Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of up to $560,425 for Institut de recherche et de développement en agroenvironnement Inc. (IRDA) to develop a new, integrated system of precision fruit tree farming.
Canadian apple growers operate in a competitive environment and face many challenges including threats from pests and disease, increased frequency of extreme weather events and labour shortages. IRDA is using the funds to pilot and test a system that uses exclusion netting, narrow fruiting walls and mechanized operations.
Adoption of these labour-saving technology and practices as well as improved crop protection methods will help the sector continue to produce high-quality apples while moving toward pesticide-free growing. The project will also help the sector cope with the impacts of extreme weather brought on by climate change and reduce or eliminate the use of most pesticides used in fruit growing.
Precision agriculture is helping farmers better manage their operations and become more efficient and competitive. Investing in innovative precision agriculture tools and cutting-edge approaches is a fundamental way to help the Canadian agricultural sector grow and remain competitive.
By integrating a suite of advanced fruit tree technologies and techniques into one system, IRDA’s innovative approach would be a first of its kind in North America. The Government of Canada is committed to investing in innovative and sustainable solutions to help tackle the challenges facing the Canadian apple industry.