Equipment
July 17, 2018 – Canadian Clean Seed Capital Group Ltd. has signed an agreement to strategically acquire U.S. planting equipment manufacturer Harvest International. 
Published in Corporate News
Presented by Breanne Tidemann, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lacombe, Alta., at the Herbicide Resistance Summit, Feb 27-28, Saskatoon.

In order for harvest weed seed control (HWSC) to be effective, weed seeds still have to be retained on the plant at the time of harvest. If they’ve already dropped to the soil, they’re already in the seed bank. The weed seeds also need to be at a height where they can be collected by the combine. For example, chickweed is very low growing and its seeds are very low to the ground. Most producers don’t cut that low to the ground because of risk of damaging their equipment, so chickweed would not be a good candidate for harvest weed seed control.

Harvest weed seed control also means being able to get the weed into the combine. An example is a big tumbleweed, such as kochia. If the tumbleweed won’t feed into the combine and goes over top of the header, then you won’t be able to get the seeds into the combine for harvest weed seed control.

There are different methods of harvest weed seed control. Some of them have been scientifically evaluated in Australia. One of the most common methods is narrow windrow burning. The straw and chaff are dropped into windrows using metal chutes that are attached to the back of the combine. It’s cheap and easy to implement. But there are environmental impacts because it does involve burning. From a practical point of view, it may not work in western Canada, but it is used a lot in Australia.

windrower on a field at dusk
Chaff carts were originally developed in Canada. The Australians have modified Canadian chaff carts and use a conveyer system instead of a blower system to move the chaff to the cart. They’ve also adopted new technologies to make burning or collection easier and more efficient. Some of the chaff carts are programmed with GPS to dump the chaff in a certain area of the field to be grazed or burnt.

There was one Australian producer that commented he’s been using a chaff cart for 15 years, and about 10 years in he started seeing annual ryegrass that was much shorter, much lower to the ground and was dropping its seeds much earlier. So this is still a selection pressure. You will select for resistance to these methods if it’s what you’re relying on to control your populations.

chaff cart
The bale direct system bales chaff and straw directly behind the combine into a square bale. The square bales are removed from the field, taking the weed seeds with them. The loss of the residue from the field can be detrimental in terms of nutrients loss. And there is potential for transport of weed seeds in the bale from one region to another, potentially moving herbicide resistant weeds with the bale. The other issue in Australia is one producer started doing this and he saturated the entire market. The bales can also be pelletized to produce pelletized sheep feed, but again it’s a relatively small market. So market can be an issue with this methodology.

bale direct system
The Harrington Seed Destructor uses a cage mill to grind the chaff and weed seeds. The cage mill has two counter-rotating plates that spin very fast in the opposite directions. The weed seeds go in to the middle of the mill and have to move from the inside out to continue to move through the system. The straw moves along a conveyor belt and goes through a spreader at the back. Only the chaff is processed through the cage mill. The disadvantage is that the first model was towed behind the combine and required a lot of horsepower.

harrington seed destructor
The tow-behind model was always intended as step one. The Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor (iHSD) is mounted on the combine and uses the same cage mill system. The integrated model had several improvements. Instead of having the two counter-rotating plates there’s only one rotating plate and one stationary plate, but that rotating one turns twice as fast. It is a hydraulically driven machine and takes about 80 horsepowers from the combine to run this machine.

integrated harrington seed destructor
A new combine mounted seed impact implement was first announced January 2017. The Seed Terminator is competition to the Harrington Seed Destructor. It uses a slightly different type of mill called a multi-stage hammer mill, but it works on essentially the same idea of crushing or grinding those seeds so that they’re dead and can’t grow the next year. This is mechanically driven rather than hydraulically driven. In terms of price differences, the original tow behind Harrington Seed Destructor was about $200,000. The integrated Harrington Seed Destructor is somewhere around $150,000. The Seed Terminator is about $100,000. So what you’re seeing is as these competitors come to the market that price point is dropping, and we do expect that to continue.

Seed terminatorChaff deck or chaff tramlining works in a controlled traffic system. The idea is to put chaff on the permanent tramlines so if weeds grow there isn’t much impact on overall yield. The chaff in the tramline is also driven over multiple times, which can impair weed growth, and there is potential for seed decomposition in those tramlines. What farmers have seen is that there are fewer weeds growing in the tramlines, but it hasn’t been scientifically evaluated at this point.

chaff deck
Chaff lining can still be used outside of a controlled traffic system. The chaff is placed in a narrow row to decompose instead of spreading the seeds across the entire field. However, there is potential for some seeding or emergence issues if you’re seeding through this concentrated chaff row. It hasn’t been researched, but a lot of producers are adopting this in Australia as their first step in harvest weed seed control because it’s inexpensive and easy to implement.


The Australian experience

In Australia, a 2016 survey of 602 growers were asked about their adoption of narrow windrow burning, chaff carts, chaff tramlining, the bale direct, and the HSD. The Seed Terminator and integrated Harrington Seed Destructor were not released at the time so they don’t show up in the survey.

Across Australia 43 per cent of producers were using some method of harvest weed seed control. Narrow windrow burning was the most common. In Western Australia that number goes up to about 63 per cent. Western Australia is essentially where all of these methods were developed. Western Australia is really the epicentre because of herbicide resistance, and harvest weed seed control is spreading out from there.

The adoption of chaff tramlining this past harvest has skyrocketed. There is a lot more discussion about different systems on social media, and a lot more discussion about what works and what doesn’t work than we’ve see in past years. If that survey was to be redone I think we would see some of the tramlining and chaff lining skyrocketing.

Results from the same survey show that 82 per cent of producers said they expected to adopt some form of harvest weed seed control in the next five years with 46 per cent expecting to use narrow windrow burning. More producers would like to be using the iHSD, but they had concerns about the cost and the perception that it was unproven in terms of weed kill. The perception of unproven control of weed seeds is interesting because weed kill is where there is the most research.

Research has been done in Australia to show how effective harvest weed seed control was on controlling annual ryegrass populations in “focus paddocks” or “focus fields.” The research compared crop rotations where harvest weed seed control was used in 38 per cent of crops compared to rotations where it was only used in 11 per cent of crops. The ryegrass population was managed far more effectively where harvest weed seed control was used, and it has stayed very low.

Effects of HWSC in Australia:
Effect of HWSC in Australia
Photo courtesy of Michael Walsh.

Potential in Canada

In Western Canada we’ve believed that the physical impact implements that destroy seeds are most likely to have the best fit. They don’t require the burning, and it has some scientific testing behind it that shows it’s effective. So that’s where researchers have focused efforts in terms of testing a method for Western Canada.

We looked at the top 10 weeds in Saskatchewan and gave them a seed retention rating -- how well does the weed holds onto those seeds until harvest. A number of weeds are in the good or fair to good retention rating, and that’s promising. Green foxtail gets a good retention rating while buckwheat gets a fair to good. Volunteer canola is rated good. The unfortunate ones are the poors: wild oat, spiny annual sow thistle, narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard. Those have poor retention and are unlikely to be primary targets for harvest weed seed control because a lot of their seeds are already gone by harvest.

10weeds FocusOnHRLooking at some small plot experiments, seed retention of wild oat, cleavers, and volunteer canola was looked at. Volunteer canola retained most of its seed by the end of September, cleavers was intermediate and wild oat retained about 20 per cent of the seed by the end of September.

Kochia has good seed retention. Their seeds only mature after harvest, so most of the seed is still there at harvest, but the concern is that below the cutting height, typically six inches, there can still be over 5,000 seeds below that cutting height. So even though a lot of seed is collected by the combine, there could still be a lot missed and left in the field. At this point we aren’t sure what impact harvest weed seed control would have on kochia.

As part of my PhD research, we looked at running samples through the Harrington Seed Destructor in a stationary format set up in the shop. We mixed buckets of chaff with weed seeds and ran them through to determine how many are destroyed. We looked at five weed seed species: kochia, green foxtail, cleavers, volunteer canola, and wild oat. We put 10,000 seeds of each of those species into a five-gallon pail of chaff, put it into the Seed Destructor and assessed how many lived when they came out the other side.

A second study looked at weed seed size. Weed seed species are all different shapes, sizes and seed coat types. We took canola seeds and we hand sieved them to get thousand kernel weights between 2.2 grams per 1,000 and 5.8 grams per thousand.

We also looked at weed seed number by comparing 10 canola seeds up to a million canola seeds in the same volume of chaff. We also looked at chaff volume, so 10,000 canola seeds going through with no chaff or up to eight five-gallon pails of chaff in the same timeframe. And we also looked at chaff type, so barley, canola, and peas.

When we looked at weed seed species we did find significant differences in terms of control but our lowest level of control was still over 97 per cent killed. It worked really well on all the species that we tested.

In terms of canola seed size, we expected to see an increase in control as the size of the canola seed went up, and we did. But again, we’re within a percentage point of 98.5 per cent control so weed seed size isn’t a big factor in control.

Looking at weed seed number, once you have over 100 seeds going through, we were back up at that 98 per cent control.

As we increased the amount of chaff going in, initially our control increased, which may be that there’s more deflection within that mill. Those seeds get hit an extra time or two, and then it started to taper off. But again, we are in the 98 to 99 per cent control so it’s not going to have a huge impact in the field.

There was a similar story with chaff type. We did have less control in our canola chaff but we were running volunteer canola seeds through the seed destructor so there was likely a background presence of volunteer canola in our canola chaff that we did not account for. But again it’s by one-half per cent and we are still getting 98 to 98.5 per cent control.

In summary, what we found with the seed destructor was if you can get the weed seeds into the seed destructor you’re going to kill most of them – greater than 95 per cent.

The big question now is how does it work in the field? The answer is we don’t know yet. We have an ongoing study with the seed destructor in 20 producer fields where the seed destructor is in the field at harvest time. We harvest with the seed destructor and compare it to a pass with the seed destructor not milling the chaff. We learned a lot of lessons in 2017.

The first is that air velocity is really key. Chaff needs to be moved from the sieves, up and into the input of the tow behind Harrington. In order to get the chaff from the sieves, it has to go up into an input tube, and takes a fair bit of air velocity. If your air velocity is too low, your machine will plug. And if you don’t catch the plug fast enough, you end up with burning belts.

Greener, wet material also doesn’t work. We know it takes a lot more effort for the combine to thresh green or wet material. It’s a similar story with the mills. You need higher air velocity, and without it the green, wet material can plug where it forms a nice solid block of really hot, wet chaff in the blower. Green, wet material doesn’t grind well, either. So if you have green material in the field desiccation or swathing is going to be needed to dry the material down.

The other complication the tow behind HSD is a big machine that has problems with hills. The integrated seed destructor or the Seed Terminator makes a lot more sense for Western Canada. The research that’s been done in Australia shows that the tow behind unit and the integrated unit are very similar in terms of their control, so it’s still a valid test for those integrated units in Western Canada.

An example from a single field in 2017 shows some interesting results, although very preliminary. We compared photos from an untreated and treated Seed Destructor pass. There was substantially less volunteer canola in the treated pass after harvest. There is still some volunteer canola, but there’s substantially less.

We hope to start seeing benefits in the spring of 2018, but it is a three-year study. We’ll be back on the same locations for the next two harvests so that we can take into account the seed bank buffering that we’ll see in terms of our treatments.

These are new strategies. There’s always going to be bugs to work out, but they can be very effective in helping us manage the herbicide resistance that we’re currently facing.

For more stories on this topic, check out Top Crop Manager's Focus On: Herbicide Resistance, the first in our digital edition series.
Published in Weeds
Agricultural equipment dealers are working with Saskatchewan high schools to find a new generation of employees. | READ MORE
Published in Machinery
Weed control is one of the main challenges for flax growers, and is even more challenging under organic production systems. Because flax is a poor competitor with weeds, yield losses can be significant when weeds are present. Cultural and mechanical control options can be effective techniques for weed suppression and control in flax.
Published in Weeds
Pivot irrigation is by far the most common method of irrigating crops in Western Canada. Over 80 per cent of the 1.7 million acres of Alberta’s irrigated land uses pivot systems. Low pressure pivots with drop tubes and spray nozzles have become the most common form of pivot irrigation due to water application and energy efficiency.
Published in Irrigation
About a decade ago, Kyle Folk was at his parents’ grain farm helping his dad load up a semi of canola to meet a contract when the two made an unpleasant discovery.
Published in Storage
A seed treatment is a vital and effective product, so long as it stays on the seeds where it can do its work. When it is released into the surrounding environment, however, it can cause significant political and environmental concern.
Published in Seed Treatment
One of the first research questions was to determine what we expected aeration to do and what the main objectives were,” says Ron Palmer, IHARF research engineer. “The first reason was to remove some of the moisture from the grain, especially if it is tough.
Published in Storage
The Government of Saskatchewan recently approved a new recycling program for agricultural grain bags. The program, set to launch this month, provides a responsible option for producers to return these large, heavy bags for recycling and to prevent environmental harm from open burning or improper disposal.

The recycling program will be operated by Cleanfarms, a non-profit environmental stewardship organization, and regulated by The Agricultural Packaging Product Waste Stewardship Regulations, which came into effect in July 2016.

With the assistance of funding from the Ministry of Agriculture, Cleanfarms will establish 20 grain bag collection sites in 2018, with more sites planned for 2019.

The Ministry of Agriculture funded a grain bag recycling pilot program from 2011 to 2017, operated by Simply Agriculture Solutions. Through the program, 4,209 metric tonnes of material was shipped to recyclers – equivalent to approximately 28,000 grain bags.

The new program will include an environmental handling fee of $0.25 per kilogram, which will be paid at the point of purchase effective November 1, 2018.
Published in Storage & Transport
With industry meetings and conferences in full swing across the country, many producers have taken the winter months to seek out information and networking opportunities. As I recently navigated my way through a number of sessions at the SouthWest Agricultural Conference (held in early January at the University of Guelph Ridgetown campus), the turnout painted an obvious picture.
Published in Storage
Farmers help drive economic growth in Canada, but they can also face risks that threaten the viability of their farms, such as unpredictable weather.

The Government of Canada is committed to working with the sector to explore and develop new risk management tools that meet the needs of Canadian farmers when faced with serious challenges beyond their control.

Member of Parliament for London North Centre, Peter Fragiskatos, speaking on behalf of Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Lawrence MacAulay, at the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) annual general meeting, announced a federal investment of more than $340,000 to OSCIA for the development of a tool that farmers can use to make more precise decisions on the economic benefits of their individual farm.

The tool will use satellite data of field crops during different weather and soil events and demonstrate the potential benefits of managing water flow from fields using tile drainage.

"On farm fields with shallow slopes, scientists have confirmed that in a drought year, holding the water back by restricting the outflow with valves at the end of tile drains, corn yield can be increased by as much as 25%. Our analysis has confirmed that the economic payback from adoption of controlled tile drainage benefits can range from $18-$48 per hectare per year. In addition, Nitrate-N and Phosphorus output from tiles can also be reduced, calculated to be worth over $25 per ha in nutrient savings, certainly a win for improved water quality as well," said Mark Emiry, president of OSCIA.
Published in Corporate News
Two hay tool innovations from John Deere Ottumwa Works have been honored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) with the AE50 Award for 2018.

The awards are for the BalerAssist feature on the large square balers and the Plus2 Bale Accumulator for large round balers, both introduced in late 2017. The AE50 Award highlights the year’s 50 most innovative designs in product engineering in the food and agriculture industry, as chosen by a panel of international engineering experts.

The BalerAssist option on the L331 and L341 Series Large Square Balers was recognized for allowing the operator to more quickly and easily clear plugs between the baler pickup and rotor, without leaving the tractor cab.

“This significantly reduces downtime and increases bale-making productivity, especially in tough crop conditions,” says Travis Roe, senior marketing representative for large square balers. “In addition, this feature makes it easier for operators to access service points inside the baler and improve overall operational control and maintenance.”

Also receiving an award are the A520R and A420R Plus2 Round Bale Accumulators, which give customers the ability to carry up to two round bales behind the baler while making a third bale in the chamber. The Plus2 Accumulators are fully integrated into the design of the balers and can be used with 6-foot (1.82 m) diameter John Deere 7, 8, 9 and 0 Series Round Balers.

“These accumulators allow operators to strategically place the bales where they can be removed from the field most efficiently,” says Nick Weinrich, product marketing manager for pull-type hay tools. “This dramatically reduces the damage to crop regrowth from excessive field travel, as well as fuel and labor associated with collecting individual bales scattered across the field.”

ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food and biological systems. The awards will be presented at the ASABE Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, in February. Information on all award winners will be included in the January/February 2018 ASABE’s Resource magazine and on the ASABE website. Further information on the Society can be obtained by visiting www.asabe.org/.
Published in Combines/Harvesters
If you are a part of the farming industry or run an agriculture-based business, you must already be aware of the importance of accurately ascertaining the output your day-to-day activities yield. The accuracy of the said measurement is especially important as your overall profitability is directly depending on it. It also helps you understand how much output you are able to produce with the given resources and plan for the future accordingly. In order to bring about accuracy in measurements, you must think about incorporating the right type of weighing scales into your process in order to assess your output and optimize operations.

Following are the most popular farming weighing scales available:

1. Grain cart scales
Grain cart scales are the ideal harvest weighing system for grain and crop produces. Being able to scale your grain farming is especially important as it is a very specialized form of farming and requires a lot of attention to detail due to the large quantities of produce. Therefore, grain carts are also designed in a manner that help grain farmers accurately weigh their produce while keeping in mind the intricate details that go into harvesting grain produce.

2. Weighbridge truck scales
If you run a larger farm or are planning to scale your operations, you can also go for weighbridge truck scales. Weighbridge truck scales are perfect for larger, high-volume applications for multiple types of crops in order to cut down on labor hours. However, these scales are not beneficial to small scale farmers as their yields are much lower.

3. Yield load scanners
The yield load scanner is the ideal option for farmers who are planning on automating their harvest management process to optimize their operations. These scanners feature a 3D scanning device that converts volume data into weight using advanced software to provide accurate measurements.

4. On-board weighing scales
On-board scales are a type of weighing scale that are integrated on trucks and different types of equipment. These scales offer immediate weight readings without the requirement of an external scale unit, making it the quickest way of measuring your harvest. Since these scales are directly attached to the equipment, it can measure larger quantities of output, thereby reducing labor hours required and bringing about efficiency in operations. If you produce large quantities of crops, you must consider installing on-board weighing scales at your farm.

Implementation of electronic weighing scales can enhance the overall harvest operation by bringing about accuracy while reducing the amount of manpower required by automating the harvest procedure. Carefully understand your requirements and pick a scale system that is best suited to your operations.

Kevin Hill heads the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA. 

Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Published in Storage & Transport
John Deere 5R Series Tractors have received the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ (ASABE) AE50 Award for 2018. The AE50 Award recognizes innovative designs in product engineering as selected by a panel of international engineering experts.

Introduced in 2017, 5R Series Tractors leverage existing technologies normally found in large tractors and feature four models ranging from 90- to 125-engine horsepower.

“John Deere engineers designed tractor features to provide customers with unrivaled maneuverability, an easy-to-use transmission, increased visibility, loader integration and operator comfort,” said Nick Weinrich, product marketing manager for Deere.

A 7.4-foot (2.25 m) wheelbase, paired with a 60-degree steering angle, provides a tight turning radius of 12.1 feet (3.68 m). “For customers working in confined areas such as barns, this is a big improvement because they can more easily maneuver the tractor while increasing their productivity,” said Weinrich.

Customers can choose from two fully electronic transmission options, CommandQuad Manual and Command8. Weinrich said Deere made it easy for operators to toggle from B range through D range without stopping, thanks to a multi-range selection feature. Base equipment on 5R Tractors also includes AutoClutch, a feature leveraged from larger Deere row-crop tractors that completely eliminates the need for clutching. Operators can automatically re-engage the clutch by depressing the brake pedal.

Deere engineers improved upward and forward visibility from the tractor to help make 5R Series Tractors an even better fit for loader applications. Engineers also integrated an interactive display into the tractor’s right hand cornerpost. Operators can use the display to customize a variety of tractor functions to fit their preferences.


Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Published in Tractors
Kinze Manufacturing, an industry leader in planter and grain cart equipment, is expanding its offerings with the addition of four high-speed disc tillage models, Mach Till 201, 261, 331 and 401.

Susanne Veatch, Kinze president and chief marketing officer, said the new Mach Till high-speed disc products support farmer interest in faster tillage that enables them to stay ahead of the planter and be more productive by covering more acres in less time.

"Farmers will now be able to obtain three types of equipment from their Kinze dealer, all with the same standard of quality," she said.

The new product line is based on a Canadian design, produced by Degelman Industries, that has been licensed to Kinze to build at its manufacturing facility in Williamsburg, Iowa. Kinze will exhibit one of its first tillage models - the Mach Till 331 - at the 2018 National Farm Machinery Show Feb. 14-17 in Louisville, Kentucky.

"We are constantly evaluating opportunities in the market for new products that would be a good fit for Kinze," Veatch noted. "The Mach Till product line allows us to improve our already strong brand and have instant access to the growing high-speed disc segment with an already proven product."

In addition to high speed (8-12 mph) and high capacity, the versatile Mach Till lineup also offers simple setup and ease of use, maintenance-free parts and the ability to perform in various soil types, from fall primary tillage and residue management to spring secondary tillage and seedbed preparation.

The product is built heavy for high speed and deep working depth, but provides great flotation for lighter seedbed preparation that minimizes soil compaction. Veatch said the tillage products will be available from Kinze dealers in the United States and Canada, as well as for export to customers in Eastern Europe and Russia. Pricing information will be released this spring, with product availability beginning in fall 2018.


Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Published in Tractors
Farm Management Canada (FMC), the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), and the PEI Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (PEIDAF) are pleased to announce the recent launch of the Growing Your Farm Profits (GYFP): Planning for Business Success Online Farm Business Self-Assessment Tool.

This tool will provide producers across Ontario and Canada with the first step in the business planning process. Producers will come away with a comprehensive assessment of their farm business practices, priorities, key goals and ultimately, an Action Plan as a starting point towards the farm's business plan.

"Less than 25 per cent of our farmers have a written business management plan for the farm," says Heather Watson, executive director of FMC. "Creating a plan is essential for every farm - it means setting goals, figuring out the best ways to achieve them and finding the right resources and actions to get there. Most important, when you write it all down, you can invite others to share in creating the farm dream - your family, staff, lenders, business partners, and advisors, who will help realize your vision."

Producers can complete the online assessment on their own, or alternatively invite other members of the farm team to complete the assessment so that they can compare results before creating their roadmap to success; their business plan. Comparing assessments can lead to positive discussions regarding the future of the farm and ensure everyone's perspective is taken into account.

Once completed, the Action Plan can be submitted for validation. Producers may be eligible for cost-share opportunities to hire a consultant or participate in training and learning events to improve their business practices.

"Our goal with this project was to make the Growing Your Farm Profits assessment tool more accessible to producers to help increase the adoption of farm business planning practices," says Aileen MacNeil, director of the Agriculture Development Branch at OMAFRA. "Now producers have the online tool, the GYFP workshop and new GYFP eLearning Course as options to complete the assessment and action plan in the way that best suits their needs and preferences."

As a result of the partnership, FMC will offer a national version of the self-assessment tool, while OMAFRA will offer a customized Ontario version and the PEIDAF will offer a customized version of the tool, called Planning for Business Success, for PEI producers.

"The Planning for Business Success has proven to be an invaluable tool for Prince Edward Island producers in order to achieve a more productive and profitable operation, " says Alan McIsaac, PEI Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. "Our department is committed to helping producers grow and succeed."

The Growing Your Farm Profits: Planning for Business Success Online Business Self-Assessment Tool is available from the following links:

English - www.FarmBusinessAssessment.com
French - www.AnalysezVotreEntrepriseAgricole.com

More information about the Growing Your Farm Profits suite of learning tools offered by OMAFRA is available at http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/busdev/gyfp/



Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Published in Business Management
What started as a move back to the Ontario family farm for Norm Lamothe turned into a big move forward in crop scouting technology for Canadian farmers.

Lamothe left a 10-year career in the aviation industry to return to be the sixth generation on the family farm near Peterborough. At the encouragement of a neighbouring farmer, Lamothe bought his first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone in 2015. He had a small group of area farmers already signed up to have a block of acres viewed by the new technology and help share the investment risk.

"We quickly identified the opportunity for farmers to save money and increase their crop yields by mapping their fields to identify areas of stress," says Lamothe.

Word spread and Lamothe was soon looking to expand across Ontario when a chance meeting with David MacMillan took his fledgling UAV imagery business to much higher heights. MacMillan was with a mining company called Deveron, looking to expand into the drone business.

The two created Deveron UAS, a new Ontario-based company dedicated to UAV imagery in the agriculture sector across North America. With 15 pilots and their UAVs, the company is providing aerial crop scouting to farmers from Alberta to the Maritimes, and some parts of the U.S.

For the first time, growers can make in-season decisions about their crop by using UAV imaging.

"We can scout 100 acres in 20 minutes, providing more accurate information than just walking the rows because we see the entire field," says Lamothe. "We measure plant stress using multispectral imaging and are able to see things we just can't see with the naked eye."

Information from the UAV images arms on-the-ground agronomists and scouts to zero in on areas of higher plant stress to make recommendations and adjustments on fertility, pest and decision pressure, or even water usage.

The technology lends itself to variable rate fertilizer application, and that's where Lamothe says customers are seeing the biggest return on investment in corn and wheat.

"We fly a field, take an image and a prescription is written based on the images captured," he says.

The grower then applies nitrogen to fit just what's required for various areas of the field. In high value vegetable crops, the return on investment is similar for fertility, as well as detecting pest and disease infestations.

"The technology is proving its worth through increased yield and decreased input costs - because inputs are matched and used optimally to match the stresses in the field," says Lamothe.

Deveron has recently partnered with The Climate Corp to provide growers with a new option for how and where they store on-farm data generated by UAV imagery.

"Efficiency is going to be a necessity on farms as they get larger and personnel is more difficult to find and retain," says Lamothe. "UAV technology has a big role to play, providing insights to make decisions that will help us grow more food on less acres."



Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Published in Precision Ag
The food processing industry in Saskatchewan will benefit from the opening of the state-of-the-art Agri-Food Innovation Centre, a new facility operated by the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Inc. (Food Centre).

The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness celebrated the opening of this new $15.7 million facility, which provides fully integrated concept-to-commercialization services through applied research for agricultural products, product and process development, and incubation for entrepreneurs and agri-food processors.

In addition, he also announced two new investments totalling $417,500 for the Food Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada.

The first investment of $117,500, through the Western Diversification Program (WDP), will enable the Food Centre to purchase equipment to separate and isolate protein from alfalfa and split field peas on a pilot-scale level.

The second WDP investment of $300,000 will also help the Food Centre purchase additional equipment and develop commercial uses for western Canadian pulse starch by-products, left over from the protein separation process.

The Food Centre is the primary provider of food product development, technology transfer, commercialization and food safety training for Saskatchewan's food industry. It has been instrumental in developing hundreds of products, many of which have already been introduced to market. It is also an integral part of Saskatchewan's value-added food sector, particularly in development related to cereal grains, oilseeds, pulses and edible oils.

Canada's Innovation Agenda promotes clean growth, good jobs and higher living standards for the middle class. The investments announced today are an example of this vision in action.

"With support from the Government of Canada, the Agri-Food Innovation Centre will further position our industry to be strong leaders in innovation and technology for the food processing sector. The new investments announced today, coupled with the Food Centre's expertise in applied research and development, will pave the way for new food concepts in a changing market," said Dan Prefontaine, president, Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Inc.
Published in Corporate News
The University of Guelph (U of G) recently launched a new initiative to turn cutting-edge agri-food innovations into products and applications that will improve life and help grow the economy.

The announcement was made during an “innovation showcase” that featured leading-edge U of G agri-food projects and was attended by University, industry and government officials.

Accelerator Guelph will assist U of G researchers in commercializing their novel ideas and discoveries. It will help bolster U of G’s already strong reputation for ingenuity and inventiveness in agri-food, said Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research).

“The University of Guelph’s expertise and strength in agri-food innovation is unmatched,” Campbell said. “Our researchers have bold, ambitious ideas, and their work addresses gaps and helps solve problems while shaping the future of food and agriculture in Canada and beyond. They also promote industry collaboration and accelerating growth in the thriving agri-food sector.”

Campbell added that U of G’s innovation activities and goals “align, illustrate and enhance the incredible agri-food innovation supercluster that is Canada Food Nexus.” U of G is part of this collaboration of private sector firms, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations.

“The shared goal is fostering a culture of innovation and economic development in the agri-food sector, and positioning Canada as a world leader in food,” Campbell said.

Accelerator Guelph will help move such ideas to market, Campbell said. Modelled after some of the world’s top accelerator programs, its four-phase program will mentor U of G agri-food entrepreneurs with business planning, executive leadership training, financial and accounting expertise, and human resources management.

Accelerator Guelph will complement the successful Gryphon’s LAIRR (Leading to Accelerated Adoption of Innovative Research) program, in which U of G researchers pitch creative ideas for research commercialization to a panel of industry leaders. Winners receive up to $125,000 to support their proposals, and receive assistance from industry collaborators in Ontario’s agri-food and rural sectors.

This year, 15 projects will receive funding under the Gryphon’s LAAIR program. The winners were also announced and highlighted during the innovation showcase.

Examples are:
  • Engineering professor Michele Oliver heads a team developing a cost-effective seat cushion to reduce seat vibration in farming machinery. Mobile agricultural equipment is used in virtually all Ontario farms, but its use exposes the operator to whole-body vibration levels that can harm health. Oliver’s invention will lead to cost savings and improved health for operators.
  • Blockchain technology can help trace products through the food supply-chain, but using blockchain for food traceability faces a number of challenges. Computer science professor Rozita Dara and a team are looking at soybean traceability using blockchain, developing processes to collect, analyze and store data on soybeans while also understanding the legislative and stakeholder context.
  • Researchers in U of G’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC) made the world’s first compostable coffee pods and are now pursuing new innovations. Prof. Manjusri Misra is developing products for the greenhouse industry that will reduce manual labour in growing tomatoes and other crops. Prof. Amar Mohanty is investigating the use of low-value agricultural residues to develop lightweight biocomposite products for the automotive industry.
“The diversity of these projects is a testament to the breadth and depth of our expertise in agri-food,” Campbell said. “They will help expand the commercial and societal impact of U of G innovations.”

Gryphon’s LAIRR is funded through the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs – U of G partnership and Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
Published in Corporate News
Vast amounts of data are being collected on Canada's farms through the advent of precision agriculture technology and the Internet of Things (IOT).

Many types of tools, equipment and devices gather data on everything from crop yields to how many steps an animal takes in a day. However, much of that data is underutilized because it's collected by systems that don't or can't communicate with each other.

The need for better decision-making on farms through better data use resulted in Ontario Precision Agri-Food (OPAF), a partnership of agricultural organizations led by Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT) that's developing an open agri-food innovation platform to connect and share data.

The goal, according to lead director Dr. Karen Hand of Precision Strategic Solutions, is getting data, wherever it exists (both data repositories in industry or government and data generated by countless sensors) so it can be used to help advance important food production issues like food safety, traceability and plant and animal disease surveillance.

For example, information about the prevalence and control of insect pests like cutworms that damage soybean crops lies with many different people and organizations, including university and government researchers, crop advisors, input suppliers and farmers.

"There is no single spot where all of the information about a particular pest can be accessed in a robust, science-based system and used in decision-making and that's where OPAF's platform will help," Hand says.

Pilot projects are underway with Ontario's grain, dairy and poultry producers to identify their needs in areas like crop protection, sustainability and food safety and how OPAF can provide data-driven solutions to benefit farmers.

"We sit down with farmers, advisors, associations, government and researchers to find out what data they have, where they exist and if we were able to connect them, what value or benefit that would offer participants - either specific to the commodity they are producing or on larger food-related issues such as food safety or impact on trade," she explains.

And OPAF's efforts are gaining global recognition. Earlier this year, Internet of Food and Farm 2020, a large project in the European Union exploring the potential of IOT technologies of European food and farming, recognized OPAF as one of three global projects to collaborate with.

"This is going to be changing the face of data enablement in Canada and contributing globally," says Tyler Whale of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT). "We are creating a platform that is the base of something new, and although we are piloting this in Ontario, it will be available nationwide to those who want to use it."

OPAF partners include OAFT, University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, Niagara College, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Livestock Research Innovation Corporation, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Farm Credit Canada, Ontario Agri-Business Association, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, and Golden Horseshoe Farm and Food Alliance.

This project was funded by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists with GF2 delivery in Ontario.
Published in Precision Ag
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