Hort Morsels - Bits and Pieces - Hort Snacks - June 2017

  Hort Snacks - June 2017
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 Featured Websites | Interesting News / Articles to Read this month | Dutch Elm Disease Awareness Week | Mental Snacktime | Meeting Customer Requirements | Growing Forward 2 Programs | Be on the Lookout for Late Blight | Q and A

Featured Websites

Some interesting weather-data/info websites/apps


Alberta Climate Information Service – Weather Radar Imagery

Interesting News / Articles to Read this month

Dutch Elm Disease Awareness Week

June 19-25, 2017
DED Hotline 1-877-837-ELMS (3567)

Mental Snacktime – Expansion

“There's no limit possible to the expansion of each one of us.” – Charles M. Schwab

“Evolution is a process of constant branching and expansion.” – Stephen Jay Gould

“Love is the expansion of two natures in such fashion that each include the other, each is enriched by the other.” – Felix Adler

“This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.” – Pope Francis

“Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.” – Eileen Caddy

Meeting Customer Requirements

See Meeting Customer Requirements if you are a processor or producer wanting to enter a new market. Are you uncertain about whether you can meet regulations and standards?
Use this new online resource to help you:
  • Evaluate whether your business is ready to access a new market
  • Take the necessary steps to meet the regulations and standards
  • Maintain your system through an internal audit
  • Demonstrate that you are meeting requirements through an external audit.

The e-resource can be downloaded on your computer or tablet at agriculture.alberta.ca/customer-requirements.
The resource is designed in a way that allows you to choose any particular section. You do not have to go from start to finish. If you can’t finish it in one sitting, no problem, you can resume where you left off.
If you have questions about the e-resource, e-mail meetingrequirements@gov.ab.ca

Growing Forward 2 Programs

Have a look at the Growing Forward 2 website to see the open programs that have funding available in different areas. There are a number of programs that have funding that is applicable to horticulture producers (small and large; new entrants or established) or groups. These provide funds for a bunch of areas, including things like training and/or skill development, expansion/succession planning, equipment for increased efficiency, innovative products, increasing competitiveness, etc. Don’t be afraid to be creative in your ideas.

Please note, programs open and close, depending on funding levels, applications, etc. This is the final year of GF2, and the future program’s name, format and content has yet to be determined. Visit the site regularly to see which programs are taking applications.

If you want to apply or have questions of what is in and what is out or on eligibility, contact a New Venture Coach or a business development officer or the contact for the specific program. Applications have to go through staff to be vetted or reviewed.

Be on the Lookout for Late Blight

Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of concern in Alberta surrounding a serious disease called Late blight that affects mainly potatoes and tomatoes. This disease is caused by a fungal pathogen called Phytophthora infestans. The favourable conditions for disease development, combined with the presence of the pathogen, have resulted in multiple outbreaks of Late blight in commercial, market garden and urban potato and tomato crops throughout parts of Alberta in past years. A number of different strains of the pathogen have been identified in different years, each being more or less aggressive on either potatoes or tomatoes. For 2017, this disease continues to be a risk for all Solanaceous crops (potato/tomato family) grown in Alberta.

It is recommended that ALL growers of potatoes and tomatoes be extra vigilant to try and catch any diseased material early on, before a significant outbreak can occur. In the early season, growers should watch for:
  • Tomato transplants and newly emerged potato shoots with water-soaked leaf lesions
  • Plants that develop lesions early on in the season or as the season progresses, particularly if conditions are moderate and wet/humid
If you find plants showing suspicious lesions, it is recommended that you can contact 310-FARM (3276) to determine if further testing is required and to discuss management. Please do not hesitate to report an incidence, as early awareness will help to prevent and contain an outbreak and can help others to protect their crops.

While undertaking identification, producers should dispose of infected material as quickly as possible, removing disease parts (small scale) or killing out plants so disease cannot develop further. Protective fungicide applications can be made if conditions favour disease (and if disease is known to be present in the province

Information on Late Blight
FAQ – Late Blight of Potatoes and Tomatoes

Q and A

Q: What key factors do you use as indicators for making expansion (or reduction) decisions?

A: It's always in the numbers. How many staff would I need to get bigger, how much automation, is there enough population to support an expansion? The decision for me to decrease was also in the numbers and the labor. I actually made more net profit being a smaller operation and working it myself charging a little more for the product.
A: The key factor in our decision making is cost and demand. As we are restricted to size it has reached the point where expansion of 1 product means contraction of another so the economics has to be there
A: Return on investment i.e. money and time
A: Return on investment of expansion (needs to be 3X or greater) and labour cost. Reduction: cost per square foot and labour.
A: If it makes money, expand - if it loses money - quit
A: Time

Next Month’s ? Herding cats - what are some useful customer management tools that you use in your operation?
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Robert Spencer.
This information published to the web on May 29, 2017.