Anaerobics new tool against soil pathogens

‘If it’s stinking, it’s working,’ says researcher studying decomposing carbon sources as alternatives to fumigation

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — An alternative to soil fumigation is catching on in one of the world’s largest strawberry production regions. “Since the 1950s, fumigation has been the foundation of strawberry production in California,” according to Dr. Joji Muramoto, who spoke in Niagara Falls at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention in February. “Anaerobic soil […] Read more

Eugenia Banks displays one of the spore traps she used last year to detect late blight spores in Ontario potato-growing areas.  |  Jeffrey Carter photo

New tool designed for late blight detection

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — A late blight spore detection system tested in Ontario last year could prove useful in other potato-producing provinces. Eugenia Banks, a consultant to the Ontario Potato Board, talked about the system at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Niagara Falls Feb. 22. “The presence of just one spore means the […] Read more

Potato diseases may lurk on imported tulip bulbs

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — It’s bad enough that the disease that causes blackleg in potatoes and carrots, Pectobacterium, is widespread in North America. Now two closely related anaerobic bacterial diseases, more virulent in nature, pose an added threat. Vikram Bisht, a plant pathologist with Manitoba Agriculture, said Dickeya dianthicola has already found its way to […] Read more


Initiative looks to boost organic quality, yields

GUELPH, Ont. — Canada’s organic grain sector needs to ex-pand production but it’s not just about bringing new growers on board. There’s also a need to im-prove the skills of those who are already part of the industry. Iris Vaisman with the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative and Katherine Stanley with the University of Manitoba made […] Read more

Ross Duffield was raised on a Pennsylvania dairy farm and is now raising rare cross-breed pigs at the Rodale Institute.  |  Rodale Institute photo

Pasture pigs bring home the bacon

GUELPH, Ont. — Ross Duffield’s farm-raised pragmatism led him to adopt confinement housing strategies in pastured-pig production systems at the Rodale Institute. Four years ago, Duffield was hired as farm manager at the Pennsylvania research farm. Two years ago, he led work to complete a 96-by-40-foot, fabric-covered housing facility surrounded by eight acres of pasture. […] Read more


Education dropping among young male farmers: study

LONDON, Ont. — The education level of young male farmers in southwestern Ontario has slipped, according to research published by the Alliance of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science Societies. “Why I think this is interesting is that there appears to be a correlation between the degree of education and environmental behaviour,” study co-author Silke Nebel […] Read more

Ontario processing growers delivered 500,000 tons of tomatoes to processors in the province last year. They’re under pressure to change the way the crop is contracted.  |  Jeffrey Carter photo

Tomato processors seek changes to Ontario marketing board

Growers argue proposed changes to provincial farm products marketing act could render marketing boards toothless

LONDON, Ont. — Ontario’s marketing board for processing vegetables is under attack, according to its chair. Francis Dobbelaar said Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers has rejected the latest proposal from the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission that would open the door to direct contracts between processors and growers for tomatoes. “Their definition of direct contracts is […] Read more

King Cole Duck sisters Robin Kelly, left, hatchery manager, Debbi Conzelmann, chief executive officer, Patti Thompson, director of sales and marketing, and Jackie Fisher, breeder division manager, made changes after a high Canadian dollar took a bite out of sales of whole ducks to the United States. They diversified, selling convenience products like kebobs and prepared breasts and legs and offering roast and smoked duck to keep market share.  |  King Cole Duck photo

Food producers find success in value-added

When facing marketing challenges, two Ontario companies revamped their businesses to provide consumers with new options

TORONTO — It took two crises for the owners of Canada’s largest duck producing operation to shift direction. “We went from being a farm family to being a farm family business,” said Debbi Conzelmann,chief executive officer of King Cole Duck. “We had to take another look at our business. Like many other farm businesses, it […] Read more


Three Ontario agronomists described six tillage strategies at the Southwest Agricultural Conference Jan. 4.
 | File photo

Tillage tactics take centre stage at Ontario event

RIDGETOWN, Ont. — Three Ontario agronomists described six tillage strategies at the Southwest Agricultural Conference here Jan. 4. Greg Stewart with Maizex Seeds and Alan McCallum with McCallum Agronomic Services were at the event. Peter Johnson with Real Agriculture was included in video presentations. Six farmers with six different pieces of equipment were introduced. First […] Read more

A crop adviser says growers need to consider soil fertility and urges regular soil tests to achieve maximum yield potential.  |  File photo

Pay attention to trouble spots for higher wheat yields

RIDGETOWN, Ont. — Canada may not lie within a “Goldilocks zone” where wheat yields can top 200 bushels per acre, but lessons may still be learned from those regions. A wheat expert from England who now runs a crop advisory company in Kentucky talked about the opportunities at the Southwest Agriculture Conference in Ridge-town in […] Read more