News
The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association has chosen to keep its leadership intact for the next year.
100,000 marijuana plants arrived at Vancouver International Airport Saturday to be cultivated in a 1.3 million square foot network of greenhouses in Langley, B.C.
Cannabis Wheaton Income Corp. recently announced a joint venture with greenhouse builder and operator Peter Quiring. Under their newly formed subsidiary GreenhouseCo, the team aims to build a 1.4 million square foot greenhouse for cannabis cultivation in Leamington, Ontario.
Bayer plans to sell its global vegetable seeds business and allow BASF exclusive access to its digital farming data in an effort to address EU antitrust concerns over its $63.5 billion purchase of Monsanto.
There’s a new online resource filled with nutritional benchmarks and sampling procedures for floriculture crops.
Strawberry plants replaced cucumbers in a Leamington greenhouse this summer when DelFrescoPure made a $15-million switch to grow and sell fresh strawberries through the winter.
An Alberta Agriculture and Forestry specialist says commercial greenhouses in Alberta should be able to benefit from some new research into construction materials and greenhouse design. “Greenhouses have traditionally been energy intensive operations, but with increasing scrutiny and slowly shrinking margins, producers need to find ways of trimming costs wherever possible,” says Dustin Morton, commercial horticulture specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
We’re at one of those watershed moments that come along every so often in our industry. Examples include development of the Venlo style glasshouse, the high-wire crop training method, the switch from soil to hydroponics, using carbon dioxide to increase crop growth, commercial application of biocontrols, and the use of bees for tomato pollination.
For greenhouse operators in British Columbia and Alberta, deadlines to apply for greenhouse carbon rebates in both provinces are fast approaching.
Already coping with long-standing challenges such as foreign competition and thinning margins, greenhouse growers are facing added pressure from the rise of marijuana as a legal, commercial crop because it creates more competition for horticultural talent and higher profitability expectations for financing.

Michael DeGiglio, Village Farms' chief executive warns, however, that picking off growers with higher pay will lead to a "scenario of disaster" in the future when cannabis profits may not be so lush. Both cannabis companies and traditional greenhouse growers have said they are being squeezed, for example, from Ontario's 21-per-cent pay jump to $14 an hour. | READ MORE
Somewhere in Germany, there’s a robotic arm being created to harvest cucumbers.

Meant for pickling, these cucumbers are typically hand plucked by seasonal workers who lie on the winged extensions of a machine known as a “cucumber flyer”.

With rising costs and the introduction of a minimum wage in Germany, much of the cucumber farming has begun moving out to Eastern Europe and India. In an effort to maintain the economic viability of cucumber farming, experts at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK are developing a lightweight, cost-effective solution to an otherwise labour-intensive and uneconomical harvest process.

Partnering with the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy in Germany and the CSIC-UPM Centre for Automation and Robotics (CAR) in Spain, researchers aim to develop a robotic arm that can distinguish ripe cucumbers from the surrounding greenery, then use two gripper arms to gently pick and store them without pulling the crop from the soil.

In other words, it needs to see, touch and harvest the crop like a human.

Researchers are looking into multispectral cameras and intelligent image processing to help the robot arm “see” the cucumbers. Currently, this camera system can help it locate approximately 95 percent of the cucumbers. Now all it needs to do is determine ripeness. Three gripper prototypes are also being developed.

Drawing on their previous work on a robotic control system for industrial assembly, researchers are coming up with an intelligent system to mimic human behaviour.

As Dr. Dragoljub Surdilovic, a scientist at Fraunhofer IPK, explains in their news release, “The robot can, for example, push leaves to the side using symmetrical or asymmetrical movements, or congruent and incongruent movements. As a result, it can automatically change directions on the fly to approach and then grasp a cucumber.”

Project researchers put the system to a field test last July. They are now working on additional tests in a greenhouse setting.

The project was unveiled at Agritechnica last November, one of the world’s largest trade fairs for agricultural technology.

Columbus, OH – Dümmen Orange launches the search for candidates in the second year of the Dr. P. Allen Hammer Scholarship.

Named for Dr. P. Allen Hammer and his contributions to the floriculture industry, the scholarship extends Dr. Hammer’s legacy by supporting the next generation of floriculture students.

The $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to one undergraduate student studying horticulture or floriculture at an accredited institution in Canada or the US. Candidates must demonstrate accomplishments in horticulture in one or more of the following areas: academic achievement, community involvement, or leadership.


The recipient will be announced in July during Cultivate.

Last year’s recipient, Michael Del Valle Jr., is a recent horticultural graduate at the University of Georgia. Michael was selected for his academic performance, floriculture experience, community involvement and career goals, all of which aligned with the intent of the scholarship. Upon graduating, he began working at the Atlanta Botanical Garden as an Assistant Horticulturist, and dreams of starting his own cut flower farm.

Applications for the 2018 award are due on June 15.

For more information, click here.



About Dr. P. Allen Hammer

Dr. P. Allen Hammer served the floriculture industry through extension and research at Purdue University from 1973-2006, and at Dümmen Orange from 2006-present. At Purdue, he worked with Indiana growers to solve greenhouse production problems and to provide advice on floriculture issues. Dr. Hammer was the lead scientist on the National Poinsettia Trial, a joint effort between Purdue University, North Carolina State University, and the University of Florida, and he serves on the Board of Directors of the Fred C. Gloeckner Foundation, which provides research grants to university floriculture researchers. Dr. Hammer has trained outstanding graduate students who now hold key positions in floriculture at universities and in the private sector.

Following retirement from Purdue, Dr. Hammer continued to contribute to floriculture through product development and technical support as a member of the Dümmen Orange, North America team. Dr. Hammer works with growers across North America helping to optimize their production practices, troubleshoot, and align the optimal Dümmen Orange product for their programs.
Abbotsford, BC – Van Belle Nursery took home not one, but two awards at the International Grower of the Year (IGOTY) Awards this year.

They were awarded Gold in the Young Plants category and Silver in Finished Plants - the first to win multiple categories in a single year.

Hosted by the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) in Essen, Germany, the annual ceremony has recognized exceptional achievements in the horticultural industry since 2009. It takes place during IPM Essen, one of the world’s leading trade fairs for horticulture.

“We are truly honoured to win these awards despite fierce competition from very deserving nominees,” says President, Dave Van Belle. “It’s a humbling experience, and I have to say that we couldn’t have done it without the dedication of our incredible team.”

The British Columbia-based wholesale grower and propagator of ornamental plants was among eight other finalists from the Netherlands, Columbia, Israel and China.


Learn more about the awards at aiph.org/groweroftheyear/

For more on Van Belle Nursery, visit vanbelle.com

University of Colorado Boulder has received a $2.45 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a semi-translucent film that splits incoming sunlight into photosynthetically efficient light.

Under normal conditions, plants only use around 50 percent of incoming sunlight for photosynthesis while the remaining half goes unused.

This cost-efficient, greenhouse material will split incoming light and convert the rays from less-desired green wavelengths into more desirable red wavelengths, with no added electricity consumption. The inefficient infrared light can be redirected to power water purification. | READ MORE
While the Royal City was in a deep freeze over the Christmas holidays, former Guelph resident Matthew Bamsey was enjoying sunny skies and comparatively warm temperatures in Antarctica, where he has been working to set up the EDEN ISS greenhouse.

The multi-year project, which involves a consortium of 14 international partners, aims to test technologies that could be used to grow food in a harsh environment, simulating what it would be like to grow food, including strawberries, in space. | READ MORE
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