Environment and agriculture research projects
Acadian Seaplants Ltd
Acadian Seaplants Ltd (ASL), a world-class biotech manufacturer of marine plant products for people, animals and plants, has developed a crop biostimulant derived from seaweed. Through extensive research, ASL has determined that their biostimulant increases yields and nitrogen content of crops, however the specific reason behind these increases is unknown.
The EATLab is working with ASL to determine if the addition of the biostimulant increases fertilizer nitrogen uptake. Results have the potential to reduce fertilizer application needs when producers use the biostimulant.
Scotia Garden Seafood
Scotia Garden Seafood (SGS) is a family owned and operated seafood harvesting and processing company. They produce dried seaweed and fish meal, which are sold as a food additive to increase nutritional uptake by livestock. SGS is looking to expand their market beyond food additives and explore other opportunities for their products in the agricultural sector.
SGS is collaborating with the EATLab to determine if there are agricultural benefits of adding seaweed, fish and seaweed dust to soil on crop yield and soil nitrogen cycling. Results will determine is SGS can use their products as an organic fertility option for farmers and general consumers looking for alternatives to manufactured fertilizers.
Spurr Brothers Farm is a large producer of early season potatoes, meaning they plant shortly after snowmelt. Growing early season potatoes comes with increased risk of frost damage that can lower yields and cause total crop losses as opposed to planting later in the season.
When there is a potential frost risk, growers need to decide whether to leave their crop unprotected and risk damage to benefit from an early harvest or cover up their crop with soil to delay that harvest. Delaying the harvest results in a lower income for the producer but ensures a crop to harvest. Currently, this decision is made by each producers based on previous experience.
The EATLab is working with Spurr Brothers to determine what frost temperatures and length of frost exposure detrimentally affects potato seedlings. This will create a research-based, decision-making process on whether to risk frost damage or cover up the crops.
Nova Scotia wine mapping tool
Thirty years since the granting of the first winery license, the Nova Scotia Wine industry has achieved a significant profile. Growth in this sector and improved wine quality has led to economic, cultural and lifestyle benefits for the province.
The EATLab is creating a geo-database containing a variety of observed and forecasted information. Using a web-based software application, grape growers and wineries will have easy access to this information from a browser in graphical (maps) and textual formats.
Agriculture bio-resource suitability model
Global pressure for environmentally friendly and renewable products is driving demand for bio-products and creating a new economic engine considered the "bio-economy." As a result, the province of Nova Scotia has been looking to invest in bio-product development to help to grow the province's economy. EATLab is using spatial data on agricultural land use, feedstock locations, infrastructure and climate data to unlock the potential of the region as a viable location for bio-resource production.
The overall goal is to build an online GIS web based application for field staff, potential growers, and potential investors in the bio-resource sector. Users will be able to understand the feedstock potential and site locations around the high-potential areas for dedicated biomass crop production.