Cluster 4

The Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada (FVGC) supports the Canadian fruit and vegetable sector in part by managing funding applications and subsequent research and promotion activities that address the sector’s top priorities.

Canadian AgriScience Cluster for Horticulture 4

The Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada (FVGC) has established the fourth Canadian AgriScience Cluster for Horticulture in collaboration with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership for the period of 2023-2028. The AgriScience Clusters aim to bring together industry, government, and academia to address national-level issues and themes by forming partnerships.

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The Research Activities

Apple

Reducing losses from apple pests with alternative control strategies

LEAD RESEARCHER

Suzanne Blatt, research scientist in entomology at Agriculture and Agri-Food Kentville Research and Development Centre

OBJECTIVES

  • Sterile insect release for apple maggots can complement current management programs reducing annual pesticide use.
  • Modifying landscapes around orchards can reduce bark beetle populations, increase the survival of trees and reduce the need to replant parts of the orchard.
  • A biocontrol agent against leafrollers can complement the use of softer pesticide products reducing the likelihood of resistance development and extending the registration life of sustainable products.

PROJECT UPDATES

  • Coming soon

Apple Crop Load Management: Enhancing Thinning Predictability and Tree Response Through Advancements in Modeling, New Precision Thinning Products and Strategies, and Technology

LEAD RESEARCHER

John A. Cline, professor of tree fruit physiology at the University of Guelph

OBJECTIVES

  • Greater economic and environmental sustainability for fruit tree operations.
  • Higher quality fruit production.
  • Estimated labour savings of 25 per cent for hand-thinning.
  • Increased orchard profitability by 10 per cent per hectare due to improved fruit quality.
  • Better ability to estimate yields early in the growing season. 
  • Improved flowering and more consistent annual cropping.
  • Recommendations for thinning apples using metamitron and 1-ACC, alone and in combination with 6-BA.
  • Improved understanding of how chemical thinners impact labour savings, crop returns and risks of mummified fruit due to black rot fungal infections.
  • Crop load optimization models for profitability maximization.
  • Recommendations for using computer models to increase thinning efficacy and outcomes.

PROJECT UPDATES

  • Coming soon

berry

Canadian Berry Trial Network

LEAD RESEARCHER

Beatrice Amyotte, research scientist for small fruit germplasm development with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Kentville Research and Development Centre

OBJECTIVES

  • The first cycle of CBTN had differing production seasons due to variations in general weather patterns and extreme weather events.
  • Variety rankings changed annually, even within distinct trial locations, prompting a different approach to data analysis.
  • Examination revealed some strawberry varieties with either average or above-average yields in at least two years and two locations, indicating potential resilience to climatic variation.
  • Limited data prevented a similar analysis of raspberry and blueberry varieties in the first cycle, but the plan is to assess weather factors influencing yield in all three crops during this cycle.

PROJECT UPDATES

  • Coming soon

Cabbage

Increasing Field Vegetable Yield and Resilience to Abiotic and Biotic Stresses through Soil Microbial Engineering

LEAD RESEARCHER

Martin Filion, research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Research and Development Centre

OBJECTIVES

  • Develop novel microbial inoculants to reduce farm inputs without impacting yields.
  • Make field vegetable yields better able to fight climate change effects and extreme weather events.
  • Develop and transfer monitoring tools to support sustainable ag and IPM.

PROJECT UPDATES

  • Coming soon

Reduce Risk Strategies for Cabbage Maggot Control

LEAD RESEARCHER

Renee Priya Prasad, associate professor and department head for agriculture at the University of the Fraser Valley

OBJECTIVES

  • Registrations of products (mainly insecticides) that will protect cabbage family crops against cabbage root maggot.
  • Give growers more options for rotational crops they can grow from within the cabbage family.
  • To provide strong financial returns on cabbage family crops for vegetable growers.

PROJECT UPDATES

  • Coming soon

Greenhouse

Developing a System’s Approach to Pest Management on Greenhouse Vegetable Crops: Mirid Predator Selection

LEAD RESEARCHER

Roselyne Labbe, research scientist in greenhouse entomology with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Harrow Research and Development Centre

OBJECTIVES

  • Add to the development of a complete system’s approach for applying and commercializing new native biocontrol organisms.
  • Establish rates and schedules for introducing native biocontrol agents onto open rearing systems.
  • Develop best practices for applying open rearing systems by identifying preferred host plants, supplemental foods and lights.
  • Maximize the spreading of information on reducing crop losses and increasing returns for growers to adopt new agents and open rearing strategies in greenhouse vegetable crops.
  • Aim to reduce losses from invasive species by applying a selective breeding and open rearing approach to boost predator performance and persistence on crops.

PROJECT UPDATES

  • Coming soon

tomato

Novel Approaches for the Management of Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV)

LEAD RESEARCHER

Aiming Wang, research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the London Research and Development

OBJECTIVES

  • Genetic resistance is the most effective, economical, and sustainable approach for controlling viral diseases. It is environmentally friendly, target-specific, and offers reliable protection without additional labour or material costs during the growing season.
  • Unlike resistance from wild tomatoes, which often requires multiple years of breeding efforts to transfer resistance into cultivated tomatoes, novel genetic resistance in elite cultivars can be readily accessible to tomato production.
  • The use of genetic resistance provides immediate and accessible solutions for controlling viral diseases in cultivated tomato crops.

PROJECT UPDATES

  • Coming soon

Potato

National Potato Variety Evaluation for Sustainability, Resilience and Climate Change

LEAD RESEARCHER

Erica Fava, national potato variety trial coordinator and industry liaison; Jen McFarlane, soft fruits IPM coordinator and research coordinator with E.S. Cropconsult; and Katerina Jordan, associate professor at the University of Guelph

OBJECTIVES

  • It takes six full years of research for a potato variety selection to reach the variety trial point.
  • The focus of the first phase of the variety trial is assessing the performance of these breeding lines.
  • The second phase of the variety trial is evaluating the most promising lines from the first phase, along with varieties from other breeding programs, in regional field trials conducted by industry members.
  • The adoption of new potato lines by growers depends on their ability to test and observe the performance of these lines in their regional trials.

PROJECT UPDATES

  • Coming soon

Regenerative and Sustainable Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation and Carbon Sequestration: Rebuilding Soil Health and Increasing Crop Productivity of Canadian Potato Production Systems

LEAD RESEARCHER

Claudia Goyer, research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Fredericton Research and Development

OBJECTIVES

  • By improving soil health there will be better water retention, nutrient availability, soil biodiversity, and functions, and plant growth. The use of RSAPs will improve crop yields and quality.
  • Practices such as cover cropping, forages for animal grazing and soil amendments will lead to better soil health and biodiversity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • This research activity will provide knowledge, technologies, and support networks for growers. Growers will be able to learn from experts, collaborate with other growers, and access resources to help them implement sustainable practices effectively.

PROJECT UPDATES

  • Coming soon

Positioning Canada’s Potato Industry for Improved Sustainable Production

LEAD RESEARCHER

Mario Tenuta, senior industrial research chair in 4R nutrient management and professor of soil ecology at the University of Manitoba

OBJECTIVES

  • Developing environmental and agronomic performance indicators for improved nitrogen
    practices and management for fresh and processing potato production.
  • Finding out how high nitrogen use works on efficient potato varieties can reduce nitrous
    oxide emissions and improve agronomic performance.
  • Determining the degree to which combined 4R nitrogen management practices can
    reduce nitrous oxide emission and related environmental indicator performance.
  • Finding what the potato crop needs when including nitrogen mineralization of soil to
    improve matching fertilizer nitrogen additions.
  • Determining how further reductions in nitrous oxide emissions can combine or stack
    with potato genetics and 4R nitrogen management practices.
  • Finding out if genetics and 4R nitrogen management practices can provide a greater
    return on investment of fertilizer nitrogen alone or in combination.

PROJECT UPDATES

  • Coming soon

About Cluster 4

The Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada (FVGC) has established the fourth Canadian AgriScience Cluster for Horticulture in collaboration with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership for the period of 2023-2028. The AgriScience Clusters aim to bring together industry, government, and academia to address national-level issues and themes by forming partnerships.

On October 10, 2023, The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced a federal investment of $9.8 million in the Canadian AgriScience Cluster for Horticulture 4, which will be located in Abbotsford, BC. The FVGC will lead Cluster 4, and the industry will contribute $7.7 million, bringing the total investment to $17.5 million.

This approval is the result of the hard work of all the research teams and significant collaboration and support from the industry.

The Canadian AgriScience Cluster for Horticulture 4 focuses on innovation, competitiveness, and sustainability to ensure Canadian fruit and vegetable growers have the necessary resources to continue producing high-quality, healthy fruits and vegetables for Canadians and the world.

The initiative facilitates cooperation between AAFC, university/college, and private researchers to best utilize the scientific expertise available across Canada.

Read the full announcement from AAFC here.

About Sponsorship

This project is generously funded through the Canadian Agri-Science Cluster for Horticulture 4, in cooperation with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriScience Program, a Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership initiative, the Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada, and industry contributors. Projects and final funding are subject to negotiation of a contribution agreement and a Collaborative Research and Development Agreement.

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For more information and Hort Cluster 4 details

contact Amy Argentino by submitting this form.

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