Growing smarter and for longer in the North

Growing smarter and for longer in the North

Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance teams up with research centre on finding viable ag alternatives.

Can technology help alleviate labour and climate challenges facing Northern Ontario’s horticultural sector? 

That’s the question the Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance (NOFIA) set out to answer during a year-long research project in conjunction with the Vineland Research & Innovation Centre.

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.

Continue reading.

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.



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