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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Upcoming Webinar – PRIVA’s BioLogics for Plant Growth

This post, authored by Dr. Fadi Al-Daoud, has been reposted from the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetables Blog.

The first installment of the OMAFRA Controlled Environment Agriculture Webinar Series is here! Join us on Thursday January 20th at noon to hear PRIVA’s Peter Kamp talk about a growing strategy that takes transpiration, photosynthesis and the greenhouse climate into consideration. This talk will be of interest to greenhouse vegetable and ornamental growers. Find all the details below and make sure to register in advance!

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COVID-19 Information for Employers

If you employ Temporary Foreign Workers in your greenhouse this post is for you! Read on for important information and resources.

Firstly, OMAFRA has established a voluntary registry to distribute important COVID-19 information to employers. You can register here to get direct updates regarding Temporary Foreign Worker and COVID-19 issues to your email inbox.

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COVID-19 Infection, Prevention and Control Webinars

OMAFRA is hosting province-wide free webinars on COVID-19 Infection, Prevention and Control on Jan 6th (tomorrow!) and 18th from 12 to 1 PM. This is a great resource as we move into a new production year in the pandemic. It will provide a refresher on best practices and updates on important information for business owners and HR managers on how to keep workers safe against the virus and its variants.

Topics Include:

  • Infection, Prevention and Control measures for employer health and safety awareness 
  • Workplace inspection process
  • Ontario’s Workplace Safety Plan Builder
  • Available supports from OMAFRA to protect worker health and safety including programming under:
    • Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program (EAWPP)
    • Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS)

To sign up for one of these webinars, please fill in the form. Zoom details will be emailed after registration.

Proposed Protected Agriculture Stewardship Standards are Open for Comment

Over the last several years, CropLife Canada and various grower groups have been working to develop a certification program for greenhouses and other protected agriculture producers to reduce the risk of nutrients and pest management products leaving the farm with irrigation water. This work was initiated after imidacloprid was found in high levels in some waterways in Ontario and British Columbia. A draft was released in 2020 for public consultation, and feedback has been incorporated into the latest draft which is now available for comment.

Growers that use recirculating flood floors will be captured under the new certification program.

The first stage of the proposed water standard affects greenhouse producers who have recirculating irrigation systems. All growers who self-identify as having a closed-loop irrigation system will need to have passed an audit by December 31, 2023. You can find details on the specific definition of closed-loop in the proposed standard, but generally it includes growers with recirculating systems such as flood floors, flood benches and troughs. All greenhouse growers with these irrigation systems will need to be certified under the program – by successfully completing an audit, or by completing a self declaration indicating that their farm has an open irrigation system– by December 31, 2023.  If a farm has not taken either of these measures, they may be prevented from purchasing pesticides for use in their greenhouses.

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Missed Our Webinar on Strategies to Improve Spring Crops? View it Here!

If you missed our presentation by Dr. Neil Mattson (Cornell University) on November 18th, fear not! There’s a few ways to still watch his presentation!

You can either register for the original webinar here, which will then give you access to the recording on Zoom.

Or, you can check out the recording on our ONFloriculture YouTube Channel! An added bonus? By subscribing to the channel, you’ll always be notified when we post new videos. A direct link to Dr. Mattson’s talk can be found here.

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Funding Opportunity: The Greenhouse Technology Network

This guest blog post was written by Dr. Rita Sterne, Project Manager with the Greenhouse Technology Network. Read on for important information about this funding opportunity.

Why do we need a Greenhouse Technology Network (GTN)?

Success for a greenhouse business comes from many things including balancing systems, constant vigilance, and the use of technologies across complex production activities.  From tools, equipment, and machines, to methods, systems, and techniques, new and improved technologies must help growers run  a profitable businesses in a world where there are increasing demands from society, environment, and economy. 

Technological advancements often develop in response to a challenge, but research and development is a costly undertaking for many small and medium sized businesses and some persistent challenges require research expertise that is hard to access.  This is where the Greenhouse Technology Network can help!

Robotic technology in a greenhouse.

What is the Greenhouse Technology Network?

The need for new and improved technologies is the driver behind the Greenhouse Technology Network (GTN), a consortium of three research-focused institutions. GTN members leverage their research expertise in greenhouse technologies with greenhouse and related technology businesses to help grow innovation in Ontario’s greenhouse industry.

Powered by funding from the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, GTN members help businesses de-risk innovation activities and help new and improved technologies get to greenhouse growers faster where they will help business thrive and grow.

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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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Time to Prepare for Spring 2022

This post was jointly written by Dr. Chevonne Dayboll and Dr. Sarah Jandricic

It’s time to think about spring again! This post gathers some of the most important things to plan and prep for in the greenhouse before your spring production begins in earnest.

1. Make sure your inputs are ordered

We can’t emphasize this one enough. COVID-19 and container boat issues are still causing shipping delays that are affecting many industries including greenhouses. Make sure you order potting mixes, plastic trays and pots, fertilizers, and production inputs well ahead of when you will need them. If you are planning on doing greenhouse upgrades in between seasons make sure you confirm delivery and installation timelines with your contractors.  Many of them are facing delays too!

2. Now is the time for preventative maintenance

Heat loss from an older (left) and newer, more efficient boiler (right). (Photo credit: OMAFRA)

Now is a great time to schedule preventive maintenance for your boiler, irrigation and shading systems.  Make sure that all motors and alarms are working before you need to rely on them. No one wants to find out that their temperature alarm failed on a cold February morning! Ensure you are getting the pressure you expect all along your irrigation system.  If you rely on propane heaters for early spring production make sure they are venting properly. Damage from improper venting can present as stunted growth or leaf burn.

Take some time to inspect the greenhouse for wear-and-tear. Repair cracked poly and broken glass to keep heat from escaping. Make sure old torn energy curtains are replaced. A heat sensitive camera can help to identify areas of energy loss and help you plan for energy efficient upgrades in the future.

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