Growing smarter and for longer in the North
Added on 09 March 2023
Can technology help alleviate labour and climate challenges facing Northern Ontario’s horticultural sector?
Horticulture is a niche area within Northern Ontario’s agriculture industry, largely because of the limitations presented by climate and labour, according to Daniel Bath, a research scientist in horticultural innovation at the St. Catharines-based research centre.
“Generally, there’s not much horticulture happening relative to the rest of the agriculture activities, because it’s cold here,” Bath said. “There’s many reasons, of course, but that’s the big one.”
Bath presented the findings of NOFIA-Vineland research study during the two-day Northern Ontario Ag Conference, hosted by NOFIA in Sudbury Feb. 15-16 at the Holiday Inn.
In operation as a research station since 1904, the work done at the Vineland Research & Innovation Centre is multi-faceted. Scientists there cultivate new plant varieties, create new ag technologies using robotics and artificial intelligence, perform market research for clients, develop new approaches to greenhouse growing, and search for alternatives to pesticides and pest control.
Photo: The Paperpot Company, which is based in the U.S., manufactures a transplanting machine that organizes plants into a single line and plants them in a row. Paperpot Company photo.