Mobile trailers bring soil knowledge, research right to the farm

Units have soil research and audio visual technology to help with research plots and events

The LED screen on one of the two trailers will display data, presentations and live videos.

A new initiative is expected to showcase field demonstrations and applied soil research for the benefit of Ontario farmers.

The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) has assembled a Mobile Soil Technology Suite for all those interested in soil health. It consists of two trailers, specialized scientific tools, audio-visual gear and field-ready tools. The project received funding help from OMAFRA.

Why it matters: Soil health is a hot topic in agriculture. The suite transports knowledge and research to different parts of the province. 

“With the assistance of key partners, we will be able to support hands-on outdoor classrooms to help understand soil structure and how it contributes to soil health,” says Andrew Graham, executive director with OSCIA.

One trailer contains a large high-resolution LED screen to project data from sensors, live videos and allow for presentation materials. The other trailer will provide equipment storage for the field demonstrations. 

Trained team members will accompany the trailers to all events and activities.

The initiative is part of Ontario’s soil strategy. It provides OSCIA the opportunity to work with industry partners to show the implications of farm activities and equipment on soil health and water quality through on-farm demonstrations. 

“[It’s geared towards individuals] who are interested in soil health best practices, and to share knowledge in a way that we can transport to various events and make available widely,” says Baylee Rubinoff, development advisor for OSCIA. 

“Sophisticated hardware allows users to weigh equipment and then show the pressure extended on the soil at different depths and how it can be best managed. The LED display screen allows us to share data measurements in real time with participants to heighten understanding, and A/V equipment will lend very well to video production. These are just a few examples,” says Graham. 

The project is in the early stages. 

“We are planning to hold events with stakeholders across the soil and crop improvement associations in the province. Being able to bring demonstrations to our local associations so that farmers can see the latest in soil compaction research, water infiltration, soil health and other best management practices,” says Rubinoff. 

OSCIA is asking those interested in booking the Mobile Soil Technology Suite to contact the office at [email protected] Booking priority will be given to local and regional events first where OSCIA is involved. 

Bookings will be open to other agricultural groups and organizations in the future. 

“The equipment will be a focal point of applied research, demonstration and educational events for at least the next several years,” the OSCIA provincial office said. 

About the author

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Jennifer Glenney

Jennifer is a farm reporter who lives in Cayuga, Ontario.

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