The generation of agricultural biomass is a key component of Ontario’s emerging bioeconomy. Miscanthus, a warm-season, perennial grass is being considered as a bioenergy crop due to its high yield potential and favourable combustion qualities. One of the primary obstacles to commercializing and establishing miscanthus in Ontario is the poor cold tolerance of some of the genotypes under consideration.
The recently introduced variety, Honeycrisp, is well-suited to the Annapolis region. Already planted in over 350 acres, Honeycrisp sells for four times the price of other apples. Unfortunately this variety has a major flaw - a tendency to biennial bearing through a strong tendency of producing only spurs and no substantial shoot growth. We need to understand this negative growth habit and develop innovative fruit management techniques to stabilize and increase yield.
The research project involves examining spring barley purelines and mixtures of purelines through yield trials at multiple locations across Ontario. The data from the trial will be analyzed with the appropriate analysis of variance, enabling Hyland Seeds to adapt the current barley breeding program to a program that selects the best barley mixtures. The benefits to Hyland Seeds will be a higher yielding, stable product that is novel to the Ontario feed barley market. It will limit seed saving as well as extend the life of products.
The ripening of fleshy fruits such as apple, pears and tomatoes results in a coordinated change in texture, nutritional characteristics, color, flavor and aroma, and initiates senescence processes that reduce shelf life. Fresh market apples are often treated with 1-methylcyclopropene and stored under controlled atmosphere conditions to delay ripening and extend the supply period to consumers. However, there is always some degree of economic loss due to external injury and flesh browning of the fruit.
The project will focus on providing methods to secure the supply of Northern Spy apples for Chudleigh’s Ltd, an major international bakery located in Southern Ontario. Northern Spy, an apple cultivar discovered in the state of New York nearly 200 years ago, has a number of desirable attributes for baking, most notably for pie making. Chudleigh’s Ltd. will partner with the University of Guelph to conduct research on overcoming the slow to bear production nature of this cultivar, and its alternate bearing from one year to the next.
The Ontario beef industry is a significant part of the agricultural economy, accounting for the highest farm cash receipts in the sector. Through linkages to other parts of the economy, beef production employs thousands of Ontarians and generates $1.4 billion for the provincial economy. The industry is under threat, however, from such challenges as trade restrictions, higher feed costs and changing food preferences. The most effective medium term solution to ensure the viability of the industry is to increase efficiency at the farm level.
This internship is with EcoSafe Natural Products Inc., a consulting and contract R&D company specializing in research and development for companies in pesticides, fertilizers, personal care and other specialty areas of industry. In this project, the research team will study the vitalization of different constituents of botanical pesticides over time; the emission pattern and persistence of these pesticides on different surfaces within different environmental conditions, and also the behavioural responses of difference pests to different products.