News related to Advancing Research Impact: 2019-20 Agri-Food Yearbook

Beat disease, eat your beans: Researchers develop motivators for bean consumption in older adults

Beans and other legumes are vital, affordable, nutrient-dense keys to reducing risk of disease, such as obesity and diabetes. That’s especially true for Ontario’s aging population—in Canada, a quarter of all citizens are 65 years or older and naturally prone to health challenges.

To effectively promote the benefits of beans, researchers set out to benchmark and encourage bean consumption in older adults.

Oluwatimileyin Abolarin holding a goat

U of G student discovers agriculture industry through goat reproduction research

Ontario’s goat sector is growing by leaps and bounds, and that’s where field research can be helpful. Agri-food researchers spend time in the field to become familiar with their topic of study. This allows them to learn what producers are facing as they work toward sustainable production.

Bonnie Mallard and Lauri Wagter-Lesperance look at a petri dish

Building their best herd: HIR technology carries big benefits for dairy producers looking to naturally improve herd health and reduce veterinary treatment costs

Treating sick cows is never fun, for either the animal or the farmer. Just ask dairy producer Brad Hulshof. While he’s in the barn tending an animal, everything else he has to do around the farm takes a back seat. Plus, it’s costly—producers like Hulshof invest about $1,800 in life’s usual necessities (particularly feed) from the time a calf is born, up until the animal calves in turn and starts producing milk. Add the cost of extraordinary veterinary treatment to the mix, and that number can climb appreciably.

Researchers with Compression Moulder

Toward greater sustainability Bioengineering researchers are converting food waste into compostable packaging

Canada’s ever-growing population is accumulating food waste—currently, more than half of the food produced in Canada ends up in the garbage.

A research team at the University of Guelph is finding ways to convert food waste into compostable packaging through bioengineering.

Prof. Manjusri Misra, School of Engineering, and her research team are searching for ways to use non-food biomass and innovative production processes to create sustainable packaging.

Illustration entitled "Tackling Food Waste" which identifies 8 opportunities outlined below

Tackling Ontario’s $12-billion food waste problem

Ontario’s food system follows a linear model, meaning that our food waste has an end point and is not being repurposed as it would be in a circular economy. As a result, Ontario is saddled with a whopping $12 billion in food waste across the entire value chain, from farmers to retailers to households.

University of Guelph researchers are working to identify areas that will help the province reduce food waste’s economic impact.

Field of muck crops in rows

Marvellous muck: Muck soil’s loose particles let vegetables grow with ease

Hidden in plain sight—if that’s even possible, with Ontario’s bustling Highway 400 cutting through it—is one of North America’s most influential vegetable field research facilities, the Government of Ontario’s Bradford Muck Crops Research Station.

As field research stations go, it’s hidden because it’s relatively small. At just four acres, it’s about the size of four football fields.

Helping camelina catch on: This durable and versatile crop has potential for Ontario farmers

A so-called ancient oilseed called camelina is attracting attention in Ontario. Researchers believe it has potential as a superb cover crop here and are field testing it now in research plots in Simcoe, Winchester and Ridgetown.

Camelina, a member of the mustard plant family, originated in Europe. It was first identified in Canada in the mid-1800s. It’s realized significant growth in Western Canada over the past decade among producers who appreciate its winter hardiness and versatility.

Unique nutrient medium offers unparalleled support for apple tree growth.

Big plans for micropropagation

Efforts to replace agriculture and food imports with homegrown products are arising in even the most specialized market segments, such as micropropagated trees.

Micropropagation uses small parts of plants instead of stem or root cuttings, allowing more trees to be grown faster. This innovation is important—demand for apple root stocks and varieties is predicted to reach more than two million plants per year for at least the next decade.