainability issues into CanadaGAP, it will remain, for now, focused on food safety. Discussions with growers revealed a mixed view toward sustainability initiatives. While some growers are frustrated with ever changing demands and costs of sustainability certifications, some do not face any of these demands. Challenges of certification relate to costs of auditing fees and operating costs for record keeping in addition to a lack of qualified auditors. While there is much discussion about sustainability and the three pillars -environmental, social and economic --
This field of early-seeded onions is protected two ways: by a cover crop of barley and with irrigation pipe ready to be assembled when rainfall fails. Photo by Glenn Lowson. there is still a lot of confusion surrounding what exactly these mean and how they can be addressed jointly. If relatively few producers are equipped to provide sustainability certification, supplier relationships will need to be managed much more like strategic alliances than simple purchasing agreements. Unless producers are engaged effectively, sustainability initiatives promoted by processors and retailers could end up being a new market access barrier to farmers, which in turn could create social liabilities for processors and retailers, and ultimately limit the avail-
ability of sustainably produced product. However, the sustainability issue shouldn’t be seen solely as a new cost burden. It is also a chance for the industry to convey a positive message. While many processors and retailers argue that sustainability should be viewed as a competition-free space, we are not quite there yet. As retailers and manufacturers are still in the early phase when it comes to sustainability, issues seen as the “low hanging fruit” are targeted first and these are used as competitive advantage. However, sustainability affects all
players along the food supply chain, and collaboration is a key for successful harmonization and improved sustainability outcomes across the sector. Ontario’s horticultural sector can provide a unique case for a pilot project in sustainability, as it is the leading Canadian province in fruit and vegetable production. The main concerns of producers are compliance costs and the possibility that customers will escalate demands for sustainability attributes. The principal means of mitigating compliance costs could be to build upon existing platforms that producers have already incorporated. These may exist in the form of the EFP and CanadaGAP. The implementation of a sustainability certification program needs to be a long-term win-win situation for all parties involved, including a simplified means of record keeping and harmonization of schemes and initiatives. Investment in this project was provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council. Claudia Schmidt is a senior research associate at the George Morris Centre. Editor’s note: The complete report, Evaluation of Agri-Food Sustainability Certification Systems, is posted at www.ofvga.org
Flat bean growers wanted From a small rented apartment, to cities across Canada, what began over 10 years ago with two guys creating a ‘Caesar Garnish’ has turned into a lot of
‘tasty products’ served throughout Canada and select cities in the U.S. As for the two guys who started it all, their story starts way before that:
Matt Larochelle and Steve McVicker both grew up in similar small towns they both happened to move to the Greater Toronto area and met while bartending in their early ‘20s, where they struck up a lasting friendship. They soon realized how many Bloody Caesars they were serving over the ‘wood’ and realized there has to be a better garnish than a celery stick for Caesars. So they decide to create something on their own. So, after coming up with the idea to make a spicy pickled bean, they found a unique bean
that grows longer, sweeter and crunchier than your normal everyday green bean at a local grocery store it was a stroke of luck. The Kentucky flat/Pole beans as they are called were perfect and immediately went back to their apartment. Using “how to pickle” instructions from Matt’s mother, they began hand packing Beans into Jars and experimenting with
spice combinations and soon after the Extreme Bean was born . . . . . . yes, in their apartment over a small ring burner stove and hand me down pots. They soon stopped purchasing beans at their local market and started purchasing beans through the Ontario Food Terminal and directly from the farm. The Extreme Bean demand has continued to grow throughout the years and now they need more beans and more beans. Matt and Steve’s are actively seeking out motivated Flat/Pole bean growers in Ontario and beyond to expand their growing network. Grow a little, grow a lot, they pack all year around processing over a million lbs per year. If you are interested in supplying flat beans for the 2014 season call 905-828-9397 ext 221 and talk to Matt. They have BEAN waiting. Visit www.mattandsteve.com for more detail.
PAGE 18 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
The root value of cover crops ANNE VERHALLEN, SOIL MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST (HORT), ONTARIO MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD AND ONTARIO MINISTRY OF RURAL AFFAIRS. There has been a lot of interest this past year in cover crops, particularly as a source of livestock feed or pasture. However this tends to raise some questions about what you are sacrificing from the soil improvements value of the cover crop by removing most of the top growth. It's somewhat telling that Dan Towery, a well- known cover crop researcher and promoter in the United States said at the Cover Crop meeting in Altoona Iowa, “below ground cover crop growth may be more important than above ground.” Well in my opinion, there is no “may” about it. While the above ground growth - the leaves and stems are
critical for erosion protection. The roots are probably more important for all the benefits that we see from cover crops. Cover crop roots help to build soil structure. The roots themselves release exudates - complex carbohydrates - sugars and other compounds. These materials act like glue - binding soil particles together. The rhizosphere or the root zone is the hotbed of microbial activity. The sugars feed and support the soil life, which in turn further builds soil structure. Now lets take a closer look at those roots. Not surprisingly, cover crop roots are really quite different from the cover crop top growth. We often talk about the carbon to nitrogen ratios of the cover crop top growth in regards to whether the cover crop will tie up nitrogen or easily cycle nitrogen. Generally carbon to nitrogen ratios that are around 25:1 basically between 20 and 30 to one or below will cycle nitrogen relatively well. We see these ratios
with young growing grasses like wheat and rye, but as the grass matures it lays down more carbon and more longer lasting materials like lignin, the carbon to nitrogen ratio expands to 60 to one. Breaking down cereal straw will tie up nitrogen. Back to the roots though - the carbon to nitrogen ratios on cover crops are wider than the top growth. Makes sense - the roots are usually a storage organ for the plant - so more complex carbon molecules are laid down. The carbon to nitrogen ratio of roots does not change with depth in the soil. It varies more with the crop and the crop growth stage. Generally, if the cover crops are immature and lush in their growth, the carbon to nitrogen ratio will be well within the 25:1 and nutrients will be readily cycled. However as the cover crop matures, this changes and the differences between species become more apparent. For example brassicas such as oilseed radish and canola and
Figure 1. Excellent soil structure even in an intense vegetable based crop rotation - after eight years of cover cropping every year. grasses such as wheat or rye can be as high as 40 to 45 to one. In contrast legumes like peas are below 20 to one. So what does that really mean? It means that the brassica and grass roots do not break down as readily and it helps to explain field observations. Why do pea roots seem to disappear quickly? Why don't we give a nitrogen credit to pea cover crops? The pea cover crop breaks down quickly and releases the nitrogen too early in the season to mesh well with a corn crop. This also supports the
concept of mixing cover crop species to create a better overall cover for the field - use the grass and brassica but add in a legume to help feed the system. And the bottom line for cover crops? If you have a need for feed or an opportunity to sell your cover crop for feed or pasturing it is not a total loss. The cover crop roots will still be there and they are more important than the top growth for building and maintaining soil structure.
Disease innoculum, the gift that keeps on giving ELAINE RODDY, VEGETABLE CROP SPECIALIST ONTARIO MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD, ONTARIO MINISTRY OF RURAL AFFAIRS. Some years the weather patterns just work against us. Cool temperatures, intermittent rains and prolonged, heavy dews spell paradise for many crop diseases. Under these conditions, many vegetable crops are impacted by diseases such as mildew, scab, fusarium, anthracnose, phytophthora, etc…, despite a well-managed crop and the timely use of fungicides. What type of impact do this year’s diseases have on next year’s crop? In part, it will depend on the weather we get next year. However, rotation is also an important factor. I came across one source that suggests for every ton of fusarium-infected pumpkins left in the field, 200 lbs of innoculum remain in the soil for the following year! For most soil-borne diseases, a crop rotation of three to four years is recommended. It is important to stay away from all related crops during the rotation. In addition, there are other key crops that should not be grown in the same rotation. For example, cucumbers and peppers are both
Spores from these phytophthora-infected plants will persist in the field for five-10 years. susceptible to phytophthora. Once established in a field, this disease is extremely difficult to manage. In 2013 we saw a drastic increase in the reports of phytophtora. This disease has had a tremendous impact on cucurbit crop
production in many mid-western states. At this time, there are no fungicide programs that will effectively control this disease. A long rotation away from both vine crops and peppers will help prevent the development of phytophthora problems in Ontario. Here are some tried-and-true ways to avoid crop diseases: • know your pathogen. When facing harvest losses, take the time to have the problem properly identified • where available, select resistant varieties • use treated seed, especially for the common root diseases such as pythium and rhizoctonia. Not all seed treatments protect against the full range of soil-borne diseases. This is where it is important to know your pathogen when selecting a product. • reduce wind damage with windbreaks or wind strips. Diseases often enter the plant through existing wounds. • avoid compaction, plants with poor root growth and low vigour are more susceptible to infection. • facilitate drainage: standing water is a plants worst nightmare • maintain optimum fertility levels to ensure vigorous, healthy plants. And finally, • aim for thorough fungicide coverage: high water volumes and medium-sized droplets allow the spray to penetrate deeper into the crop canopy.
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DECEMBER 2013 –– PAGE 19 THE GROWER
How do weeds resist glyphosate DR. STEPHEN POWLES, AUSTRALIAN HERBICIDE RESISTANCE INITIATIVE (AHRI) REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION If you ever find yourself in the situation where you are catering for a group of people, and you are wondering how much food to prepare, the best thing to do is to prepare a little extra, just in case. The last thing that you want to do is run out. Believe it or not, this is how some weeds resist glyphosate. They make an extra-large batch of the enzyme that glyphosate binds to, just in case. This way, if the weed is sprayed with glyphosate that inhibits some of the enzyme, there is still enough left for the plant to function and survive. This mechanism is known as ‘Gene Amplification’ and was discovered by Dr. Todd Gaines along with a large team of scientists from around the world.
There are currently six known mechanisms of glyphosate resistance and several more are suspected. There are several other mechanisms of glyphosate resistance currently being researched but are yet to be confirmed. Q. How many weed scientists does it take to identify a glyphosate resistance mechanism? A. 18. No, this is not a bad joke, it is reality. The research effort led by Dr. Todd Gaines with Colorado State University, AHRI and Bayer CropScience Germany, involved collaborating with 17 other scientists around the world to identify a new glyphosate resistance mechanism. This gives some indication of how complex these new findings are. There is a considerable global effort to better understand glyphosate resistance. The mechanism discovered in this research is called ‘Gene Amplification’ because the plant
Mechanism Target site 106 mutation
2 to 3 fold
Target site 102 + 106 mutations
Gene amplification Vacuole sequestration
Amaranthus (Palmer amaranth), Ryegrass, Kochia Conyza (fleabane), Ryegrass
Reduced cell uptake
Amaranthus (Palmer amaranth), Johnsongrass
Hypersensitive (source leaf)
6 to 40 fold 7 to 11 fold
The table above lists the six known mechanisms of glyphosate resistance. produces many copies of the gene that codes for the EPSPS enzyme. Glyphosate kills plants by inhibiting the enzyme EPSPS. This research discovered that America’s biggest problem weed, pigweed (Palmer amaranth), developed resistance by producing a lot more of this enzyme. This research identified pigweed with five fold to 160-fold more copies of the EPSPS gene. More copies of the gene resulted in more EPSPS enzyme activity.
The effect of additional EPSPS genes is additive, and additional copies of the gene infer higher levels of resistance. Put simply, more copies of the EPSPS gene = more EPSPS activity = higher levels of resistance to glyphosate. Glyphosate can still bind and inhibit some of the EPSPS enzyme produced by the plant, but the plant survives because there is enough EPSPS enzyme left over to do its job and keep the plant alive.
Pest of the month - white mould in snap beans ELAINE RODDY Beans are susceptible to white mould infections during flowering and early pod-set. Small, circular, water-soaked lesions develop on the pods of infected flowers, or where fallen petals become caught in the lower canopy or leaf axils. Infected tissues later develop a dense, cottony, white fungal growth. Leaves of severely infected plants will eventually turn yellow and fall off. Sclerotia (hard, black, irregular-shaped fruiting bodies) form in the branches, stems and pods of infected plants (Figure 2). White mould over-winters mycelium in infected crop residue and as buried sclerotia. The sclerotia will survive for up to five years in soil and crop residue. The initial infection period requires moist soils and temperatures between 11 and 20º C (5268º F.) A dense crop canopy often produces a cool, moist microclimate, ideal for white mould release. Plant surfaces must remain wet for 24-48 hours for infection to occur. Once established, the disease develops most rapidly between at temperatures between 20 and 25º C (68-77º F.) Fungal development essentially stops at temperatures over 30º C (86º F.) If the weather conditions in the crop canopy are conducive to white mould infection, apply a white mould fungicide at 20% bloom followed by a second application 7-days later. Elaine Roddy is Vegetable Crops Specialist, OMAF/MRA Ridgetown, Ontario.
Strength of Resistance
Figure 1. White Mould Infected Pods and Stem
Figure 2. White Mould Sclerotinia
This resistance mechanism has now also been confirmed in ryegrass and kochia species (confirmed resistant in Western Canada). These weed species are the world champions of developing resistance to herbicides. It comes as no surprise that these weed species are each able to develop several different mechanisms of resistance to glyphosate.
PAGE 20 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
BITS AND BITES
Intra-row weed cultivator now on market With the ever increasing cost of labour for organic and conventional vegetable growers, Machinefabriek Steketee BV set out on a mission, to create an accurate, cost-effective piece of equipment to help control the growth of weeds in high value crops. The fully automatic intra-row weed cultivator offers camera controlled, automatic hoeing units that remove the competing weeds both between the planted rows and the intra-row, in between plant to plant spaces. Implement control is provided by use of an Apple Ipad tablet, providing ease of use and adjustment. Modular manufacturing techniques allow for multiple row and crop config-
urations to be offered on the same machine. “Growers are asking for a solution for resistant weeds, in conventional and organic growing techniques, and with ever increasing costs, manual labour is no longer the option,” says Paul Smith, Northern Equipment Solutions, the North American dealer for Steketee mechanical and chemical weed solutions. “With the Steketee IC, proven to have incredible accuracy, and ease of operation within all crops, weed competition will no longer be a factor within many growers’ operations.” To obtain more information please visit www.northernequipment.ca.
Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program KATIE BURT The sixth year of the Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program (SARFIP) is well underway, offering new cost-share opportunities for farm-based stewardship projects such as improved stream crossings, fencing, habitat
restoration, tree planting, invasive species removal and other Best Management Practices (BMPs). Funded by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and Environment Canada and administered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), SARFIP has been reshaped for 2013, offering up to
80 per cent cost-share for almost all BMPs. The unique three-level cost-share structure is tailored to its users, providing farm businesses with the ability to decide how willing they are to research and identify Species at Risk (SAR). “What the funding levels do for this program is give the decision-making tools to the
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farmer, allowing them to figure out where their interests lie,” Christine Schmalz, Senior Environmental Programs Coordinator says. “For OSCIA, categorizing projects this way means there are broad opportunities for farmers across the landscape, with the focus on those that directly support SAR.” Level one funding is available to all farmers across the province, offering 30 per cent cost-share to a maximum of $2,500 to implement any one of the eligible SARFIP BMPs. Applicants are not in any way required to have SAR on their property to participate in the program at this level. Level two funding at 50 per cent to a maximum of $5,000 connects more closely with SAR. Applicants can elevate their projects to this level by identifying if their farm is located in a federal SAR priority area using the map provided at www.ontariosoilcrop.org/en/programs/species_at_r isk.htm, or determining if the farm is located in a key habitat area for provincial SAR. Level 3 offers opportunities for applicants who have SAR on their property and are directly addressing the species’ habitat needs. Applicants can access 80 per cent cost-share to $15,000 through this Level. OSCIA has approved several level one, two and three projects so far this year. For example, a shelterbelt and windbreak plan was approved at level 1, which will enhance the connection between existing woodlots and reduce soil loss due to wind erosion. A livestock-fencing project that will keep livestock from entering a waterway, protecting the shoreline and reducing agri-
cultural impacts on water quality, was approved at level 2 because the farm is located in the federal SAR priority area. Lastly, a cash cropper in South Western Ontario was approved for level three for a project aimed at combating invasive species located in an existing woodlot, where several types of SAR are known to exist. There are ample opportunities offered through SARFIP for 2013 and funding remains available. All appropriate projects with invoices falling on or after April 1, 2013 may be eligible for costshare through this program. Farm businesses interested in SARFIP are welcome to apply via email or post. The program is a first-come first-serve program, meaning applications will be accepted until the existing budget is fully allocated for 2013. Any questions can be directed to Project and Claim Reviewer, Brad Carberry at 226-979-2465. More information, including access to downloadable application forms, maps for federal priority areas and the necessary steps for participation, visit the SARFIP website at www.ontariosoilcrop.org/en/programs/specie s_at_risk.htm. Katie Burt, Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association
DECEMBER 2013 –– PAGE 21 THE GROWER
Delegate cleared for use on soft fruit exports to Japan Blueberry and cherry producers who export their products to Japan can now apply Delegate WG insecticide for control of several foliage feeding pests. For blueberry and other soft fruit growers, Delegate received an emergency use permit earlier this year to protect against spotted wing drosophila (SWD), a relatively new and highly damaging pest. Delegate is used for SWD and leafroller control in cherries. Export markets are particularly important for blueberry and cherry growers, says Jerry Olechowski, marketing manager with Dow AgroSciences. Both crops are exported overseas so establishing foreign residue
tolerances for these two key crops is critical to growers in Canada. Delegate WG is a proven fruit and vegetable insecticide from the spinosyn chemistry class that provides long-lasting control of a broad spectrum of insect pests. Insects are controlled two ways -- by contact and ingestion -- for quick knockdown and residual activity. Delegate also possesses translaminar ability, giving extra protection against insects that feed from the underside of leaves, and increased resistance to washoff by rain. Source: Dow AgroSciences Canada news release
Potato growers to combat foliar diseases with new fungicide Bayer CropScience Canada announces the registration of Luna Tranquility as a foliar fungicide for potatoes. Already a trusted fungicide for apples and grapes, Luna Tranquility is an all-in-one formulation that includes a new and unique Group 7 (fluopyram) and proven Group 9 (pyrimethanil) modes of action. Luna Tranquility provides unparalleled disease protection against the leaf spot complex
(early blight and brown leaf spot), white mold and black dot. “With a unique Group 7 and 9 mode of action, Luna Tranquility is able to control early blight and brown leaf spot unlike any other previous fungicides,” said David Kikkert, portfolio manager, horticulture, Bayer CropScience. Early blight and brown leaf spot have recently become less sensitive to existing
Group 11 and other Group 7 fungicides in North America, leaving potato growers with fewer effective options. Luna Tranquility offers potato growers an effective alternative to control these diseases as part of a responsible resistance management program. In addition to early blight and brown leaf spot control, Luna Tranquility controls white mold and has activity on black dot,
helping growers manage many diseases with one product. It can be applied by either ground or air. “Used in a preventative spray program, Luna Tranquility will help growers combat major yield robbing diseases and produce better yielding, high quality potatoes,” explains Kikkert. Source: Bayer CropScience News Release
URMULE registrations to date 2013 – all crops JIM CHAPUT, OMAF/MRA PROVINCIAL MINOR USE COORDINATOR • Callisto – rhubarb, sorghum, millet, flax in E. Can. (weeds) • Torrent – crop group 5 (downy mildew), tomatoes (late blight) • Command – peppers (weeds) • Allegro – peppers (Phytophthora), muskmelons (downy mildew) • Prowl – green onions/leeks (weeds – mineral soil); carrots [pending final label] • Scholar – carrots (white mold, post-harvest); strawberries (black root rot) • Lorsban – shallots (onion maggot) • Reason – spinach (downy mildew) • Acramite – fruiting vegetables crop group, forage grass/nongrass forages (spider mites) • Actara – crop subgroups 1B, 1C (aphids, leafhoppers), fruiting vegetables (insects); bushberries, pome fruit (BMSB), caneberries (weevils) • Movento – crop group 3-07 (thrips), sweet corn, artichoke (aphids); bushberries, cranberries (insects); fir (balsam gall midge) • Quadris – celery (leaf blights); cranberries (fruit rots) • Kanemite – eggplant, caneberries, tree nuts (mites) • Switch – peppers (gray mold); GH tomato, lettuce (gray mold, powdery mildew) • Nova – cucurbits crop group 9, bushberries, caneberries (powdery mildew) • Influence – cucurbit subgroup 9B (powdery mildew) • Reflex – cucumbers (weeds) • Quilt – mint (powdery mildew, rust) • Botanigard – GH herbs (insects) • Success/Entrust – basil, dill
(loopers, thrips) • Assail – asparagus (aphids, beetles) • Shuttle – GH cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant (mites) • Envidor – hops, blueberries (mites) • Maestro – ginseng (weeds) • Acrobat – ginseng (Phytophthora) • 2,4-D – blueberries (weeds) • Clutch – strawberries (Lygus) • Rimon – stone fruit, CG12-10 (peach tree borers) • Bravo – hazelnuts (filbert blight) • Intrepid – grapes (GBM) • Delegate – apples (apple clearwing moth, dogwood borer) • Eragon – wheat, barley, soybeans [add glyphosate resistant giant ragweed] • Flint – spruce, fir (needlecast) • Actinovate – GH ornamentals (various diseases) • MET 52 – GH/outdoor ornamentals (thrips) • Goal – conifer nurseries (weeds) • Poast – fenugreek (grassy weeds) • Apron Maxx – cumin (seedling diseases) • Previcur – GH eggplant (Phytophthora) • Serenade Max – red/sugar beets (Cercospora), herbs (gray/white mold) • Intrepid – caneberries, herbs (caterpillars) • Kocide 3000 – GH tomatoes (bacterial canker) Emergency use registrations to date 2013 – all crops - Ontario • Torrent (GH cucumbers) – downy mildew • Switch (boxwood) – boxwood blight • Daconil (boxwood) – boxwood blight • Delegate (crop groups 12, 13-
07) – spotted wing drosophila (SWD) • Entrust (crop groups 12, 13-07) – SWD • Ripcord (crop groups 12, 13-07) – SWD • Malathion (crop groups 12, 1307) – SWD • Pyganic (crop groups 12, 13-07) – SWD • Confine (GH basil) – downy mildew • Pyganic (organic field cucurbits) – cucumber beetle Active URMULE projects underway • Approximately 450 active minor use submissions currently in the system. Many have efficacy, tolerance and residue data requirements. A few have occupational exposure or other data requirements to fulfill. • Approximately 20 % of projects are joint with U.S. IR-4 program • Approximately 12 % are minor uses for field crops • Approximately 34 % are minor uses for field vegetables • Approximately 14 % are minor uses for greenhouse vegetables • Approximately 23 % are minor uses for fruit crops • Approximately 9 % are minor uses for ornamentals & turf • Approximately 8 % are minor uses for miscellaneous crops (ginseng, hemp, mushrooms, hops, etc) • 65 % are minor use projects submitted by AAFC-PMC • 25 % are minor use projects submitted by Ontario [some are co-sponsored with PMC] • 3 % are minor use projects submitted by Quebec [some are cosponsored with PMC] • 6 % are minor use projects submitted by BC • 3 % are minor use projects sub-
mitted by the Prairies • < 1 % are minor use projects submitted by the Maritimes Current & On-going Minor Use Issues: • Impact of products under reevaluation i.e. neonicotinoids, linuron, ebdc’s, pyrethroids, etc. • Resistance management issues • New invasive species • Inconsistent registrant support
for minor use requests At the most recent U.S. IR-4 meeting where food crop priorities were established for 2014 projects, a number of key projects of interest to Canadian producers may become new joint minor use projects with AAFC-PMC. For summaries of minor use crop registrations, priorities and active projects visit: www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/ crops/minoruse/index.html
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PAGE 22 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
MINOR USE CRAIG’S COMMENTS
Thanks for giving
CRAIG HUNTER OFVGA As I pass through life, I get to meet a lot of interesting and valuable people: valued by me for varied and eclectic reasons. This past year has taken an inordinate toll on many ‘contributors,’ either through retirement or by their passage. In my last column for 2013 I want to give each of them a little space, but will doubtlessly overlook a few. It will never be enough to express what they mean to me: they may never be in a “Hall of Fame” but their contributions put them in my personal “Hall.” I got started in this business of agricultural pesticides working for Pleasant View Farms of Dixie Ontario. The proprietor was Don Pallett, a past chair of OFVGA. His son David was (at the time) an extension specialist with ODAF- a job I just knew I had to get. Dave was a worthy successor to his Dad in the business, and we continued to discuss issues throughout my career until his untimely death this spring. The end of an era: and the loss of a ‘Good Man,’ who gave back to his community in many ways, most of them behind the scenes. In my early years in Simcoe with OMAF, we employed a great many ‘summer students,’ as I had been just a few years previous. One of them was Phil Somerville, the son of a local apple grower. Phil was keen -- in the best sense of the word. He wanted to learn, and would do extra just to get the experience. He went on to serve growers by working in the Crop Protection field. We lost Phil to a sudden heart attack this spring. He was a great family man, good to his customers and a great
friend in his community. At virtually the same time, I heard of the passing of Gary McLaughlin. He had worked for many companies in the farm input business community, but I knew him best in his Chipman Chemicals days. Always a character, I can vividly recall a massive practical joke he played on another in the industry while we attended the old Cornell Red Book Meetings. I also know that he too was well known in his community for ‘giving back.’ Whenever Gary was in the room or on the golf course, everyone knew it- he had ‘presence.’ We lost Dr. George Collin this summer too. He was the first director of the Research Station in Simcoe, and in charge when I first went there to work. Later on he was back in OMAF and headed the research and education division where I worked under (many rungs under) him. George was also extremely involved in his community, and an active Rotarian. He was committed to the Chestnut Council of Ontario, and I was present this fall when a chestnut tree was planted in his honour at the Station. His third daughter Martha was also one of my raspberry pickers- a job she never really liked, but stuck it out I am sure with a little prod from her Dad. Just a few short weeks after that tree planting we learned of the sudden passing of Arthur Loughton, who had helped organize the event for George. Arthur was the second station director, succeeding George in 1975. Later, he headed the OMAFRA Transition Crops team. He is credited with the mantra -‘find your market first, we can grow almost anything.’ Arthur too was a dedicated Rotarian, and a volunteer for many groups in our community. In the middle of the summer I was deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Wayne Roberts. Wayne was a mentor, he was a friend, and he was a sounding board. I knew him for over 40 years, starting day one in my first job at OMAF. In the years that he headed the Crop Protection Team, we were always that- a team. He
Find your market first, we can grow almost anything.” ~ Ar thur Loughton
never wanted to be a ‘boss,’ just one of the team. This was his way, and it worked for the betterment of Ontario Horticulture. I miss him every day, as do his family and friends. The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) also lost a great campaigner this year. Joe Sardinha from B.C. had given so much of himself to the apple industry over the years that it was hard to realize he was still so young! As chair of the B.C. apple industry, he led with vision and determination. The same was true when he headed the CHC Apple Committee for many years. Joe was no shrinking violet, and his passion to improve the industry for everyone’s benefit shone through every day. I will miss his huge smile and his insightful comments each year when CHC meets. His family must be thanked for letting Joe do so much, and to be away so much for others. He is mourned not just in B.C. but all across Canada. I lost a good friend this fall who is not as well known in this industry. Cameron Pengilley was the proprietor of The Oaks of St. George Golf Club. If one turned back the clocks 60 or 70 years, many would have known his father Jim as an entrepreneur, an apple and cherry grower, and a financier from the Clarkson area. That farm has all been swallowed up by housing and calls itself Mississauga now. I did once tell him that as a kid I ate (stole) some of his apples, but he forgave me as by then I was ‘part of the family.’ Cameron was originally a banker, but always hankered to own a golf course, and by his great efforts he carved one out of a tired old farm. He used all the inborn skills of a farmer to make it happen. When he died there was a great outpouring by friends, neighbours, and family. He gave back to his community in many quiet and unheralded ways, such as sponsoring a heart and stroke golf tournament for many years -in memory of his Dad -- and as a way of doing something for the greater community. I know his loss will be felt deeply by his
family, and by the whole community around St. George. It is also the end of an era of another farming family that is just one of many who made their mark in our industry. Now on a happier note: Dr. Gerry Stephenson stepped down from the Ontario Pesticides Committee after an unprecedented 38 years of service. Most growers will not know that it was his expertise, especially with herbicides, that allowed OPAC to do a more efficient job in dealing with pesticide issues that arose over those years. He is already missed- the steady hand and valued opinions he contributed often capped discussions- what Gerry said would be ‘it’ for the rest. Even years after ‘retirement’ from the U of Guelph, Gerry continues to share his expertise around the world. His OPAC legacy is the new Herbicide Tables that will make the committee’s job much easier in the future. Another ‘retirement’ was for Jeff Wilson who sold his farm and moved to Grand Valley. There is not enough space here to do him justice, but let it be said for the record that I know of no other individual grower in our industry that gave such insightful (and at times inciting as well as exciting) representation to governments around the world. I had the pleasure (most of the time) of travelling with Jeff, and was often in awe of who he knew, who knew him, and the positive connections he made with his audience. He truly helped our industry, in his own unique style (and who can forget the pepper pants!?) Dr. Lorne Hepworth announced earlier this year that he was stepping down as president of CropLife Canada (CLC). He came to CLC with a past as a veterinarian, as the co-owner of a large grain farm in the west, as past Minister of Agriculture in Saskatchewan, and as a businessman. He led the many changes that took CLC into the 21st century. It now truly does represent the length and breadth
of the Life Sciences and Crop Protection interests for its member companies. His legacy of having recruited and maintained a world-class staff is a tribute to him as a leader. His board can be assured that he never wasted money on golf lessons, but let it be known that he can give lessons on humility, determination, and forthrighteous leadership on the issues that matter to his association. I look forward to being able to work with his successor, Ted Menzies, in the same manner- it helps all our members to have such a good working relationship. Another long-time colleague and friend, Wanda Michalowicz, retired from the Ministry of the Environment this spring. We had worked together on many projects over the years both when I was with OMAFRA and afterwards. She also continues to sit on OPAC, as do I. Wanda was always the asker of the tough questions, and forced others to justify things that she knew would sooner or later show up coming from senior managers. Her love of all things in our natural environment allowed her to best appreciate the potential debasement of that environment that could arise from improper pesticide use. Unlike many others, she did understand the biologic imperative facing farmers, and went out of her way to smooth the path of product availability, (always within the rules!) that gave farmers what they needed as soon as possible. We didn’t always agree, but had a shared background (she inherited my desk when I was finishing grad school and she was just starting) that led to a career-long friendship. We will continue to meet at the monthly OPAC meetings where I will enjoy the occasional sparring match followed by best wishes. This could go on, but I will end by wishing all readers a Happy New Year, and Best Wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2014.
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DECEMBER 2013 –– PAGE 23 THE GROWER
Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Center releases new video The Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Center, housed at Cornell University, recently released the latest video in a series about brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB). This one deals with management, including insecticides, trap cropping, physical barriers, and organic and biological control techniques. Earlier videos have looked at the non-native pest's history, identification, overwintering and spread, monitoring and mapping, and host plants. The pest was recently found
in residential yards in Sacramento, CA. Although they have yet to be found in nearby commercial crops, officials fear it will be just a matter of time. Since the pest was first detected in Pennsylvania, it has been confirmed in 40 states as well as Ontario. It has caused severe agricultural and nuisance problems in six of those states. To view the video: www.stopbmsb.org/video#part9
Intrepid insecticide now labelled for caneberries, herbs JIM CHAPUT, OMAF & MRA, MINOR USE COORDINATOR, GUELPH The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of a minor use label expansion for Intrepid 240F insecticide for control of leafrollers on caneberries and loopers, armyworms and webworms on herbs (crop subgroup 19A except chives) in Canada. Intrepid 240F insecticide was already labeled in Canada for management of a number of insects on pome fruit, bushberries, Brassica vegetables, corn, cranberries, cucurbit vegetables,
fruiting vegetables, leafy vegetables, legume vegetables, tuberous and corm vegetables, grapes, stone fruit and tree nuts. These minor use projects sponsored by Agriculture & AgriFood Canada, Pest Management Centre (AAFC-PMC) were submitted in 2009 and 2012 in response to minor use priorities identified by producers and extension personnel in Canada. This registration will provide caneberry and herb producers with a pest management and resistance management tool to help manage these pests in Canada. The following is provided as a general, abbreviated outline only.
Users should consult the complete label before using Intrepid 240F insecticide. For control of leafrollers on caneberries, apply 0.5 – 0.75 L Intrepid 240F insecticide per hectare in sufficient water to ensure thorough coverage. Time treatments to coincide with egg hatch or the appearance of small larvae. For overwintering larvae, apply as soon as feeding starts in the spring. Reapply within seven 14 days if monitoring indicates a need. Do not apply within three days of harvest. Do not apply more than three applications per year. For control of caterpillar pests of herbs (subgroup 19A except chives), apply 0.58 –
1.16 L Intrepid 240F insecticide per hectare in 200 – 500 L water per ha when larvae are small and actively feeding. Repeat applications as determined by further monitoring at a minimum 10 day interval between treatments. Do not apply within one day of harvest. Do not apply more than two L product / ha / year. Intrepid 240F insecticide should be used in an integrated pest management program and in rotation with other management strategies. This product is toxic to aquatic organisms. Do not contaminate any body of water by direct application, cleaning of equipment or disposal of wastes. Methoxyfenozide is persistent and
will carry over; it is recommended that Intrepid 240F insecticide not be used in areas treated with this product during the previous season. Follow all other precautions and directions for use on the Intrepid 240F insecticide label. For copies of the new supplemental label for caneberries contact Pam Fisher, OMAF & MRA, Simcoe (519) 426-2238, for herbs contact Melanie Filotas, OMAF & MRA, Simcoe (519) 426-4434 or visit the Dow Agrosciences website at www.dowagro.com/ca
PAGE 24 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
FOCUS: VINEYARDS AND WINERIES MARKETPLACE
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VINEYARDS AND WINERIES
Tannin alert: a new tool to improve wine quality KAREN DAVIDSON For a great take on tannins, look to none other than Beppi Crosariol, the Globe and Mail’s wine columnist. “They’re astringent, sometimes furry-tasting compounds found mainly in red wines,” he wrote in an October 2012 article. “They’re never a bad thing where quality is concerned. In fact, some of the greatest, most cellar-worthy wines are strongly tannic. But like the bristly texture of a wool sweater, they can bother some consumers. Naturally produced by plants, tannins get into the juice by way of grape skins, seeds and stems.” For Richie Roberts, winemaker at Fielding Estate Winery, massaging those furry-tasting compounds is totally in order depending on the growing season at Beamsville, Ontario. If the right balance isn’t reached – too much tannin from seeds and not enough from skins, for example-- the results are light-coloured wine, lack-lustre flavours and green aromas. Belinda Kemp is trying to help winemakers find the best way to tweak tannins. As the senior scientist in oenology for the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), she’s testing the tannin concentrations in skins and seeds so that she can suggest different wine-making techniques. With the first season of testing complete, she’s looking to launch a tannin alert service in 2014 that would be the first of its kind for the Niagara region. If successful, it could be rolled out across Canada. To date, winemaking decisions have been based on sugars, titratable acidity and pH levels. She plans to add more critical data with vineyard sampling and laboratory testing of tannin concentrations in three red varietals: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. As she demonstrated in the Fielding Estate vineyard, brown seeds do not give a clear indication of ripeness. “There is no such thing as tannin maturity,” she says. “Just a difference in extractable tannin concentrations. There can be a tiny change in brix level and yet a big change in tannin levels. We want more skin and less seed tan-
How does that taste? Richie Roberts (L), winemaker for Fielding Estate Winery, compares notes with owner-grower Curtis Fielding and Belinda Kemp, senior scientist, oenology for Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI). Mid-October was a good time to sample these Merlot grapes, still two weeks away from harvest. CCOVI is developing a tannin alert for Niagara peninsula growers that could eventually be rolled out across the province. Photo by Denis Cahill. nins. We want a high per cent of brown seeds rather than green ones that can negatively impact flavour with green, unripe notes.” With more information at harvest time, winemakers can employ a number of techniques to soften the impact of tannins and to improve wine quality at all ripeness levels. Kemp is now analyzing the samples to set a benchmark. Based on concentration data, grape skins and seeds will be classified into one of three categories: low, medium or high tannin levels. A year from now, base-level wines from the three grape varieties will be made at the low, medium and high tannin levels using the same winemaking technique. A second set of wines will be produced using the most suitable winemaking techniques for each tannin group which can then be compared to the base wines. Next year, winemakers should be able to taste and see the differences in wines.
As more knowledge of Niagara grape tannin is gained, Kemp plans to issue a best practices guide for managing tannin concentrations in red wine. Curtis Fielding, for one, is looking forward to a tannin alert as a tool in
addition to the varietal information that’s available on brix, acidity and pH levels. “We watch that barometer closely to gain a good perspective on what’s happening in the Niagara peninsula,” says Fielding.
The ripening of Cabernet Sauvignon grape seeds
“We’re very pleased with the research coming out of Brock University. Their researchers are working hand-in-hand with growers and winemakers.”
PAGE B2 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
FOCUS: VINEYARDS AND WINERIES
Newsmakers Ziraldo founded Vintners Quality Alliance, a framework to uphold the quality and authenticity of Ontario wines. He was the driving force behind Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute. He was instrumental in getting the Niagara College Culinary Tourism Institute off the ground – to provide education in culinary arts and complement Canadian wines. More recently, he chaired the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre from 2007-2011. He was nominated by the Grape Growers of Ontario, Wine Council of Ontario and Canadian Vintners Association. His portrait is now on display in the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Gallery located at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association recently inducted Donald Ziraldo, a pioneer of the Canadian wine industry. Ziraldo first made headlines in 1975 when he and business partner Karl Kaiser were granted the first winery license in Ontario since the days of prohibition. The Inniskillin Wines brand was born and Canada’s grape and wine industry was headed for a huge transformation. The use of vinifera grapes gave Canadian growers a new opportunity to produce and sell new varieties of grapes, and the stage was set for Canadian vintners to begin making world class, award-winning wines that were historically dominated by European wineries.
Colaneri Estate Winery is the proud producer of two wines chosen as the official wines of the Ontario Legislative Assembly for 2014. The red is 2010 Corposo (Ripasso Style) and the white is 2011 Cavallone (Pinot Grigio). The Niagara-onthe-Lake winery was one of six wineries to put forth candidates for the tasting event. “The wines showcased at the wine tasting reflect the connection between 100 per cent Ontario-grown grapes and the winemakers who craft them,” says Debbie Zimmerman. “As we celebrated the 35th anniversary of this event, I congratulate all of Ontario’s wineries on top-quality VQA wines.”
Mike Standen and Betty Colaneri from Colaneri Estate Winery with the Honourable Speaker Dave Levac (centre). Colaneri Estate Winery is family owned and has operated for 30 years, offering premium, hand-harvested, award-winning wines made in the Italian appassimento method. “We are excited to have our wines enjoyed and appreciated for the passion that went into the making of them,” states Betty Colaneri.
The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario honoured Deborah Pratt as this year's winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at the 2013 Ontario
Tourism Summit in Toronto, Ontario. The award, designed and hand blown by Ontario artist Kelly Lowe, was presented by Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Debi Pratt is a veteran of the wine industry. Considered by many in the industry as a pioneer of Niagara and Canada's wine industry, Debi started her career in teaching and traded that profession more than 35 years ago to become Inniskillin Niagara's media and public relations point person.
Finally, a real choice for local PLU labelling Since 1993, MGI has been working to satisfy the specific needs of the Ontario agriculture industry. “I’ve been hearing complaints for years about the excessive buried costs, rentals forever and slow expensive service for PLU label machines,” says Mark Bradley, Labelling Specialist for the past 35 years, and Owner of MGI. “The PLU machinery and label market has pretty much been a monopoly.” MGI provides all types of labels and label machinery for fresh produce packaging, PTI case labelling and Top and Bottom Print & Apply. “Until now, we have been able to provide everything our customers needed” he adds “except an answer for the PLU labelling challenges they were facing.” Well, the wait is over. “We are proud to announce that Hadran and Hurst bellows
style applicators, both over the grader and tray labelling, are now available from MGI” says a beaming Mr. Bradley. “These machines have been proven reliable the world over. Local supply of parts and service from MGI’s factory trained technicians provides full support right here in Leamington!” MGI Labels are manufactured in Ontario which saves hundreds of dollars on freight alone, compared to shipping from California, and the turn-around for orders is also greatly reduced. The latest technology ‘Print on Demand’ also provides the utmost flexibility and satisfies the most stringent traceability requirements. “Whether you are simply looking to pay less for PLU labelling or ready for State of the Art machinery, MGI has you covered.”
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DECEMBER 2013 –– PAGE B3 THE GROWER
FOCUS: VINEYARDS AND WINERIES
The 2013 British Columbia Wine Label Awards were recently awarded in Kelowna, B.C. at the Okanagan Wine Festival. Harper’s Trail Late Harvest Riesling won the Best Dessert Label. The branding and packaging for Harper’s Trail was created by the design team at Town Hall Brands, under the collaborative
input from Christine Coletta at Okanagan Crush Pad, where Harper’s Trail was incubated as a custom crush winery client before opening its own doors in 2013. Andrew von Rosen, the designer of the label, has created more than 24 winery labels since 2008. He knows not only what is required technically for the wine business, but also how to create packaging that mimics a winery’s unique story. He shares the thoughts behind the look and textures of the packaging. “The packaging makes a nod to the pioneering period when Thaddeus Harper and his family ranched in the area,” he shares. “The typeface, Rosewood, is based on a font from the late
1800s, and is meant to recall vintage posters of the time whose similar lettering was made of wood or lead type. For the capsule, the steel colour was chosen to mimic metal from horseshoes, and the paper selected is a natural, less processed and textured paper, to reflect the natural state of the special place where the vineyard is situated.”
Earlier this year, BC Business magazine recognized Okanagan Crush Pad as one of its top innovators of the year at an award ceremony in Vancouver while the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) awarded the winery its Technology & Innovation trophy at a ceremony held in Chase, BC. Additionally, Christine Coletta was named “One to Watch” in Vancouver Magazine’s 12th Annual “Power 50” list of influential people. Okanagan Crush Pad (OCP) winery, located in Summerland, BC, is owned by wine industry marketing consultant Coletta and her husband Steve Lornie. As a small, yet inventive winery, it’s the first
Steve Lornie and Christine Coletta, Okanagan Crush Pad. Photo by Lionel Trudel custom winemaking facility of its kind in Canada. The team makes wine for grape growers and people wishing to enter the wine industry, yet it also offers guidance and advice from field to the marketplace, to help clients establish profitable businesses.
A new series of continuing education programs from Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) is aiming to transfer best practices learned in the research institute out to the local grape and wine industry with a series of seminars. The Calibrate series of workshops helps grape growers, staff within local wineries and those considering entering the industry, learn about and improve various aspects of their operations by attending sessions developed by Brock researchers that take place both in and outside a typical classroom environment. And the uptake from the local
industry is showing this hands-on approach to continuing education is in demand. For example, the Calibrate Your Vineyard session has already expanded from one annual offering in Niagara, to three sessions across the province next winter in Niagara, Norfolk County and Prince Edward County. The seminar takes grape growers into two vineyards to demonstrate best practices in vineyard management and pruning over the winter months, while an in-class portion allows participants to learn about how they can apply the latest research findings to their operations. Calibrate Your Vineyard will be run by CCOVI viticulturist Jim Willwerth and offered Jan. 16 in Niagara, Feb. 11 in Norfolk County and in Prince Edward County at a date to be confirmed soon. More information on the Calibrate series of programs can be found here: www.brocku.ca/ ccovi/outreach-services/calibrate
PAGE B4 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
FOCUS: VINEYARDS AND WINERIES
Different business models distinguish vineyards . . . BRITISH COLUMBIA KAREN DAVIDSON Mining history has always been a favourite tactic for wineries. Tell the story of your roots. Evoke the smells of the past. Harper’s Trail Estate Winery offers an excellent case history, the first winery to open in Kamloops, British Columbia in August 2013. Locals will instantly gravitate to the story of pioneer rancher Thaddeus Harper and his famous cattle drive trail. Because there are springs on the property – Thadd Springs -- it was an ideal staging area when driving cattle from the Chilcotin plateau down to San Francisco. Now, it’s an oasis for tourists. Pioneers themselves, Ed and Vicki Collett have bravely planted 23 acres of grapes on the banks of the South Thompson River. Their vineyard must withstand blazing summers and freezing winters in an environment that’s more akin to desert. From a modest harvest of nine tonnes in 2011, their courage has been
Pioneers Ed and Vicki Collett put down stakes in the first winery in Kamloops. Take a virtual visit at www.harperstrail.com. Photos by Linda Williams. rewarded with 40 tonnes in 2012 and now 67 tonnes in 2013. “We’re not much different in climate than Osoyoos in the southern Okanagan,” he explains. “However our limestone base soils are unique. We think there’s a huge opportunity with much more affordable land prices here in Kamloops than in the Okanagan.” “We have travelled the globe
and think there’s no reason not to have vineyards here. “We’re using all the technology available to us to protect the vines.” In this neck of the woods, wildlife poses more threat than weather, so an eight-foot animal fence has been erected around the property. The other hurdle is not environmental at all. According to Vicki Collett, it’s overcoming disbelief of locals that a winery
Kamloops, an emerging wine region of British Columbia, is not much different in climate than Osoyoos in the southern Okanagan.. However land prices are much cheaper. can exist in this region. Teaming up with Okanagan Crush Pad based in Summerland, their first wines were released in 2012 under the winemaking expertise of Michael Bartier. This fall, their wines are incubating at their own facility in Kamloops with a tasting room open to the public from May to October. They are offering two Rieslings, a Rose, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Field Blend White, Late Harvest Riesling and a Cabernet Franc.
The wines reflect this emerging grape-growing region with minerality and crisp acidity. “Lots of people in Kamloops don’t know we’re here,” says Vicki Collett. But that’s soon to change with more promotion for their new wine shop and tasting room, patios for events and next year, a 5,000-square foot crushing and fermentation building. With 80,000 people at their doorstep, the Collett’s are aggressively busting the myth that grapes can’t grow in this clime.
NOVA SCOTIA With 700 acres under vine in Nova Scotia, the industry is sparkling with opportunity – literally. Benjamin Bridge Brut Reserve, a sparkling white wine made in the style of the best that French Champagne has to offer, is considered by wine connoisseurs to be the best in its class in Canada. With critical mass building in the industry – anywhere from 14 to 18 wineries depending on definition -- Donna Sears came on board as the founding director of the Atlantic Wine Institute (AWI) in 2012. Astutely located at Acadia University, the AWI connects viticulture academics, oenology specialists and wine business experts with industry. Partners include Acadia University, Collège communautaire de Noveau Brunswick, Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture, Holland College, Nova Scotia Community College and St. Mary’s University.
“We’re in a challenging climate for growing grapes well,” Sears says from her Wolfville office, within view of the Minas Basin and Bay of Fundy. “We’ve made great strides with a sparkling program as well as our signature grape L’Acadie, an aromatic white hybrid that’s hardy enough to withstand cold winters. The L’Acadie grape is also a key element in Nova Scotia’s new appellation wine: Tidal Bay.” While agronomic issues are an important focus of research, marketing and tourism are a priority for Sears. Three years ago, she began a multi-pronged research project aimed at identifying and creating a profile of Nova Scotia wine tourists. “A hallmark for our industry is that much of the production is in small batches,” Sears says. Those small batches have spawned big dreams. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
DECEMBER 2013 –– PAGE B5 THE GROWER
FOCUS: VINEYARDS AND WINERIES
. . . in emerging regions across Canada CONTINUED FROM PAGE B4 Boutique wineries are a selling point for agri-tourism, a fact that’s been seized upon by the Wolfville Business Development Corporation. Executive director David Hovell has capitalized on the whimsical town located just one hour’s drive from Halifax. Once tourists come, what’s to do? The Wolfville Magic Winery Bus has partnered with four wineries in the region: Domaine de Grand Pré, Luckett Vineyards, L’Acadie Vineyards and Gaspereau Vineyards. A double-decker bus leaves Wolfville at prescribed times with passengers allowed to stop and sip, and then board again for the next stop. “We are all working together
to authenticate the Wolfville area as the centre of Atlantic Canada’s wine country,” explains Hovell. “In 2012, the pink double decker bus toured participants through Wolfville and to the wineries for seven weekends and a total of 14 days. It was so well received that this year the event grew to 11 weekends and 33 days.” Sears is now evaluating the visitor feedback in terms of how well the experience is meeting expectations. Is it necessary to meet the winemaker? What logistics of the tour can be improved? In a follow-up project, she’s evaluating the economic impact of the Magic Winery Bus tour. Nova Scotia’s wine industry is gaining profile and respect. Luckett Vineyards is so confident
Luckett Vineyards has installed a vintage British-style phone booth in their picturesque vineyard. Visitors can phone anywhere in North America for free. that a British-style phone booth has been installed in the middle of the vineyard. Visitors are
encouraged to make a free call anywhere in North America. Imagine the word-of-mouth
publicity when tourists phone home to say, “Wish you were here!”
released from the University of Minnesota in 2006. It’s resistant to downy mildew, powdery mildew and black rot. Seyval Blanc has had a good history in the Finger Lakes area of New York, and should do well in the
cool climate. And Chambourcin is a red variety that’s known for its robust wines and affinity for chocolate. Norie and his father Roland have built a 3,000-square foot event space for wine members to
use. Guests enjoy the rustic atmosphere and the opportunity to choose from the 2,500 cases of wine for sale this year.
Norie Nersisyan checks his vines at the Holland Marsh Winery (www.hmwineries.ca) near Newmarket, Ontario. It’s the only vineyard in an agricultural area dominated by muck crops. Photo by Glenn Lowson.
Marquette Carrots and onions won’t be displaced anytime soon by vineyards, but the Holland Marsh Winery is proving there’s space for a niche venture. “There’s lots of skepticism about a vineyard in Newmarket,” says Norie Nersisyan. “There’s huge risk whether you grow vines or vegetables. Our biggest concern is frost.” Established almost seven years ago, the 11 acres of vineyard is now planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Vidal, Baco Noir and Gamay Noir. To that mix, add cold-hardy varieties of Seyval Blanc, Marquette and Chambourcin. Each of these new varieties
Chambourcin will add dimension to the current blended wines. Take Marquette, for example, a red varietal
PAGE B6 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
FOCUS: VINEYARDS AND WINERIES
Geotextiles can reduce freeze injury in Ontario vineyards JIM WILLWERTH With our changing climate and more and more erratic weather events being recorded both during a growing season, and just as importantly, during the dormant season, freeze injury is an ongoing threat nationally for our grape and wine industry. In some areas, this means the more cold sensitive V. vinifera grapes, that our VQA wine industry has been built on, cannot survive winter temperatures without some form of protection. One method of protection is through the use of geotextiles, which are materials used for winter protection of crops, mainly in the nursery industry but are also used in some vineyards where winter temperatures can be severe. There has been greater interest in these materials for vineyard use in Ontario and some growers, such as Rob and Sally Peck, Sugarbush Vineyards, are currently experimenting with them. Growers are concerned that through the current process of burying/unburying that vines can be physically damaged leading to crown gall infection and detrimental to soils through aggressive cultivation and hilling. Furthermore, bud loss can occur due to physical damage as well as rot, particularly in wet
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springs and falls. Finally, timing of application and removal of protective materials and weather conditions are critical for good protection and prevention of premature bud break which can result in bud mortality due to freeze injury from spring frost. Therefore, the use of geotextiles may be a way to eliminate these concerns while helping to increase and sustain production yields. There is also potential for these to be used to grow more cold-sensitive varieties in Niagara. Our research objectives were to: - determine the effectiveness of geotextiles on mitigating damaging cold temperatures - examine vine microclimate below the geotextile materials and how these impact bud hardiness and bud survival - investigate different types of materials - examine timing and removal of these materials on bud hardiness, bud survival, bud break, growth and yields - help determine ‘best practices’ for using geotextile materials for cold protection in Ontario vineyards Established vineyard blocks in Prince Edward County
(Wellington) and Niagara peninsula (Vineland) were selected for the geotextile trials. Two V. vinifera cultivars were chosen including a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir cultivar. Geotextile materials were purchased from different suppliers. The two materials used for this study included Hibertex Pro frost protection fabric from Dubois Agrinovation and ArboTherm from Texel. Hibertex Pro is a white, non-woven fabric made of UV resistant polyester fiber. Arbotherm is a polyester felt on which a black LDPE has been applied underneath in order to render it waterproof. Two different widths of these materials were used to ensure proper coverage of the grapevines – six foot widths were used in Prince Edward County and 11.5 foot widths were required for use in Niagara. The geotextile materials were applied in vineyards during the week of November 13, 2012 and removed at multiple times during vine deacclimation. During the trial, a number of observations were made. The use of geotextiles generally requires some pre-pruning in order to place the material over the vines. Mechanization and logistics of
Here is an example of geotextile covering in a Prince Edward County vineyard. applying and removing geotextiles needs to be further
studied. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
DECEMBER 2013 â€“â€“ PAGE B7 THE GROWER
FOCUS: VINEYARDS AND WINERIES
Geotextiles can reduce freeze injury in Ontario vineyards CONTINUED FROM PAGE B6 There is a greater capital cost with geotextiles so durability is also a concern. However, following one year of study, the materials were found to remain in excellent condition for reuse the next year. The effectiveness of these materials on bud/cane health and improving yields is very evident compared to buried vines. To date, geotextiles have been shown to be a very effective way of protecting buds from freeze injury, leading to better vine health and significantly better production in terms of yields. Data from the 2013 growing season show that geotextiles can double yield/vine (i.e. 2.1 kg vs 0.9 kg/vine for Chardonnay) compared to traditional methods of using soils. Crop value, vineyard and operation size will all impact if these materials are economical for vineyard use. However, when crop levels are doubled, this can make a strong argument for better sustainability, especially when many growers are trying to increase yields to greater than
Grapevine which was protected using geotextiles and displaying larger crop size. Control grapevine used for geotextile studies with reduced crop size one to two tonnes/acre. Conclusions It was found that geotextile materials can be successfully used to protect grapevines from cold injury in regions where winter temperatures can commonly drop below -20 degrees C. The materials tested in this study impacted vine microclimate in multiple ways.
Monthly average temperatures were higher as were both absolute maximum and minimum temperatures compared to the control. Temperatures were most consistent under the soil with buried vines without extreme maximum or minimum temperatures. Geotextile materials were found to be more effective with temperature mitigation when placed over grapevines on a low wire system, closer to the soil
where geothermal and snow insulation can further moderate temperatures. The type of geotextile material does impact cold hardiness dynamics and timing of removal can also impact grapevine cold tolerance. Therefore, these factors need to be considered when using some of these materials for winter protection. Burying of vines is an effective way to protect grapevines from damaging winter
temperatures, however the process of hilling soil over the entire grapevine can result in rot and physical damage to the vine which can reduce bud viability and hence yield potential. As a result, yield potentials are half of what they are when geotextile materials are used. Jim Willwerth, senior research scientist, viticulture, Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University, St Catharines, ON.
PAGE B8 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
FOCUS: VINEYARDS AND WINERIES
Constructed treatment wetland purifies vineyard waste the natural way LILIAN SCHAER FOR ONTARIO SOIL AND CROP IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION Tough new regulations governing vineyard waste management meant the owners of Sixteen Mile Cellar in the Niagara Region had some tough choices to make. Previously, small estate wineries were allowed to store the liquids and residues from their grape crush on-farm and then haul them away. The rule change now requires waste treatment facilities on site, which can get very expensive very fast. “For small wineries, this is a big burden. Even if you only crush grapes for one week of the year like we do, you have to provide waste treatment,” says Paul Vander Molen, Sixteen Mile Cellar’s farm property manager. “So we started searching for ideas that would address the waste issue properly but also be
affordable.” The solution was a constructed treatment wetland that uses nature to pre-treat the winery waste— wash water, grape liquids and stems and skins left over once the grapes are crushed—before it is disposed of. The crush residue flows out of the winery into a holding tank and is then pumped into a four-chamber constructed treatment wetland that is located just outside of the main winery building. The chambers are lined with rubber and filled with gravel and soil that filter and purify the grape waste. From there, the remaining liquid goes into a pressurized septic system and then into a filter bed for release back into the environment. An alternative option was an open system, but the potential for odour and the proximity to the winery building made this idea a non-starter. “Wineries, especially small estate wineries like this one, don’t produce a lot of waste but we still
have to solve the problem of dealing with it,” Vander Molen says. “This solution is not only a good treatment option, but it will also provide a natural habitat for frogs and other wildlife once it is completed.” The underground system was first used in 2012 and Vander Molen says it will ramp up to full capacity for the 2013 grape harvest. This spring, cattails, bull rushes and iris will be planted on top of the wetland to complete its construction and give it a more natural look. There are currently more than 1,000 constructed wetlands in North America being used to treat
various waste streams, such as municipal wastewater and coal and metal mine drainage. Sixteen Mile Cellar is one of the first wineries in Ontario that has been affected by the new rules and has adapted this type of a system using a wetland to pre-treat their winery waste. He expects others will follow suit as they face compliance with the new regulations. To help with the cost of constructing the wetland, Sixteen Mile Cellar accessed cost-share funding through the CanadaOntario Farm Stewardship Program (COFSP). COFSP provided cost-share funding for farmers to implement best management practices that provide environmental benefit on-farm. Funding was available on a first come, first served basis to farmers who had a peer-reviewed Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) in place and had projects that have been approved under the program. EFP and COFSP were funded
under the Best Practices suite of programs of Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The programs were administered by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture acting on behalf of the Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition. The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association delivered the programs to farmers. “The funding really helped us make this work. This project and some of the others we’ve done really fit into the concept of environmental goods and services and being a responsible producer,” says Vander Molen, referring to a tree planting initiative and the replacement of a failed culvert with a new stream bridge crossing to improve fish habitat that were both also completed on the same property recently. For further information please contact the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association at www.ontariosoilcrop.org or 1-800-265-9751.
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PAGE B10 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
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The ‘AQUA Wetland System’ “A new breed of constructed wetland” AQUA Treatment Technologies Inc. designs and installs the ‘AQUA Wetland System’ (AWS) for tertiary treatment of many types of waste water including sanitary sewage, landfill leachate, dairy farm & abattoir wastewater, greenhouse irrigation leachate water & mushroom farm leachate water (i.e. manure pile leachate) and high strength winery washwater.
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PAGE B12 –– DECEMBER 2013 THE GROWER
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Volume 63 Number 12