by PAT CURRIE
The Ontario government announced Wednesday that it is investing $300,000 in new research aimed at protecting and conserving water while strengthening agri-food industries.
The water-related research is part of almost $1.3 million provided under the New Directions research program. The program also includes projects aimed at the emerging organic and ethnic markets, the ornamental horticulture (flowers and plants) sector and food processing.
The Centre for Agricultural Renewable Energy and Sustainability in Ridgetown has commissioned a research biodiesel facility to investigate technological, economic and environmental aspects of biodiesel production. Researchers will investigate how the wastewater can be used to purify crude glycerol (useful as an animal feed ingredient) and help compost waste from poultry farms. Benefits could include reducing costs, improving water use and quality, and improving air quality from poultry operations.
Researchers will also compare water use in 20 dairy systems on several farms. The findings will be will then be shared with other dairy farmers. Researchers will measure how much water is used for such things as cleaning cows before milking and washing dairy equipment and milking parlours.
Researchers will also probe water use at greenhouses producing vegetables, plants and flowers. Five innovative treatment technologies will be evaluated under field conditions for their effectiveness in providing high-quality water for re-use. The best technologies will then be shared with the horticulture industry. BF