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IPM in potted mums can be challenging at times, but Ontario has lots of strategies for  thrips control in this crop.

New to a thrips biological control program for  chrysanthemums, or just need a refresher on the most effective strategies currently being used in the industry?  Then watching the Greenhouse Canada Webinar, “Tips for Thrips Control: From Propagation to Pocketbook” is a good place to start.

Keep reading for the webinar link and some chrsysanthemum IPM tips for 2018.

This Webinar, recorded in 2016, details an IPM program for western flower thrips over an entire mum cycle, from planning to sale.  Different IPM strategies are used at different times to optimize control and keep costs down.

Although we use potted mums as an example here, these strategies can serve as scaffolding for a thrips management program in other floriculture crops.

Webinar content was assimilated from industry experts throughout Ontario.

The link to this webinar can be reached here.  All that’s required is registration with an email address to view the presentation.

And now, a few IPM tips and updates for the 2018 potted-mum season:

  • Dipping cuttings upon receipt in products like landscape oil can be a highly effective way to minimize thrips in your crop.  However, if you’re never tried this technique before, or are growing new varieties, make sure to do a small test batch.  Phytotoxicity CAN occur, and can be affected by things like the time in the dip solution and inadequate misting/rinsing after.  Read the label carefully and check out this video on proper dipping technique.
  • Note that Garden Mums tend NOT to tolerate oil dips well. 
  • In general, it seems to be a “low” thrips year for many growers (so far, anyways!).  If you’re seeing lower thrips counts than normal on your sticky cards, you may be able to reduce some of your biocontrol inputs to save costs.  Perhaps lower the rate or frequency of your nematode applications, or reduce applications of Beauveria products.  Of course, careful monitoring will be needed so you can jump back up to full gear if thrips numbers start to swell.  Have an action plan prepared ahead of time, just in case.
  • Though the thrips might be lower, HIGHER rates of spider mites have been seen on mum cuttings this year.  For information regarding their control, see this post.
  • Good aphid control can be achieved with drenches of Beleaf (flonicamid), but phytotoxicity has been seen in Ontario in certain varieties of mums.  See this post for details.
  • Look for an upcoming post on the effectiveness of mass trapping and how it can potentially eliminate 1 Million thrips from your greenhouse this summer!
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Navigating the guidelines for exporting plant material out of a Japanese Beetle (JB) zone such as Ontario can be tricky business, especially with upcoming changes to the Greenhouse-Grown Plant Certification Program (GCP; formerly CGCP).

Also not helping is the general lack of information out there regarding proper timing of JB control products. For example, did you know that NO products are considered effective between May 15 and June 15?  This could create problems if you’re  shipping outside Ontario in the next month and haven’t treated yet.

To make things easier, I’ve created a treatment “decision tree” and a JB product “cheat sheet” for growers of greenhouse ornamentals.

JB as a “Greenhouse” Pest: Do I Need to Treat?

Japanese beetle are often thought of more as nursery crop or turf pests.  But the reality is they have a LARGE host range, feeding on more than 300 plant species,.  Greenhouse-grown ornamentals are also susceptible if they get exposed to the outdoors when adult JB are around.

So, if your plants have spent ANY time outside during the flight period of this JB(June 15-Sept 30), or have been in contact with plants that were, the CFIA needs you to spray if you’re planning on shipping outside of Ontario.  

Note that plants grown or kept briefly in a cravo are considered to have been “outside”.   Better safe than sorry is the mantra here.

This decision making tree was developed by OMAFRA staff in consultation with CFIA advisors. (Of course, always consult your specific CFIA inspector):

Decision tree for whether you need to spray for JB or not if you’re shipping product outside Ontario.  Remember, “outside” can also mean grown in a cravo.

Knowing WHAT to use:

This part is relatively simple, given that only THREE active ingredients are currently approved by the PMRA for Japanese beetle control in Canada.  These are (with links to their current labels):

NO other exceptions to this are allowed, as these are the only proven actives against this restricted pest.

Knowing WHEN to use it:

This part can be a bit trickier, for several reasons:

1.Generally speaking, pesticides are less effective against immobile insect stages.  This is either because they aren’t ingesting any of the active ingredient or because they don’t have the right receptors. For JB, our registered, soil applied, pesticides have no effect against the pupal and egg stages.  Thus, for the window between May 15 and June 15, no pesticide will be effective, and you’ll just be wasting your 1 allowable application for Acelepryn or Intercept.

Approximate life cycle of the Japanese beetle in Ontario, with corresponding application timings for registered products.  Not all products are effective at all life stages.  NO registered products are effective in the window between May 15 and June 15, when JB are in the pupal, adult, or egg stage.

2. Some pesticides are only effective on smaller larvae of JB, meaning they have a much smaller application window.  Intercept, specifically, will not control the older, bigger larval stages of JB, so it must be applied when 1st instar larvae are present.

3. Some products have much shorter residual times than others.  Because Lorsban and Dursban only persist in the soil or media for a relatively short time, they can only be applied curatively, close to shipping, to kill any larvae that might be present.  Alternatively, Acelepryn and Intercept have long residual times, meaning that they can be applied preventively once JB adults start flying, and will  offer protection against any young JB larvae that hatch out in the soil.

This timing application chart was developed by OMAFRA staff in consultation with CFIA advisors to help remove any “interpretations” surrounding JB treatments.  If these guidelines are understood and followed each year,  and you work closely with your CFIA inspector, then no shipping problems should be encountered.

Printable Resources:

Both the “JB Decision Flow Chart” and the “JB Control Timing Chart” are meant to be downloaded and printed (see files below) for easier reading.  These fit nicely onto a regular 8X11 page to decorate your office with and refer to regularly.

JB Spray Decision Tree and Control Timing Chart 2018_PDF VERSION

JB Spray Decision Tree and Control Timing Chart 2018_PPT VERSION

You can also find the most recent information regarding the CCP program in the document below. Dr. Jeanine West at Flowers Canada GOntario (jeanine@fco.ca) is a great resource for any questions surrounding this new program.

D-16-02 GCP United States_Canada Green house-Grown Plant Certification Program

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Weekly-mum producers have seen higher-than-normal spider mite levels coming in on cuttings from the U.S. recently.  This might impact seasonal potted-mum growers as well.

Here’s some tips and tricks on two spotted spider mite  control within a chrysanthemum IPM program.

Source of the Problem:

13 batches of mums were washed 1-day post receipt and 7 days post receipt to count the number of pests hatching from imported plant material.

We’ve long known that spider mite problems in floriculture crops often arrive from imported plant material from from the U.S., including California and Florida.  The above graph (courtesy of the  Buitenhuis Lab, VRIC) demonstrates that up to 92% of chrysanthemum cutting batches received can be infested with either spider mites, thrips, or both (data collected in 2015)

Typically, spider mite densities seem to range between 5-20 mites/100 cuttings, but current observations suggest this year’s pressure to be even higher.

Preventing a Problem:

Although we likely can’t prevent the spider mites from coming in the door, we CAN help reduce their numbers immediately.

Dipping cuttings in “softer” chemicals, such as oil or soap can be a reliable way to reduce certain pests from entering your greenhouse without unnecessary pesticide residues that can affect biocontrol programs.

Dipping mum cuttings in low-risk chemicals has become a popular method to reduce initial pest populations on mums in Ontario in recent years.  To reduce thrips adults and larvae on plant material, cuttings can be dipped in 0.5% landscape oil.  Always check the label for more information on how to limit phytotoxicity. The most current label can be found here  (click on the registration number).  Also, watch this video on proper dipping technique.

Although we don’t yet have specific data on the ability of oil dips to reduce spider mite  populations, this method may kill a significant of adult and/or nymphal mites, along with thrips. (Or at the very least, will help reduce your thrips issues so you can concentrate on those darn spider mites!).

In terms of preventative biocontrol agents,  Neoseiulus fallacis and Neoseiulus californicus are good options.  Both can subsist on low levels of spider mites, and supplement their diet with other prey or pollen.  Fallacis or Californicus can be applied as soon as the misting phase is complete.  Given the high mite pressures this year, you may want to think about adding this into your program.

Reigning in a Problem: Bios are Best

Once spider mites are detected, Phytoseiulus persimilis, a specialized spider mite predator, should ALWAYS be the first thing you reach for. 

Persimilis (left; orange) eat around 7 adult or 20 spider mite eggs (right) per day, and can reproduce more quickly than pest populations. Photo courtesy of BugsforBugs.com

Persimilis feeds on ALL stages of spider mite, are quite cost-effective, and can clean up a problem quickly (even a nasty outbreak).   Release rates range from 1–4 mites per ft2 per week until the situation is under control. Initiate releases only once spider mite populations are detected, since the only downside of this bio is that it can’t survive long in the absence of spider mites.  

What’s the best way to detect spider mites early?  By the time the characteristic “bronzing” or webbing appear, your spider mite problem is usually larger than you think.  Young colonies rarely show these signs.

Spider mite feedings results in light stippling or flecking at first; leaves can quickly turned “bronzed” looking and fall off the plant. 

Your best options are to have employees check a random sample of cuttings for mites as they come in the door, and frequently tap plants onto a white sheet to check for live mites.  Two spotted spider mites are easy to distinguish from beneficial mites with just the use of a 10x hand lens.

Although Persimilis works great this time of year, it prefers conditions between 20-28ºC and 75% RH. When temperatures climb to 30ºC, P. persimilis tends to seek shelter, and cannot keep-up with the reproductive capacity of TTSM.  If spider mites are still an issue, you can also switch to N. californicus, which does better at higher temps and lower humidy.

Reigning in a Problem: Chemical options

We also have a LOT of chemical control products registered for spider mites.  Choices  will likely depend the severity of the problem, how close to shipping you are (do you have TIME for Persimilis to work?) and whether you’re using other bios for management of  other mum pests.  Products with long residuals (like Avid and Pylon) should be avoided if natural enemies are a big part of your general IPM program.  Generally, Vendex and horticultural oils are your “softest” pesticide choices, but re-application will likely be necessary.

table of registered products for floriculture use in Ontario can be downloaded below (products are listed alphabetically by pest issue). This table has information like potential phytotoxicity risks  and compatibility with natural enemies to help make your choices for pest control, including spider mites, easier.

REGISTERED Insecticides 2016_OMAFRA_2.0

Considerations BEFORE you spray:

Controlling spider mites with pesticides alone can be a challenging task.  Here are some things you should think about before reaching for the pesticide applicator.

  • Most products registered for spider mite control are NOT compatible with predatory mites for thrips .  Expect to make re-releases of predatory mites after pesticide applications.  Sachets are unlikely to protect predatory mites from pesticide effects unless applied as a drench.
  • Products like Avid and Pylon are also highly toxic to parasitoids (e.g. Encarsia, Diglyphus, and Aphidius species) used in greenhouse biocontrol.  Avoid their use, especially if leafminer is a concern in your greenhouse, since Diglyphus can  take months to re-establish once these chemicals are applied.
  • Spider mites can develop insecticide resistance rapidly. So, if you are relying on pesticides for control, make sure to rotate between chemical classes (i.e. Forbid and Kontos are both under class 23, and would NOT be good choices for back to back applications).  Cross resistance between chemicals is also a possibility.
  • Most insecticides/miticides will not kill the egg stage, so two applications 7-14
    days apart may be necessary, depending on pesticides to be used.
  • A spreader-sticker or wetting agent will improve the effectiveness of most miticides, particularly on waxy leafed plants. However, the possibility of
    phytotoxicity may increase, so spray a small area before doing any large-scale applications.
Other Tips, Tricks and Random Facts:
  • Monitor for TTSM more closely in areas of the greenhouse that are warmer and drier, since spider mites thrive in high temperatures and low humidity.  This includes around heating pipes, south-facing walls and open vents/doorways.
  • Always confirm spider mite infestations using a hand lens: in plants such as ivy geranium, damage caused by thrips feeding and edema can look similar to damage caused by twospotted spider mites. No point spraying if you don’t need to.
  • Over-fertililized  plants can be more susceptible to twospotted spider mite.  Fertilizers promote succulent new growth which is more attractive.  Many ornamental plants are over-fertilized in the greenhouse, so check your rates and see if you can back off.
  • Twospotted spider mite populations may be higher in greenhouses that use only drip irrigation, since this keeps foliage dry (which spider mites like!). The use of occasional overhead irrigation will wash mites off plants.
  • Spider mites are easily transferred around the greenhouse on clothing. If you have a hot spot, mark it with flags and make sure workers always visit this area last
  • Bush beans can be an effective indicator plant for low spider mite infestations, as they show damage easily.   They can also act as trap plants, attracting spider mites away from your crop.  More about this trap plant method can be found here.
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ONfloriculture | The latest Floriculture.. by Chevonne Carlow, Greenhouse Floricu.. - 1M ago

Oedema on the young leaves in this begonia basket.

Oedema, that physiological disorder that appears during periods of low light and high humidity.  There’s been quite a bit of it reported in Ontario greenhouses this spring, and unfortunately it’s related to the long rainy (or snowy!) spring we’ve been having.  If you’ve noticed salt-like crystals, odd tumour-like growths or water-soaked spots on either side of your plant leaves this disorder might be the culprit.

The disorder affects a wide variety of greenhouse ornamentals.  It’s usually noticed in spring crops like sweet potato vine (ipomea), geranium, begonia and/or petunia. Tropical plants and succulents are also susceptible as are veggie transplants like peppers and tomatoes. The damage can look similar to thrip or spider-mite feeding damage, but scouting will typically reveal low numbers of these pests (or you may have more than one problem!).

High humidity makes it hard for the plant to transpire, allowing water to collect in leaf tissues.

Causes: Humidity and Low Light Levels

If the relative humidity is high in the greenhouse, the plant has a hard time transpiring.  A well-irrigated plant in this environment will have roots that readily take up water, and leaves that cannot release it since the air around the plant is already full of water.  Humidity is related to temperature, so this can also happen when the media the plant is grown in is warm and wet, and the air surrounding the plant is cooler.

Both of these are a product of the type of weather we’ve been dealing with so far this spring. The water eventually pools in leaf tissue giving a swollen appearance until cells become either malformed (bumpy/bubbly or a crusty salt-like appearance) or the area around them collapses leaving a necrotic spot.  Oedema may be seen the top or bottom of affected leaves.  The impact of humidity on leaves is species specific, meaning that certain plants are more susceptible to this type of damage.

Oedema is present on the top (as necrotic spots) and bottom (as malformed “bumpy” areas of growth) of this eggplant leaf.

Treatment: Patience and…

  • Cut back on irrigation
  • Use air circulating fans and strategic venting to remove some of the humidity
  • Cross your fingers and hope for some sun

Lucky for us, the forecast shows warmer weather with some sun this weekend and into next week, so we should see some relief.  Remember that new growth is typically fine once the source of the problem has been corrected.  The new leaves will usually cover the damaged growth, but damaged older leaves can be removed if needed.

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The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence program recognizes outstanding agriculture and agri-food related innovators, including producers, processors, and agri-food organizations.  Awards of up to $75,000 are available.  Nominate someone you know now!

The objectives of the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence Program are to recognize and encourage innovators in the agri-food sector, foster farm-level innovation, and raise awareness about the importance of agri-food innovation and its impact on the Ontario economy.

Implemented some good ideas on your farm that foster innovation and economic development?  See if you’re eligible for a Premier’s Award!

Examples of innovation areas include, but are not limited to:
  • improved business practices
  • response to consumer demands (e.g. new production and processing methods, product development)
  • response to expanding consumer tastes (e.g. locally-grown and produced world foods)
  • collaborations (strategic alliances, cross-sector partnerships)
  • environmental stewardship
  • energy and bio-economy
  • health and safety
  • food safety and traceability
  • education and marketing of the agriculture and food industry to society
Applying For Awards:

Information on eligibility, the application process, and selection criteria can be found in the Premier Awards Guidebook.

Submit your application by 11:59 p.m. on May 25, 2018 to be eligible for a chance to receive one of the following awards:

  • Premier’s Award – one, $75,000 award
  • Minister’s Award – one, $50,000 award
  • Leaders in Innovation Award – three, $25,000 awards
  • Provincial award – 45 – $5,000 awards

To read about the more than 575 innovation projects that have been recognized since the program started in 2006 visit Agri-Food Innovation.

For more information, contact: Darlene Harrietha
Premier’s Award Program Analyst
Email: darlene.harrietha@ontario.ca
Phone: 519-826-4847

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Although native bees and honeybees may just be starting to gather strength and are beginning to fly outside, other “B’s” have been of growing concern in the greenhouse for some time now.

These include common spring bedding crop problems like Botrytis cinera (aka grey mold), Broad mites, and leaf burn (from a variety of causes).

Keep reading for tips on how to manage these issues during this time of year.

Broad Mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus):

This is the time of year when Broad Mite  populations start to build and become noticeable. They like to attack crops like New Guinea impatiens, torenia, begonias, exacum, ipomea, mandivilla and gerbera.

Given their small size (0.2 mm), spotting this mite is near impossible with just a hand lens.  Damage is usually the first sign, so susceptible crops should be walked and inspected regularly.  Damage can occur at very low mite densities, and often looks like this:

Broad mite damage (seen above) can often be confused with Boron deficiency (another “B”!), herbicide injury, or physiological disorders, so have it’s presence confirmed by an IPM specialist.

Once found, Broad mite can be effectively treated with biological control.   I’ve seen high levels of N. cucumeris (applied as a weekly broadcast) do an excellent job of surpressing this pest.  Other mites species can also work.   For more details on broad mite biocontrol see these articles from Michigan State Extension and Dr. Rose Buitenhuis. Note that the damage caused by broad mite feeding may take a few weeks to disappear once they’re under control.

For broad mite, there are few effective miticides.  Both Avid (abamectin) and Forbid (spiromesifen) have translaminar activity, meaning complete contact with all mites isn’t necessary (yay).  However, BOTH chemicals are also toxic to predatory mites (boo).   Forbid is also tricky when it comes to phytotoxicity (always read the label).  So, unless you’ve got a major problem going, these products may be best used for hot spots or as clean-up applications before shipping.

Botrytis cinera (AKA Grey Mold):

One of the most common and destructive diseases of greenhouse crops, outbreaks usually follow periods of cool, damp, cloudy weather. Unfortunately, Botrytis cinerea has an extremely wide host range.  Flowers with thick succulent petals, such as begonias, peonies and geraniums, are particularly susceptible. The disease also commonly affects African violet, dahlias, pansy, snapdragon, zinnia, chrysanthemum, and others.

Initial Botrytis infection generally looks like large, tan/grey, water-soaked spots.

Botrytis can cause different symptoms on different plants, so you may need to confirm your diagnosis by sending samples to Guelph Lab Services.

However, Botrytis infection usually begins as brown to gray circular spots that appear “water-soaked“. Later, tan to gray fuzzy mold develops on rotted tissue under humid conditions.

Generally, Botrytis attacks tender tissues (flower petals, buds, or seedlings), weakened ,or aging tissues.  Actively growing tissues (e.g. healthy leaves) are seldom invaded, unless infected tissue touches them directly.

Botrytis thrives on humidity: maintain humidity below 85 percent by (a) forced circulation or (b) an increased amount of heat.  Proper bench spacing is also essential in reducing canopy humidity.

Unfortunately, most chemicals for Botrytis control are preventative.  They’ll help control the spread of the disease, but are unlikely to cure it once it happens (which is why cultural controls, like air circulation, are so important here).  If you do apply chemicals, remember to rotate chemical classes, as Botrytis is highly adept at developing resistance.

For a list of effective products, see my previous post on Botrytis here.

Types of Burn:

We’ll stick to environmental “burn” in this post and leave an application damage discussion for another time.  The climate inside the greenhouse in the spring can be less than idea for plant growth – especially if we get a stretch of grey rainy days. This causes lots of issues that can be mistaken for diseases, pests or even viruses.  Generally speaking, growers often report symptoms like stunting, leaf cupping or distortion and burn along the leaf edges.

A closeup view shows malformed plant cells due to humidity issues in the greenhouse. In the case of this tropical, the growing media was warm and wet, and the air in the greenhouse had a high RH%.

Humidity issues: The weather conditions outside and the humidity inside the greenhouse in the spring can be a recipe for disaster. When the relative humidity in the greenhouse is high, plants have a hard time transpiring. Their roots actively take up water, but their leaves cannot release it since the air around the plant is already very humid.  Humidity is related to temperature, so this can also happen when the media the plant is grown in is warm and wet, and the air surrounding the plant is cooler. In the case of oedema, water pools in leaf tissue until cells become malformed or the area around them collapses leaving a necrotic spot which can look like burn on the top or underside of leaves.  Look for symptoms across a wide area of plants, more information can be found in previous blogs posts here.

Sulfur dioxide from an improperly vented heating unit caused this damage on petunia.

Improperly vented heaters: Spring brings warmer days with cool nights, meaning the heat is still on in the greenhouse.  If you use heating units in the greenhouse that are not properly vented, you run the risk of burn from impurities such as carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and ethylene (C2H4) . Leaf curling and flower drop can be symptoms of ethylene damage, while leaf edge burn and chlorotic spots are symptoms of sulfur dioxide damage. For more information on how to detect this damage and prevent it from happening again, see our previous blog posts on this topic here.

One time issues (aka something went wrong and I don’t know what it was): This type of burn can be frustrating because you can do everything right and it still might happen! Damage causing “events”, usually are noticed after the fact, and generally show up on leaves of the same age.  For example, the damage might look worst on leaves that were just developing a few weeks ago and be less apparent on new growth.  In order to help solve mysteries of this kind, it’s a good idea to keep track of issues (even small ones) as they can compound resulting in the damage.  You may not be able to prevent this, but understanding what happened is a good reminder for what conditions to avoid in seasons to come.  Sometimes damage from one-time events like humidity issues, cold stress or fertilizer burn can be overcome as the plant fills out and covers the damage on older growth, so consider the options available to you before jumping into panic mode.

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Starting on April 3, 2018, producers, processors, and other businesses can apply for cost-share funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership .

Similar to previous programs (such as Growing Forward 2), this is a new five-year commitment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments that will support Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors.

Keep reading for more information on this program, or talk to your local OMAFRA or OSCIA representative.

Under the new CAPS programming, businesses can apply for funding to support projects in three key priority areas.  Some examples relevant to greenhouse floriculture operations are given below (but are by no means exclusive!).

1. Economic development

Examples for greenhouses would include novel upgrades to technology or equipment that improve labour productivity, or developing new marketing plans to expand sales.

2. Environmental stewardship

Specifically, to enhance water quality and soil health.  Projects that focus on responsible water and nutrient management through  nutrient recovery systems would be eligible.

3. Protection and assurance

This stream is designed to protect the overall health of plants and animals in our agricultural systems. Here, projects like adding screening to prevent movement of pests into your greenhouse,or adding an isolation area for high-risk, imported plant material would be eligible.

More Information

The current application window is open from April 3 to May 8, 2018. Program details, including how to apply, program guides and application forms are now available online at: ontario.ca/agpartnership.

In-person, introductory information sessions on the program are also being held now.  For Niagara greenhouse crop producers, the closest available session is at  Vineland Station (the OMAFRA building) on April 16th at 7pm.  (See the schedule for additional sessions or sessions in YOUR area).

Can’t attend an in-person session?  Sign up for a webinar here (click on “upcoming”).

Additionally, for many of the activities funded under CAPS, growers must attend a Biosecurity Workshop to be eligible.  Ten biosecurity workshops are now scheduled on OSCIA website. Most of the workshops are half-day. Find them here.

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Just a friendly reminder that the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre’s survey on pest management concerns and needs in the Canadian greenhouse industry needs to be filled out by this Friday (April 6).

This survey guides applied research and helps set industry priorities, which is why your input is so important.

What happens if you don’t fill it out?  

One of the lovey scientists from VRIC is likely going to call you, that’s what.  And if you’re anything like me, I’d MUCH rather fill out an online form when it’s convenient for ME, rather than take the time to go over questions on the phone.

To take the survey, click back to the original blog post here, and follow the instructions.

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We need to pick your brain!

Let’s face it; it can feel like there’s never enough time in the day.  Extra tasks (even those that only take a few minutes) can seem impossible to squeeze in.  Especially this time of year.

But some tasks that seem annoying now can have a big payoff in the future. Because if researchers, extension agents and industry groups know exactly what you need to be successful, we can help make these things a reality.

The Vineland Research and Innovation Centre has recently taken up the rather thankless job of conducting a survey on pest management implementation and needs in the greenhouse industry.

Why is this a necessary evil? Because it gives them (and us) information on:

  • Pests to focus research on
  • Where pest management dollars are being spent, and where programs can be refined
  • Pest management needs in the industry (here’s your chance to indicate specific pesticides or bios you’d like to see available!)
  • How best to reach growers with new information

I encourage you all to click “Read More” on this blog post and follow the link to the survey BEFORE April 6, 2018.  Below I have detailed the kinds of information you’ll need at your fingertips to help make taking it go a bit more smoothly.

The survey will take approximately 15 min to complete (I’ve walked through it confirm this.  I took it – with made up answers – in about 10 min). Note: if you need to put it on hold if something else comes up, no worries! It will save your place!

Please take the survey by clicking here .

If this link doesn’t work for you then copy the following web address into your browser: http://remote.vinelandontario.ca:8080/eq/r1/fspnu

The kind of information collected in the most recent survey (back in 2014) can be found on the Greenhouse Canada website under “Now Putting the Bios in Charge” by Ashley Summerfield, VRIC.

Information you’ll need on hand:

  • Approximate size of your greenhouse
  • A general idea of how you spend your pest management budget (e.g. % spent on biocontrol, pesticides, trapping, consultants, other) for insects AND diseases (separately)
  • The fungicides and microbial products you regularly use
  • Estimated  total operational input costs per unit (e.g. all inputs in $’s per pot or sq. ft) for your main crop only (optional question)
  • Estimated costs per unit of your pest management program for both insects and diseases (optional question) 
  • estimated losses (in %) in your main crop due to disease

And that’s it!  I found the whole thing pretty painless, so I hope you’ll all be encourage to participate!

If you want to know how this information will be shared by the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre once it’s complied, take a look at this Greenhouse Canada article on a previous survey in 2014.

Questions can be directed to:

Rose Buitenhuis, PhD
RESEARCH SCIENTIST BIOLOGICAL CONTROL
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You might have heard that a new cost-share program, GreenON Agriculture was announced last week.  This program is designed to help Ontario farm businesses reduce their carbon footprint, and greenhouses are eligible!

This program will be of interest to greenhouse operators who are concerned about rising energy costs, and want to make their operations more energy-efficient.

The program is being delivered in two streams, only one of which is currently active.  The retrofit stream is designed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency in greenhouses.  You could be eligible for 35% cost-share, up to a maximum of $500,000 over the life of the program.  There is no cap on the number of projects that can be undertaken under this cap, so you could complete one large project or several smaller projects depending on your business needs.  The innovation stream (to be delivered at a later date), will be looking to support innovative new solutions for greenhouse gas reduction in greenhouses.  So if you’ve got big ideas, now might be a good time to start thinking them through!

Eligible projects for GreenON Agriculture retrofit funding include:

  • Installation of new or upgraded energy curtains
  • Upgrading greenhouse cover materials, including the addition of layers OR the installation of more energy efficient options
  • Upgrades to boiler or heating systems
  • Engineering costs related to these activities

Upgrading your energy curtains or greenhouse coverings (glass or poly) are examples of eligible activities under the new GreenON Agriculture retrofit program.

For all the details, check out the program guide.

The first window for applications to be submitted to the program is March 6-26th.  There will be further intakes into the program, but they have not yet been announced.

To apply, you’ll need to head over to the OSCIA’s website.  Along with a standard application form, you’ll also need to complete the “GO-CALC” (Greenhouse Gas Ontario Covered AgricuLture Calculator) tool as part of your application package to determine the merit of your project. I’ve talked about this tool on the blog before, and we’ve even made a helpful video to walk you through the process, which I’ve attached here.

GO CALC tutorial video (English) - YouTube

Any questions about program eligibility can be directed to the OSCIA, or the Ag Info Contact Centre. Happy retrofitting!

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