Canada: Environmental research helps Ontario fruit, vegetable and flower farmers

An Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research project on environmental best practices will give Ontario fruit, vegetable, and flower growers the information they need to make environmentally-conscious decisions on water and nutrient use in their operations.

The "Calculating Environmental Sustainability Metrics for Ontario Horticultural Production Systems" project has shown that not all horticulture production systems have similar environmental challenges and that a "one size fits all" approach will not necessarily work.

"This project will allow farmers to use a whole-farm approach when choosing best management practices," says project manager Donna Speranzini, Regional Ag-Land & Agroforestry Manager with AAFC's Knowledge Technology Transfer Office in Guelph. "All practices involve trade-offs. Growers will now have the information they need to evaluate those trade-offs. They'll be able to make more informed decisions about which practices and technologies to use and how they'll impact water and nutrient use in their operations."

The horticulture production systems studied in this project include: apples, grapes, tender fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, prunes, pears and sweet and sour cherries), mixed fruit, berries, greenhouse vegetables, greenhouse flowers, mixed greenhouse operations, nurseries, sod, mushrooms, ginseng, potatoes, field vegetables and mixed vegetables.

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