Bridging the Gap on New Farm Technology


VINELAND, Ont. — Many farmers struggle with the costs associated with growing, but the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, a not-for-profit organization built for horticultural science and innovation, is hoping to introduce new technology to make the job easier and more cost effective.

“In the 1950s the grain sector was transformed with the advent of the self-propelled combine,” explains Dr. Jim Brandle, CEO, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. “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.”

To that end, Vineland is looking at high-speed, vision-based robotic technologies that could be effective in the greenhouse setting. Mechanical platforms for tree fruits are already in use on Italian orchards where the technology is being used 10 months of the year for thinning, trellising, dormant and summer pruning as well as harvesting.

“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,” said Dr. Darlene Homonko, Vineland’s director of Business Development. “These technologies will directly reduce labour and input costs. We are working towards the introduction of new technologies to Canadian horticulture farmers in 2011.”


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