Originally posted on onspecialtycrops:

Specialty crop growers may be interested in entering Farm & Food Care’s Farm Invention Challenge.

The competition has two main categories with a total of $9 000 in cash prizes.

Competition information as outlined on the Farm & Food Care Ontario website (as of 30 Sept 2014):

A. Animal Care
Large farm gadgets and gizmos – Whether it`s welding up a new attachment for your skid steer or designing a whole new feeding system, share with us your large scale farm innovations.
Small farm gadgets and gizmos – Have you ever fixed something with a rubber band or used a cotter pin in an unusual way? We want to hear about the simple fixes that have revolutionized animal care on your farm.
Farm hacks – Tell us how you have made simple changes around your barn to save time and headaches on your farm.

B. Water Efficiency & Quality

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Cover crops have a lot of places where they can fit in horticultural crop rotations.

  • Before late planted crops like pumpkins to provide weed suppression.
  • After early harvested crops like peas or snap beans to cover and protect the soil while enhancing soil structure.
  • After winter wheat to suppress resistant weeds in the rotation or as a part of the overall crop rotation to suppress nematodes in preparation for planting strawberries.

Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide

Looking for more details on how a cover crop can fit, herbicide concerns, or the basics on a particular cover crop species? There is an improved version of the Purdue Midwest Cover Crop Field Guide available now. The pocket guide, released September 22, is produced by Purdue University and the Midwest Cover Crops Council. The first cover crop guide was released in February 2012. The updated guide is in response to the increasing interest in cover crops in the Midwest and to requests for additional information. Continue Reading »

Sumagic label update

Valent Canada, Inc. has received approval for an update to the Sumagic Plant Growth Regulator label for Canada.

The label has been updated to remove the restriction on use in greenhouses with soil floors consisting of sand or sandy loam soil.

The updated label also includes additional statements on avoiding contamination of ground and surface water.

For copies of the updated label, contact Janice LeBoeuf, OMAFRA at janice.leboeuf@ontario.ca or 519-674-1699 or see the Valent Canada website.

Originally posted on onspecialtycrops:

By Sean Westerveld and Melanie Filotas, OMAFRA

Over the last few weeks we have had a number of questions about “mildew”.  Mildew can refer to either downy or powdery mildew, and it seems that some growers have been confusing the two.  While both cause fuzzy growth on plant leaves, that is where the similarities end.  Downy and powdery mildew are actually very different diseases with different management strategies, and mistaking the two can be costly.

Downy and powdery mildew are common to a wide variety of fruit, vegetable and even some field crops.  They tend to be relatively specific, attacking only one or a few closely related crops.  So, for example, the downy mildew of basil will not affect cucurbits, and vice versa.  Some crops are affected by both a powdery mildew and a downy mildew disease (e.g. hops and cucurbits).

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Hannah Fraser, Entomology Horticulture Program Lead, OMAFRA

Brown marmorated stink bugAn adult brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) was caught in a trap at another one of our survey sites in Niagara, near Niagara-on-the-Lake. The presence of adults in traps indicates growers / consultants need to be on the look-out for this pest in their crops. It is very easy to miss BMSB when it is at low levels. This pest is highly mobile, and the adults can move in from adjacent areas at any point in the growing season. See the OMAFRA website for management recommendations. It is likely this will be revised as we learn more about the biology of BMSB in Ontario.

Brown marmorated stink bugs have been confirmed as established (breeding populations) in Hamilton, London, Newboro, St. Catharines, and Windsor, ON. In addition, we have captured adult BMSB in pheromone traps set up on commercial farms near Beamsville, Cedar Springs (2013), Essex, Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. David’s, Continue Reading »

Hannah Fraser – Entomology Program Lead – Horticulture, OMAFRA; Jim Chaput – Provincial Minor Use Coordinator, OMAFRA

From ONvegetables in The Grower, 2014

At the 20th Annual Diagnostic Day in Ridgetown in July, we asked growers and consultants to guess what species is the most important pollinator of Cucurbita pepo (squash, pumpkin and zucchini) in North America. Almost everyone replied “honey bees”. A few mentioned “bumble bees” (a good guess as these are second on the list). Fewer still answered “squash bees”.

Cucurbita pepo produce both male and female flowers on the same plant. Male flowers produce both pollen and nectar, while the female flowers produce nectar. Each female flower has an ovary under the flower that resembles the fruit it will become following pollination. Poor pollination results in small, unmarketable fruit. And since these flowers bloom less than a day, there is only a small window in which pollination can occur.

The pollen of these crops is large, sticky and spiny – characteristics which make it relatively unattractive to honey bees. Surveys of farms where C. pepo are grown indicate the (hoary) squash bee, Peponapis pruinosa, outnumber honey bees, bumble bees and other pollinators by several orders of magnitude. Indeed, where squash bees are present and abundant, honey bees are essentially redundant, in terms of pollination requirements for these crops. Continue Reading »

Amanda Green – Weed Management Program Lead – Horticulture, OMAFRA

As some vegetable crops are being harvested and June bearing strawberry harvest has wrapped up some growers may be considering planting a cover crop. Cover crops give the soil many benefits such as increasing organic matter, improving soil aggregation or fixing or scavenging nitrogen. One thing to consider when selecting your cover crop is the herbicides that you applied earlier this year and the previous year.

Some residual herbicides, mainly those that are soil applied pre-emergence (PRE), can have a negative impact on crop establishment and cause visible injury. PhD candidate María Angélica Rojas, from the University of Guelph under the supervision of Dr. Darren Robinson, has studied the effects of three PRE herbicides applied in the spring on the functionality of subsequent cover crops to benefit the soil. The herbicides studied were: Continue Reading »


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