Research and variety trials at the centre aim to improve vegetable production in Ontario
By Jackie Clark
The federal and provincial governments are investing $150,000 in the Ontario Crops Research Centre – Bradford, formerly the Muck Crops Research Station.
The funds will go toward upgrading lighting, climate control and a weather station at the greenhouse that is part of the research station, said a June 29 release from the Ontario government. The investment is part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
“The greenhouse is an essential tool to aid in our projects that occur out in the field,” Shawn Janse told Farms.com. He’s the station manager and variety trial coordinator at the Ontario Crops Research Centre - Bradford.
“Each year we grow our own transplants of onions, celery, lettuce or cole crops for the various research trials conduct at the station,” he explained. “The upgrades to the greenhouse facility ensure these plants can be grown as near to commercial production practices, and meet the requirements needed for the various research projects.”
Upgrades to lighting, heating, shade curtains and ventilation will help to reduce electricity costs and specifically optimize conditions in the greenhouse, he added.
Those improvements help with the research and variety trials that take place at the Ontario Crops Research Centre – Bradford.
“Some projects that have benefited from having the greenhouse upgrades for production include this year’s Red Onion Variety Trial in which 16 different varieties of red onions were started in the greenhouse as transplants and then placed out in the field to be assessed for quality, yield and storage later this fall,” Janse explained. “Broccoli transplants were also started and grown in the greenhouse for the Agriculture and Agri Food Canada research minor use projects, which will ultimately aid in an agricultural product registration.”
Research at the station includes “working on isolating and propagating individual clubroot pathogens with different virulence on canola for use in future breeding of clubroot-resistant canola,” he added.
The research centre is an “important resource for farmers in the Holland Marsh area and across the province. The knowledge generated through research conducted at this centre will lead farmers to be aware of and embrace the most advanced agriculture practices available,” said Lisa Thompson, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs in the June 29 release. “Research projects such as these at Ontario Crops Research Centre - Bradford, provide necessary data about vegetable production in muck soils that contribute to innovations that strengthen the whole agri-food industry.”
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