Webinar this THURDAY: Making the Most of Spraying in Covered Crops (including Cannabis)

As anyone growing greenhouse vegetables, floriculture or cannabis crops knows, most pesticide application information out there is NOT geared towards covered crops. To help growers improve spray coverage and product efficacy of both conventional and microbial pesticides, Niagara College’s Cannabis Program has put together a webinar of experts. Together, they have over 100 years of combined pesticide application experience (*insert joke about how old they all are here*).

The panel includes both government and industry experts, including Dr. Jason Deveau from OMAFRA, Dr. Michael Brownbridge from BioWorks, and Louis Damm from the Dram Corporation. This webinar will focus on cannabis as a model crop, but much this information is highly applicable to floriculture as well.

Read on for information on this free webinar (no registration required).

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Can We Improve Pesticide Application in Greenhouse Ornamentals?

As anyone battelling whitefly on poinsettia this season can attest to, good pesticide coverage in ornamental crops can be challenging. Hydraulic sprayers are the industry standard, but does that mean they’re the best option? Where does sprayer technology need to go in the future to get growers better results?

This summer, Dr. Jason Deveau, OMAFRA’s official “Spray Guy”, and myself did a trial at a local greenhouse with some experimental equipment to try and answer these questions. The results were intriguing, to say the least.

For all the details on this trial, check out the link to Jason’s blog post, below.

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OMAFRA Controlled Environment Agriculture Webinar Series: spraying in CEA – June 24, 12-1 pm

OMAFRA controlled environment agriculture webinar series logo

Interested in learning more about effective spraying in controlled environment agriculture? Tune in at noon this Thursday with host Dr. Fadi Al-Daoud and co-host Dr. Andrew Wylie for a presentation by OMAFRA’s application specialist Dr. Jason Deveau specific to closed environments:

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Spray technique affects nematode rates

Spraying nematodes in your greenhouse for fungus gnats, shoreflies, or thrips?  Then check out this article published in the January 2015 issue of Hort Matters (OMAFRA’s Horticultural newsletter):

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/hort/news/hortmatt/2015/01hrt15a2.htm

Researchers realized that nematodes can “stick” to the inside of spray tanks, reducing the number of nematodes coming out of the nozzle as you spray.  This is unlikely to be a problem using backpack sprayers (since the volume is so small), but could be an issue if you use a towed sprayer on wheels.

What’s the solution? Agitation, agitation, agitation.

To keep your nematode numbers consistent throughout the application, do your best to keep nematodes in suspension.  And, if you have any concerns about your application technique, it’s easy enough to assess if you have a microscope (or have a friendly neighbourhood OMAFRA agent with one).

Nematodes (S. feltiae) preparing to enter an adult western flower thrips.

Nematodes (S. feltiae) preparing to enter an adult western flower thrips. Photo by R. Buitenhuis (Vineland).

Nematodes are around 0.5 mm long, and can be easily seen using the low magnification setting on a scope.  A black background makes them easier to see. Live nematodes are usually serpentine or “J” shaped, and often wiggle slightly.  Dead nematodes are stick straight.

By counting the number of live nematodes in a small volume of your original spray solution (1 mL should do it), you can compare this to the number of nematodes in the same volume (1mL) from the nozzle dribble at the end of your application.  Seeing a huge reduction here?  Then you may have a problem.

To ensure nematode health, also follow these other tips:

  • Air temperature should be less than 30 C at application time
  • Apply during low light levels since nematodes are UV sensitive
  • Nematodes can be stored in a refrigerator (4C) but should be used within 4 weeks of receipt
  • Do not apply nematodes though sprayers that exceed 300 psi
  • Use a nozzle aperture of more than 0.5 mm