Game Changing Technologies for Fruit, Vegetable, Greenhouse Growers

Vineland scouts the world for leading horticulture technologies and innovations for Canadian farmers

VINELAND, ON, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - Leading edge mechanical platforms and robotic technology will finally give Canadian horticulture farmers the advantage they need to compete successfully against other highly productive growing and processing regions around the world.

"In the 1950's the grain sector was transformed with the advent of the self-propelled combine. We have now reached that same turning point for the horticulture industry with mechanical platforms and robotic technologies that will reduce labour costs and improve farm and processing efficiencies," said Dr. Jim Brandle, CEO, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre.

Vineland's Business Development Director, Darlene Homonko and Technology Scout Michael Kauzlaric have been investigating opportunities in Canada and around the globe where Vineland can play a role in facilitating easy access to new technologies for Canadian farmers.

In collaboration with technology development partners, Vineland is assessing high speed, vision-based robotic technologies in non-agricultural sectors that are transferrable to greenhouse applications. These types of technologies can be used for packaging of cut flowers and other labour-intensive greenhouse activities.

Mechanical platforms for tree fruits are already proving their value in orchards across Italy where the technology is being utilized 10 months of the year for thinning, trellising, dormant and summer pruning, hail net set-up, pheromone application and harvesting.

Vineland is facilitating locally-manufactured platform technology for Canadian farmers that will improve efficiencies and ease labour challenges. In time, the advantage of platform technology will also drive a more modern approach to orchard planning with higher density tree plantings to maximize platform usage.

"Introducing new technologies to the Canadian marketplace in a manner that is accessible and cost-effective for growers is crucial to building a more competitive horticulture sector. These technologies will directly reduce labour and input costs. We are working towards the introduction of new technologies to Canadian horticulture farmers in 2011," commented Darlene Homonko.

Other areas of focus for Vineland include the import of new horticulture cultivars and establishing business relationships with successful breeding programs for transfer of germplasm from major production regions such as New Zealand.

About Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

Vineland Research and Innovation Centre is an independent, not-for-profit organization that was created to be a world-class centre for horticultural science and innovation. In its capacity to enable and foster relationships with industry, academia and government, Vineland works to deliver premium product and production innovations. Vineland brings a global perspective to the Canadian horticulture industry and offers a broad range of lasting benefits to stakeholders both locally and internationally. Aligned with industry needs, Vineland's research priorities and outcomes are focused on the growth of the entire horticulture industry. Vineland is funded in part by Growing Forward, a federal-provincial- territorial initiative.

SOURCE Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

For further information: Isabel Dopta, Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations; Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, 905-562-0320, Ext. 791,,

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