Feeding young broiler breeders around the world generally involves restriction starting when the chicks are one week or a few weeks of age. This is done so that they grow at a rate that supports their health and welfare – one that prevents obesity, lameness and reproductive problems.
More poultry producers are switching to LED lights in their layer barns for the power savings, versatility, durability and brightness they offer in comparison to all other options. Lighting is important in broiler, turkey, pullet and layer production, but especially important in egg production these days because of the new systems hens are being housed in. It’s all about making sure, in these new housing set-ups, that egg laying in the nest boxes is maximized.
Bill Van Heyst grew up on a mixed farm near Grand Bend, Ont. He remembers looking after 500 laying hens – that was the maximum amount allowed under quota at the time. He also remembers switching over the old tunnel ventilated 1960s vintage poultry barn to battery cages from free-range. If he’d only known then that free-range would be fashionable once again…
Growing interest in the concept and practice of sustainable sourcing is redefining relationships and expectations in the agri-food landscape. Sustainable sourcing, simply put, refers to procurement of goods or services subject to their meeting a specified set of socio-economic, animal welfare and environmental sustainability criteria.
Summer has come and gone and fall is now here. It’s once again time to take a look at your maintenance program and go over the equipment to ensure everything is running efficiently.
Many types of tools, equipment and devices gather data on everything from crop yields to how many steps an animal takes in a day. However, much of that data is underutilized because it’s collected by systems that don’t or can’t communicate with each other.
The need for better decision-making on farms through better data use resulted in Ontario Precision Agri-Food (OPAF), a partnership of agricultural organizations led by Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT) that’s developing an open agri-food innovation platform to connect and share data.
The goal, according to lead director Dr. Karen Hand of Precision Strategic Solutions, is getting data, wherever it exists (both data repositories in industry or government and data generated by countless sensors) so it can be used to help advance important food production issues like food safety, traceability and plant and animal disease surveillance.
For example, information about the prevalence and control of insect pests like cutworms that damage soybean crops lies with many different people and organizations, including university and government researchers, crop advisors, input suppliers and farmers.
“There is no single spot where all of the information about a particular pest can be accessed in a robust, science-based system and used in decision-making and that’s where OPAF’s platform will help,” Hand says.
Pilot projects are underway with Ontario’s grain, dairy and poultry producers to identify their needs in areas like crop protection, sustainability and food safety and how OPAF can provide data-driven solutions to benefit farmers.
“We sit down with farmers, advisors, associations, government and researchers to find out what data they have, where they exist and if we were able to connect them, what value or benefit that would offer participants – either specific to the commodity they are producing or on larger food-related issues such as food safety or impact on trade,” she explains.
And OPAF’s efforts are gaining global recognition. Earlier this year, Internet of Food and Farm 2020, a large project in the European Union exploring the potential of IOT technologies of European food and farming, recognized OPAF as one of three global projects to collaborate with.
“This is going to be changing the face of data enablement in Canada and contributing globally,” says Tyler Whale of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT). “We are creating a platform that is the base of something new, and although we are piloting this in Ontario, it will be available nationwide to those who want to use it.”
OPAF partners include OAFT, University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, Niagara College, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Livestock Research Innovation Corporation, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Farm Credit Canada, Ontario Agri-Business Association, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, and Golden Horseshoe Farm and Food Alliance.
This project was funded by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists with GF2 delivery in Ontario.
Two poultry barns in Alberta, for example, have installed heat recovery systems that capture heat from air being exhausted from broiler and layer barns and use it to warm cold fresh air that’s being vented into the barn.
The heat recovery ventilators (HRV), used primarily in winter months, take some of the cold edge off the fresh incoming air, helping to reduce heating costs inside the barn. It’s not so dramatic as being able to feel hot air going out, and then being replaced inside the heat exchanger with hot fresh air coming in, but the system can warm up cold winter air by 15 to 20 degrees. | For the full story, CLICK HERE
The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay—on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna—and Prince Edward Island’s Minister of Communities, Land and Environment, Richard Brown, recently announced a federal investment of $23.8 million to help the people of Prince Edward Island improve energy efficiency in their homes, businesses, industries, and farm operations across the province, as well as reduce carbon pollution in the forestry sector. This joint investment totals $47.8 million.
The Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund will support three of the province’s programs that take climate action.
The first program—Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Built Environment Through Energy Efficiency and Fuel Switching—will provide assistance with building retrofits, and it introduces new residential, commercial, and industrial programs with instant rebates on the purchase of energy-efficient products and their installation.
The program will also target fuel switching and process changes in the industrial sector and support carbon-pollution reduction in the agricultural sector.
The second program—Exploring Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Opportunities with Agriculture Producers—will support efforts to reduce carbon pollution in the agricultural sector.
The program will accomplish this goal by partnering program and policy experts with the agricultural community, who, together, will explore best practices and will design action plans for growers, leading to more innovation and efficient farming systems.
Finally, the Expanding and Managing Forests for Carbon Sequestration program will also receive funding. This program will enhance the capacity of carbon storage through the conversion and development of new forests on idle and less productive agricultural land.
Prince Edward Island is investing $24 million to support a wide range of projects to help families, businesses, industries, farmers, and landowners make environmentally friendly changes that benefit the economy and the environment. With this investment, Islanders will continue to benefit from a clean environment and make the province a leader in the global fight against climate change.
The Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund provides $1.4 billion to provinces and territories that have adopted Canada’s clean growth and climate action plan, the Pan-Canadian Framework, to deliver on commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The environment and the economy go hand in hand. By investing in PEI to make homes and buildings more energy efficient and by reducing emissions in the agriculture and forestry sectors, we are supporting PEI’s economy, creating good middle-class jobs, and tackling climate change while providing savings for Islanders," said MacAulay.
The announcement was made by Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament (Northwest Territories) on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for CanNor.
Choice North Farms is a private egg producing company in Hay River. Their pilot project will integrate vertical hydroponic units and poultry production in a small geodesic dome. This combination will reduce the amount of nutrients and energy required for production, while providing a good supply of quality local fresh produce and meat substitutes.
If the pilot project is successful, this innovative clean technology could be scaled and adapted in other Northern communities, promoting economic diversification, reducing the cost of living, and enhancing the quality of life in remote communities.
"The Government of Canada has long supported the development of the agriculture sector in the North. We are pleased to support innovative technologies that not only grow the economy of Hay River, but also have the potential to provide affordable food to Northern communities," McLeod said.
CanNor has invested $80,497 in the project through its Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) program, with Choice North Farms contributing $67,910, the Government of the Northwest Territories injecting $6,586 and the Aurora Research Institute providing an additional $6,000. Total funding for the project is $160,993.
"We are thrilled at North Choice Farms to be able to pilot this green technology, thanks to the support of CanNor. We are confident it will allow us to produce more food locally while reducing our carbon footprint and production cost. This is great for our business, for the agricultural sector in the NWT and for Northern consumers, " said Kevin Wallington, business development manager, Choice North Farms.
READ CP's related feature article: Chickens in the greenhouse
The program is ideal for all farming applications, including livestock, greenhouse and vineyards. Upgrading to a high-efficiency pump will improve performance and could save customers up to 40 per cent of their system's energy costs.
"This energy conservation program is focused on helping our agricultural customers manage their electricity and water usage all while saving money," said Cindy-Lynn Steele, vice president, Market Solutions, Hydro One. "As Ontario's largest electricity provider to farming customers, we are committed to offering a variety of energy solutions to help them save on electricity and invest in programs that will meet their important needs while delivering a positive return to their bottom line."
"This collaborative approach with IESO and Hydro One allowed us to be very innovative with this new program," says Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. CEO and president Brian Wilkie. "We're happy to be able to cater to the agricultural sector and provide this instant rebate program on high efficiency pump sets with advanced control technology."
"Water conservation and high energy costs are a big concern for farmers in the Niagara region and across the province," said Drew Spoelstra, director for Halton, Hamilton-Wentworth, Niagara North and Niagara South, Ontario Federation of Agriculture. "The Save on Energy Conservation Program and this type of cross-utility initiative to launch the AgriPump Rebate Program is great for agriculture."
To be eligible for a rebate under the program, each kit must be between 0.5 hp and 10 hp and must comprise of a pump, motor, variable frequency drive and accessories. Customers can receive up to $610 per constant pressure pump kit. The pumps are quick and easy to install and guard against wear and tear.
The AgriPump Rebate Program is only available to agriculture customers in Hydro One and Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. (NPEI) service territories. The instant rebate is fulfilled at the point of purchase.
To learn more and participate in the AgriPump Rebate program, visit: www.agripump.ca
Sector - Broilers
Location - Shakespeare, Ont.
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