How technology is improving Canadian horticulture

DYK: Potato grower Kate VanderZaag uses a drone to scout for foliar diseases and insect damage. When the images show changes in the canopy, it’s a clue of pest pressure.


DYK: In the last decade,Canada’s apple growers have converted many orchards to high-density trees – up to 3,000 trees per acre. Labour-saving platforms make it more ergonomic to harvest. The top five most planted varieties are now: McIntosh, Gala, Empire, Ambrosia and Honeycrisp.


DYK:  Grape harvesters are a common sight in Ontario’s Niagara peninsula where red and white varietals are selected at just the right brix (sugar level) to be taken to the crush pads of local wineries.


DYK:  Transplanters are making broccoli planting more efficient with water on board for that first drink. 


DYK: Robotic arms are now in use to pack greenhouse-grown cucumbers.The finger-like tips are gentle and don’t damage the produce.  


DYK: Highbush blueberry acreage has increased in Canada to meet consumer demand for this superfood. Mechanical harvesters make the job easier for a long season that can span weeks with different varieties.


DYK: Optical sorters are now used to handle tender fruit such as peaches and plums so that they come out of the packing house with almost no human thumbprints. British Columbia, Ontario and to a lesser extent, Nova Scotia are home to sizable tender fruit industries. 


DYK:  Leamington isn’t called the tomato capital for nothing. While field tomatoes have long been processed into various products in the southwestern Ontario city, the greenhouse tomato sector has a large presence here too. About one thousand acres of tomatoes are grown in temperature-controlled conditions almost year-round. 


DYK:The Holland Marsh, just north of Toronto, Ontario, is the largest continuous area of muck soil in Canada with about 7,000 acres of carrots, onions, celery and Asian vegetables. 


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Publish date: 
Saturday, February 9, 2019

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