Agriculture Development Branch (ADB) 2014-2015 Successes
Enabling Innovation through Technology Transfer
The Agriculture Development Branch (ADB), a branch within the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) provides crop, livestock and business management technology transfer and advice to enable innovation and change to strengthen economic and environmental sustainability of a diverse agriculture sector.
36,500 people attended 965 ADB presentations
Showcasing producers knowledge and experiences with precision dairy technology
Ontario's dairy producers have a keen interest in new precision dairy technologies that can make their operations more efficient and competitive. OMAFRA held a workshop that highlighted producers' first-hand experiences in using new and emerging dairy technologies such as in-line milk testing, robotic calf feeders and milk and herd monitoring systems. The workshop also helped producers assess costs and benefits of these upgrades. Over 30 participants attended the workshop. All of the attendees expressed satisfaction with the training they received and 87% of participants said the workshop would be useful in making future decisions. OMAFRA's efforts to educate producers about precision dairy technologies are focused on the long-term impacts of adopting these technologies in order to increase labour efficiencies while improving productivity and the overall health of dairy herds.
Over 4.2 million English and French crop, livestock and business management web page views
Connecting the Ontario vegetable industry with expert advice
OMAFRA is making it easier for Ontario's vegetable growers, processors and agri-business representatives to get access to the training they need. The OMAFRA Vegetable Team hosted a series of five Next Generation Integrated Pest Management webinars to bring knowledge transfer to the homes and offices of growers, processors and crop consultants. The webinars were free of cost to participants and saved both presenters and the audience the expense and inconvenience of travel. This initiative helps ensure that Ontario's vegetable industry is kept informed of current opportunities and challenges that face the industry so it remains productive, competitive and sustainably viable.
ADB staff involved in 49 research projects
Improving vegetable extension by bringing tomato experts to Ontario
Over 90 scientists, extension specialists and agri-business representatives attended the 2014 Tomato Disease Workshop, hosted in Windsor, Ontario by OMAFRA and University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus. At the event, they shared research and discussed disease management strategies and tactics. The workshop has boosted international awareness of OMAFRA's vegetable extension and pathology programs and Ontario's field and greenhouse vegetable industry. After discussing emerging issues at the workshop, OMAFRA and the University of Guelph's Ridgetown Campus worked with stakeholders across North America to update bacterial disease management protocols for transplants and field tomatoes. Since 2010, Ontario alone has invested over $1.2 million dollars on research to control and respond to risks of disease on plant health. The 2014 Tomato Disease Workshop provided an opportunity to leverage significant knowledge and million dollar investments on bacterial disease management by establishing partnerships across 13 states and four countries.
Over 38,880 subscribers to 68 blogs, e-notices and Twitter
New value chain aspires to get more Ontario lamb into Ontario kitchens
Consumers are demanding consistent quality from Ontario lamb producers. To meet that demand and create stable pricing for their product, Newmarket Meat Packers (NMP) and a group of Ontario producers created a full lamb value chain. Staff from ADB helped introduce value chain partners, assisted in planning a new animal handling facility, and organized a tour to see a British value chain model firsthand. Growing Forward 1 and 2 - a federal, provincial and territorial initiative - helped fund the development of the value chain and helped NMP update its systems to improve productivity and slaughter functionality. Lamb quality, animal welfare and food safety is a key priority of the value chain partnership. Producers are now shipping approximately 100 lambs each week and are looking to bring on additional producers to meet demand.
91% satisfaction with events used to transfer crop, livestock and business management information to stakeholders
Flagship events support Ontario's pork industry
Industry and government, including OMAFRA, the University of Guelph, and Ontario Pork have collaborated to create several flagship events that moved pork production to the efficient commercial enterprise it is now. Southwestern Ontario Pork Congress (SWOPC) encourages producer networking and provides relevant, timely knowledge transfer. The Centralia Swine Research Update is a venue for researchers to present their work and discuss important issues facing the industry. The London Swine Conference provides an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and encourage the implementation of new technologies in commercial pork production. This conference in particular was attended by over 350 participants. From the London Swine Conference, 88% of surveyed participants reported that the information provided would be used to influence their work and decision-making in the next year. Thanks in large to these events, Ontario's pork producers drive innovation and are leaders in adopting new technologies and production methods.
87% of event participants reported that the information provided by ADB staff would influence their agricultural business, environmental or agronomic practices, thereby supporting their business.
Improving spray effectiveness for Ontario's apple growers
Ontario's apple growers needed a convenient, simple way to determine how much spray to use based on the unique characteristics of each orchard. The Crop-Adapted Spraying (CAS) decision-making model, developed by OMAFRA, optimizes pesticide application to apple trees, improves coverage, and saves spray. Growing Forward 2 is helping fund the development of a new CAS app for smart phones. Using CAS, some high-density operators reduced their annual pesticide use by as much as 35%. CAS has the potential to reduce insecticide and fungicide inputs by 20% or more, representing at least $3.2 million in savings across Ontario per year.
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