Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence


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2015 Leaders in Innovation Awards

 

Celmar Dairy Ltd. - Norwich, Oxford County

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Premier Wynne, Annika and Marcel Steen, Minister Jeff Leal

Premier Wynne, Annika and Marcel Steen, Minister Jeff Leal

As dairy farmers, Herman and Marcel Steen store a lot of forage for their herd. Shifting from bunker-style silos to tower silos helped automate that storage and cut down on the amount of spoilage. Filling the silos proved slow and cumbersome, so the Steens installed a custom-built, in-ground concrete pit that allows tandem wagons to discharge their cargo of forage in less than two minutes. From there, the forage is evenly transferred to a blower powered by a 200-horsepower electric motor, eliminating the need for another large tractor. The hydraulically driven two-stage conveyor system lets the Steens fill multiple silos from one location and cuts fill time by 50 per cent. And because the silos get sealed sooner, the forage starts fermenting faster, improving the feed quality of the resulting silage for their animals.

 

Durham Foods - Port Perry, Durham Region

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Premier Wynne, Shelley and Jim Sheehan, Minister Jeff Leal

Premier Wynne, Shelley and Jim Sheehan, Minister Jeff Leal

To achieve food safety and traceability certification, food producers and processors have to keep a number of thorough records and manuals. And for small operations, that can be daunting. Durham Foods has just made it a whole lot easier with their new GAP App. The hydroponic spinach producer has taken the manuals from CanadaGAP - the national food safety program for fruits and vegetables - and transformed them into a user-friendly app. Bye-bye time-consuming paperwork. Instead, workers can enter information and document issues with a few swipes and taps on tablets strategically placed around the plant floor. The app prompts them with required activities for the day. It also generates reports and makes food safety audits a cinch, slashing the costs of the company's food safety program.

 

Vineland Estates Winery Inc. - Vineland

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Premier Wynne, Brian Schmidt, Minister Jeff Leal

Premier Wynne, Brian Schmidt, Minister Jeff Leal

To make a great wine, you need to be choosy. No under-ripe grapes, no bits of leaves or stems and definitely no bugs. A couple of ladybugs can ruin an entire tonne of grapes. But hand-sorting grapes is a slow, back-breaking business. That's why Vineland Estates has invested in an optical sorter. The first of its kind in Canada, it scans 2,000 grapes per second, gently de-stems the fruit and removes bugs and unwanted plant material. Puffs of air then sort the grapes by colour, size and shape, letting winemakers select exactly what they want. The optical sorter is six times faster than hand-sorting, and it delivers better-quality grapes. By lowering costs and raising standards, this machine promises to revolutionize winemaking in Ontario.


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