Water Use Efficiency

Thursday, July 9, 2020

By: Caitlin Congdon, Acting Vegetable Specialist

As members of the agriculture industry, we feel the effects of the weather in everything we do and even more so in a year full of challenges, like the one that we’ve had so far. With so little rain in June for most parts of the province (Table 1) and irrigation ponds running lower than usual for this time of year, it is important to take some steps to ensure efficient water usage.

Table 1. Precipitation in Nova Scotia in June 2020 compared to the historical average from June 1981-2010.

Weather Station Location

Total Precipitation June 2020 (mm)

Average Precipitation for June 1981-2010 (mm)

Percentage of Historical Average Rainfall for June (%)

Kentville

49.1

81.6

60.17

Greenwood

25.2

81.0

31.11

Debert

33.9

95.9

35.35

Yarmouth

16.3

94.8

17.19

Sydney

84.0

96.9

86.69

Nappan

20.8

82.6

25.18

 

Make sure irrigation equipment is in good working order.

A cracked irrigation pipe or a leak at a loose fitting may seem like a small issue when there are so many other things that need to be done in the run of a day – especially when labour is already in tight supply. Over the course of a week, you may be losing significant amounts of water which could make the difference for one of your crops later in the season. Check all components and connections in the irrigation system regularly and carry out preventative maintenance when possible.

                               

Although trickle irrigation is more efficient than overhead types, it is still possible to have breaks or poor connections. These lines should be checked and maintained as well.

Irrigate in the morning or evening to avoid excess evaporation.

Where there is limited irrigation equipment or there are many crops that need to be irrigated, it may not be possible to avoid irrigating when the water is most likely to evaporate, when the sun is blazing and the wind is high. Irrigating when there is less chance of water loss to evaporation may be a more efficient method but may also exacerbate disease infections. If there is disease present already, or the crop is particularly susceptible to fungal infections, irrigating at night may provide the cool and damp temperatures needed for disease to flourish. Weigh the benefits of each option and choose what makes the most sense for your crop.

                                           

Greenhouses can experience water stress as well.

In the field, drought stress usually develops over time, allowing the plants to get used to the environmental changes little by little, but in the greenhouse where the environment is more controlled, an abrupt reduction in water supply may cause severe physiological stress in the plants. Be sure to monitor water supply and start rationing if necessary, to ease the shock that would be caused by sudden drought stress.

                                 

Be prepared to make tough choices.

In long periods of drought there may come a point where water supply is so limited that there isn’t enough capacity to water every crop sufficiently. Some factors to consider in deciding which crops take priority for water include critical growth stage, effect on marketability, value of the crop, etc.

For more information, check out OMAFRA’s factsheet “How to Prepare for Irrigation During Water Shortages”.



Upcoming Webinar on U-Pick and On-Farm Produce Sales

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The recent announcement that u-picks will be allowed to operate this summer brings with it the task of figuring out how to make that happen while adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. On June 2nd from 4-5pm, join us for a webinar on “Strategies and Adaptations for U-Pick and On-Farm Produce Sales”. This will be an opportunity to discuss practical management strategies to reduce risks associated with COVID-19. Speakers include Perennia Horticulture and Food Safety specialists as well as Farm Safety Nova Scotia.

Representatives from Perennia’s Horticulture Team, Horticulture Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture will also be on hand as we address your questions and concerns. There will be a question and answer session live during the webinar, so come prepared!


Please visit the following link to register for this informative session.
We look forward to having you there and working together to have a successful season!

"Getting Into the Weeds Series" Now Available Online!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The final installment of the "Getting into the Weeds" Workshop Series is now available on Perennia's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lMjHtcBZcM&t=3s

In this webinar, Gavin Graham, New Brunswick Minor Use Coordinator, and Peter Burgess, Perennia Integrated Pest Management Specialist discuss recent changes in the last few years to pesticides. In addition, Angela Gourd, Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture Plant Protection Coordinator, takes participants through the results from strawberry, onion, and carrot weed surveys.

Be sure to check out the other videos in this series, including "Winter Greens Production" with David Blanchard of Pleasant Hill Farm, and "Food Safety Success" with Shelly MacDonald and Elaine Grant of Perennia's Food Safety Team.

BEYONG THE 3R’s – FINDING A PATH TO SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING

Friday, March 6, 2020

Perennia is hosting a session on sustainable packaging that might interest you:
"Beyond the 3R’s – finding a path to sustainable packaging" with Dr. Loong-Tak Lim from the University of Guelph and Nina Goodrich from the Sustainable Packaging Coalition on Thursday, March 12 at 7:45 AM (breakfast/in-person session or webinar option)
For more information or to register, please check out Perennia's Events page.

This is part of the “Take Your Product to Market” series, happening over the next several weeks which includes webinars on food safety, labeling, packaging for your brand, and preparing for customer meetings.

WORKSHOP: RECORD KEEPING FOR FINANCIAL AND FOOD SAFETY SUCCESS

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

It doesn’t matter if you’re a start-up, or a seasoned business owner who grows crops of any kind. This session is for anyone who wants a gold star in field and crop record keeping and facilitate meeting Canada GAP certification and streamlining that process through good bookkeeping.

Please join us for the next Getting Into the Weeds session on Thursday, March 5th from 9:00 - 4:00 at the Hilton Garden Inn near the Halifax Airport.  Registration is required, the cost of the workshop is $50 and includes lunch.  Click here to register.

Excellent crop records are needed for:

  1. 1. On farm food safety documentation
  2. 2. Buyer requirements
  3. 3. Traceability
  4. 4. Evaluation of results - production and financial

This hands-on workshop will give you tools for recording and retrieving the information you need to satisfy the above requirements.

Participants will be using their own information to create a data file and enter records; not sample data. The instructor will be available to all participants to answer questions and provide guidance. Handouts will be provided. Please note there will be some pre-workshop prep by participants.

Workshop: Record Keeping for Financial and Food Safety Success

It doesn’t matter if you’re a start-up, or a seasoned business owner who grows crops of any kind. This session is for anyone who wants a gold star in field and crop record keeping and facilitate meeting Canada GAP certification and streamlining that process through good bookkeeping.

Please join us for the next Getting Into the Weeds session on Thursday, March 5th from 9:00 - 4:00 at the Hilton Garden Inn near the Halifax Airport.  Registration is required, the cost of the workshop is $50 and includes lunch.  Click here to register.

Excellent crop records are needed for:

  1. 1. On farm food safety documentation
  2. 2. Buyer requirements
  3. 3. Traceability
  4. 4. Evaluation of results - production and financial

This hands-on workshop will give you tools for recording and retrieving the information you need to satisfy the above requirements.

Participants will be using their own information to create a data file and enter records; not sample data. The instructor will be available to all participants to answer questions and provide guidance. Handouts will be provided. Please note there will be some pre-workshop prep by participants.

UPCOMING CANADA GAP WORKSHOPS

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Canada GAP Workshops
The updated versions of the CanadaGAP Food Safety Manuals have been released and will take effect on April 1, 2020. Become familiar with these new updates at one of Perennia’s CanadaGAP workshops happening in March with Kim Best from Prospect Agri-Services. You can find the full details in the poster. Don’t miss out on this opportunity! Registration is now open on our website.
 



Contact Us

Our Quality and Food Safety Team can help in a variety of ways. If you have training questions, contact Shelly MacDonald. If you need help with a regulatory issue, contact Rick Kane. If you have any other food safety concerns or questions contact Elaine Grant, and she will direct your query to the appropriate team member.