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SPUD tissue culture
SPUD tissue culture

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $330,000 through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership to enhance the Superior Plant Upgrading and Distribution (SPUD) Unit in New Liskeard. The SPUD Unit supports farmers and the wider agriculture and food industry by offering testing for plant diseases and providing a stock of healthy plants to commercial growers across the province.


This investment will enable a variety of capital and equipment upgrades to the SPUD Unit facility, including improvements to the irrigation, air filtration, heating and control systems, increases to sterilization capacity and improvements to the greenhouse coverings. It will improve the ability to anticipate, detect, mitigate and reduce plant diseases and pests along the supply chain, benefitting potato, berry, garlic, sweet potato and hazelnut growers in the province.


“The SPUD Unit is a critical piece of infrastructure, supporting the clean seed and propagation needs of several significant edible horticulture crops in Ontario,” said Shawn Brenn, chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association. “This investment is crucial to the continuity of the SPUD Unit as we collaborate with government on its future success.”


The SPUD Unit is operated by the University of Guelph and funded in part by the Ontario Agri-food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Agribusiness, the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario, and the University of Guelph to advance research and innovation.


The upgrades will begin this year and work will continue through 2025.


The SPUD Unit produces 10 per cent of the minitubers needed for seed potato production in Ontario and is the only source in Canada for garlic seed suited for the Ontario climate.


Source:  Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Agribusiness June 26, 2024 news release



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Submitted by Karen Davidson on 27 June 2024