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A bee sitting on a white flower with a banner icon at the bottom that says Ontario Agri-Food Alliance Research 2020-21 Yearbook.

Sampling wild bee pollinators in commercial fruit crops

Apple crops rely on pollinators to reproduce, so growers often spend thousands of dollars every year to house and manage honeybee colonies. However, previous studies have shown that, when diverse and abundant, wild bees can provide significant pollination services in orchards. Depending on the apple variety, growers may be able to use fewer hives or none at all.

Student Matt Stewart standing in field looking out at it with a banner at the bottom of the photo that says Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance Research 2020-21 Yearbook

A long-term look at cover crops

From mid-summer until the following spring, some Ontario fields lie fallow while others are covered with crops designed to rejuvenate the soil. University of Guelph researchers are investigating various combinations of cover crops to see which ones offer the best environmental and economic improvements. This long-term study is being conducted at the Ontario Crops Research Centre sites in both Elora and Ridgetown, coordinated by plant agriculture professors Dr. Manish Raizada and Dr. Dave Hooker, respectively.

Corncob Silks Could Have Crop Protection Powers, U of G Researchers Discover

That silky, gold-coloured tuft you normally discard along with your corncob husks is worth more than you think.

For the first time, an Alliance research team has shown corn silks naturally contain diverse microbes, a finding that may point to a new strategy to protect the cob from fungal infections.

Their discovery of this corn silk microbiome may help improve breeding and farming practices to avert costly and harmful fungal outbreaks, protect one of the world’s three most important food crops and increase food security globally.

Gryphon statue on the U of G campus

Introducing the 2021 Gryphon’s LAAIR grant recipients

Since 2014, the Gryphon’s LAAIR (Leading to the Accelerated Adoption of Innovative Research) program has offered researchers who identify market potential in their agri-food inventions an opportunity to understand how their ideas can contribute to Ontario’s $37 billion agri-food industry.

Social Media Prove a Reliable Predictor of COVID-19 Waves: U of G Study

A veterinary and computer science research team led by professors Dr. Rozita Dara (School of Computer Science) and Dr. Shayan Sharif (Department of Pathobiology) has developed a system using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to detect outbreak locations and predict infectious diseases’ capacity to spread further.

Originally focused on tracking global outbreaks of avian influenza, the research has recently expanded to use social media to predict waves of COVID-19.

Conceptual image of cows in a barn with data icons pointing to sensors on the cow and equipment

Join us for a webinar on harvesting data at Ontario's agri-food research centres

Join University of Guelph researchers on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. for a webinar on harvesting data at Ontario's agri-food research centres. The panel will focus on the new research station data access portal at the Elora Research Station and discuss how new data resources are being used to inform and advance dairy and beef research. Register here.

New growth: Hands holding soil that is sprouting a seedling.

Projects funded by the Alliance in 2020

Research funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance solves real-world challenges and yields meaningful innovations that contribute to the success of the province’s agri-food sector and promote rural economic development throughout Ontario. See the list of projects that were approved in 2020 for Alliance programs.

Illustration of the future Ontario Swine Research Centre with one large central barn and one smaller barn connected via a hallway to either side of it.

Update on the Ontario Swine Research Centre

The University of Guelph, in partnership with the Government of Ontario and the Ontario swine industry, is overseeing the construction of a new swine research centre at the Elora Research Station. The new centre will enhance existing capacity for research, innovation and development of new technology. The tender has been issued and construction expected to begin this year. Read more about the project underway >

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