Ginseng Crop Update – July 14, 2017

We have had about 36 straight hours of leaf wetness over the past two days. This combined with heavy downpours and moderate temperatures both day and night are perfect conditions for the development of foliar Phytophthora. Re-application of foliar fungicides may be required. Continue reading

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Farmer Mental Health – A Conversation that Matters

By: Jessica Kelly, Direct Farm Marketing Specialist, OMAFRA

“That project taught me some important lessons like just because something looks profitable in Excel does not necessarily translate into actual profitability.  That project was an unmitigated disaster from a production standpoint and the timing coincided with a run up in corn values and collapsing hog prices.  As fall turned to winter in 2012, our financial position deteriorated rapidly and losing everything that Mum and Dad had built became a real possibility.  I internalized this, blaming myself entirely for the failure of the project and causing the extra level of vulnerability for my parent’s finances.  I could not sleep nor could I communicate with loved ones as I retreated down the dark path of depression.  My self-hate knew no bounds, I would scream at myself in the barn when I made simple errors, I would be paralyzed in the seat of my car when I got to the barn, dreading actually going in to the building.”  

Continue reading

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Hops Field Days in July

See below for information about two upcoming OHGA-hosted field days.

Growing season is well underway, but there is still time for great learning opportunities.  In conjunction with OMAFRA, the Ontario Hop Growers’ Association is offering two field dates.

Western Ontario

Date:  Thursday, July 6, 5-7 pm

Hosted by:  Tavistock Hop Company, 2509 Perth Line 26, RR2 Tavistock (Park anywhere on the front lawn beside the driveway)

Eastern Ontario

Date:  Monday July 17, 4-6:30 pm

Hosted by:  Don Wilford, 891 Chase Rd., Consecon, Ontario, K0K 1To


Informal in-field workshop with Evan Elford & Melanie Filotas of OMAFRA

Evan will talk about irrigation, fertility or other production issues and Melanie will talk about pests of the moment, followed by a Q&A.  Growers are invited to bring unknown plant and insect samples for diagnosis (must be in sealed bag and not brought into the host hopyard).

To register or for more information, please visit:



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Lavender Crop Update – June 23, 2017

The first lavender cultivars are close to bloom in some areas and the harvest season will begin shortly (Fig. 1). For bundles and buds, it is best to harvest near the time the first buds begin to open. This is when the buds have reached full colour but before dead petals begin to appear on the flower clusters. For oil production, harvest should wait until at least peak bloom. From then on, oil quality will very gradually decline, although many growers harvest several weeks after peak bloom to extend the agri-tourism season, and still have good quality oil.

Figure 1. ‘Hidcote’ and other earlier blooming lavender cultivars are at full bud and ready to bloom in many areas. Bloom usually last about 4 weeks per cultivar depending on the weather, with peak appearance in the first 2 weeks of that period.

Continue reading

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Ginseng Crop Update – June 23, 2017

While the amount of rainfall has been highly variable across the ginseng growing area, all areas have received periodic showers this week that has resulted in long periods of leaf wetness. Foliar Phytophthora is still active in several farms and this wet weather will continue to allow for spread of the disease. Downpours will then result in new areas of root infection. Continue reading

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Summer/Fall Student Position Available at the Simcoe Research Station

Job Ad:     Student – Horticulture Assistant
Organization: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Division/Branch: Economic Development Division / Agriculture Development Branch
Position Title: Student – Summer Research Assistant
Job Term: Temporary (1 position) for up to 18 weeks
Location:  OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, Simcoe, Ontario (Norfolk County, on the north shore of Lake Erie, 2 hours southwest of Toronto)
Salary: $12.25 / hour, based on a 36.25 hour work week

Are you serious about making your mark, getting hands-on work experience and learning more about careers in the Ontario Public Service?  This position at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Simcoe Resource Centre will provide an excellent opportunity for those interested in a career in horticulture production, research or the agricultural service sector. This position will provide the opportunity to learn about diseases, insects, and agronomy of the specialty crops grown in the province.


  • Assist with summer/fall research and demonstration projects conducted by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Specialty Crops Staff.
  • Activities will include the maintenance (weeding etc.) and harvest of research plots focused on production practices, pest management, fertility, new crop development etc., collection/entering of data and preparation of written reports. Training will be provided on research methods, technology transfer, and working in the public sector
  • Collecting, archiving and organizing digital photos of key growth stages and major pests of specialty crops such as tree fruit, hops, lavender, ginseng, sweet potatoes and industrial crops
  • Field work may include farm tours, field scouting, identification and monitoring of insects, weeds and crop diseases.
  • Assist staff with the collection and analysis of on-farm samples and data for research projects.
  • Assist staff to conduct literature reviews and develop written reports and presentation materials on key initiatives and industry issues.
  • Assist in the coordination of events and programs (e.g. workshops, demonstrations, field days etc.) working with key stakeholders and clients in delivery of programs and information.
  • Office work may include assisting with the production of technical information such as newsletters, updating web pages, blogs, scanning images, etc.

Please review the qualifications for this position. What we are looking for: 

  • You apply your interpersonal skills to work within a multi-disciplinary team
  • You apply your observational skills and attention to detail to conduct research, field monitoring and data entry
  • You apply your written communication skills to prepare a variety of documents (e.g. reports, factsheets, and articles).
  • You are familiar with computer based software applications including MS Word, MS Excel and database management software to perform data entry, conduct analysis, prepare reports, track and compile information
  • You can work in an outdoor environment with physical activity involved
  • You work independently or as part of a team; you plan, organize and prioritize your work to meet competing deadlines
  • You are familiar with farming and crop production
  • You are willing to travel to rural locations (frequently not accessible by public transportation)
  • You must have a minimum Ontario G2 Driver’s Licence

How to Apply:

  • You must demonstrate how you meet the eligibility criteria, skills and experience we are looking for clearly, completely and concisely. We rely on the information you provide to us.
  • You must be a resident of Ontario on the first day of employment.
  • You must be legally entitled to work in Canada.
  • You must be between 15-24 years of age (up to 29 with disability) on the first day of employment.
  • You must be currently enrolled in a secondary or post-secondary school, or have completed all academic requirements for graduation within 6 months of first day of employment (approx. mid-July 2017).
  • You must provide your cover letter and resume electronically in one file to in any of the following formats: PDF, WORD, plain or rich-text format (.pdf, .doc, .docx, .txt and .rtf).  Or you could provide your cover letter and resume on paper to:

Jacquie De Fields
Simcoe Resource Centre
1283 Blueline Road,
Box 587 Simcoe, Ontario N3Y 4N5
Tel: 519-426-7122
Fax: 519-428-1142

You should receive confirmation within 2 business days if your application was received. If you do not receive a confirmation in that time, please call Jacquie De Fields.

If you have a disability and require accommodation to apply please contact

Posting Date: June 23, 2017
Closing Date: July 7, 2017

Posted in All Specialty Crops, Ginseng, Herbs, Hops, Industrial and Misc. Crops, Specialty Fruit and Nuts, Specialty Grains, Specialty Vegetables, Sweet Potato | Tagged , | Leave a comment

An Overview of Haskap Cultivar Characteristics

Indigo Gem Simcoe 2

In 2007 the first University of Saskatchewan (USask) haskap (Lonicera caerulea) cultivars were released.  Since then, this specialty berry (also known as honeyberry or edible blue honeysuckle) has been of interest by commercial growers and home gardeners alike.

Below is an overview of general characteristics of the source material used in various breeding programs followed by production vs. pollinizer cultivar recommendations that may assist growers in selecting appropriate cultivars  for their operation. Continue reading

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