Hazelnut growers to benefit from weather data collection
International confectioners Ferrero created an opportunity for an explosion in hazelnut farming in Ontario. The makers of the popular Ferrero Rocher chocolates and Nutella are anticipating upwards of 20,000 acres of hazelnut trees planted across the province in the next decade. The challenge is developing hazelnut orchard management practices to meet these demands, as there is minimal growth tracking data of the trees. To help collect essential data, Ferrero has turned to the Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre to devise a way to collect the necessary data.
A custom growth monitoring system was developed for hazelnut trees and can be used by growers across Ontario. The system will monitor current hazelnut farms to see how weather affects the growth of trees and crop yield. The data from sensors and a time-lapse camera is sent to Niagara College servers and stored in a database, which can be used to analyze the data over the history of the project. The data collected will be used by growers and Ferrero to determine best hazelnut management practices for the establishment of successful hazelnut crops.
Funding: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), through its College Strategic Sector/Cluster Technology Platform (CSSCTP).
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