Ensuring stability and continuity at Ontario's agricultural research stations during the first 100 days of coronavirus
In July we passed a milestone: 100 days since a state of emergency was declared in Ontario because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many businesses and organizations were forced to pause, re-evaluate, and plan for how they would safely continue operations.
The 15 agricultural research stations across Ontario are home to thousands of animals and time-sensitive crop experiments. With additional biosecurity precautions in place, station staff and researchers continued their essential work – ensuring animals were fed, watered and healthy; planting seeds; reconfiguring pasture land; and maintaining the infrastructure that allows this essential work to continue.
Here is a glimpse into only a few of the research station activities that happened at Ontario's agri-food research stations during the first 100 days of COVID-19.
Text version of images:
- Animals born/hatched during this time: 322 calves, 89 lambs, 1,828 piglets, 6,783 chicks, and 2,226 broodstock/juveniles in hatchery;
- Vegetables and field crops planted: Elora, Arkell, Ponsonby Research Station Operations: 500 ha; Emo: 1,015 plots; New Liskeard (+Verner): 4,307 plots; Bradford: 5.7 ha; Woodstock: 83 ha (14,600 test plots) and 12 Farm Show exhibitor plots planted; Winchester: 3,604 plots;
- Horticultural crops planted/started: At the New Liskeard SPUD unit: 8 unique crops tissue-cultured; 76 strawberry, 14 raspberry cultivars in screenhouse; 236,000 mL media prepared; 70,800 plants ( 212,400 aseptic hand manipulations with scissors and scalpels). At Simcoe, 220 ha;
- Supporting the agri-food industry: 55,882 rainbow trout eggs to commercial hatcheries; 250 ha wheat straw purchased from neighbouring farms; coordinated export of 8 strawberry cultivars; agreements requested by Berry Growers of Ontario and Ontario Seed Potato Growers Association;
- New pasture management research at New Liskeard; 35,576 whitefish fry delivered to a fishery, in Guelph, 59 cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass tested for drought tolerance + only National Turfgrass Evaluation Program; 1st year of a 3-year cover crop biofumigant trial in Bradford.
- Equipment installation began at the new Precision Feed Centre in #Elora; 6 new covered bunks substantially complete; 1,218 tonnes of 2020 first-cut hay ensiled. In #Guelph, portable rain-out shelter for turfgrass trials constructed. Simcoe, new lab, storage and workspace complete.