Yield and remote sense mapping can help determine profitable and money-losing areas of farms.

Can it pay to stop farming unproductive land?

Taking underperforming areas of a field out of production can support farm profitability and conservation, say researchers

Can some farmers increase their profitability by not working underperforming parts of the field? Researchers at the University of Guelph think so. According to those researchers, combining conservation with crop production on a field-by-field level can better serve both the environment and producers’ bottom lines. Why it matters: Consistently underperforming areas of a farm hurt […] Read more

Project to fund 2000 acres of cover crops

The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) has announced that the Canadian Agricultural Partnership has granted $500,000 for UTRCA staff and local certified crop advisors to work closely with landowners and plant cover crops within a subwatershed of Medway Creek. The upper Medway Creek watershed will host this project over the next three years. UTRCA […] Read more

The ‘Smart Soils’ panel at the Ag 4.0.2 conference included Jordanna Kalis from SoilOptix, Taylor Vokes from Sprucedale Agromart and Jake Kraayenbrink, owner of Agbrink. The panel was moderated by Keith Reid (r), a local farmer and the Alternative Land Use Services program co-ordinator for Grey-Bruce.

Making technology work for healthier soil

Farmers have to make decisions on which soil-health technologies they want to adopt

Building and maintaining soil health increasingly involves technology. The challenge for farmers is deciding which approach they invest in to monitor and maintain their soil health. Three different approaches using technology to solve soil health problems were presented at the Grey County’s third annual Ag 4.0.2 conference held Nov. 1, 2018 in Meaford. Why it […] Read more

Dave Hooker (r) and Matt Stewart discuss one of their cover crop research trials during an update event at Ridgetown College, October 23.

Evaluating cover crops for the long term

Too early to assess corn and wheat yields, but the benefits to tomatoes already seem clear

It’s widely recognized that cover crops boost soil organic matter, but their long-term agronomic and economic benefits are less well understood. Researchers at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown and Elora campuses have undertaken some long-term studies to identify the impacts of cover crops in some growing conditions and management styles common to southwestern Ontario. Why […] Read more

Blake Vince has been using multi-species cover crop mixtures since 2011.

Cover crops help reverse soil organic matter loss

The benefits may not show up immediately so farmers need to be patient

In Ontario, where the loss of soil organic matter is a long-standing problem, cover crops and other cultivation strategies designed to improve soil structure are playing an increasingly important role in cropland sustainability. However, a variety of factors are limiting how quickly Ontario farmers are adopting cover crops, even as soil organic matter in the […] Read more

Strip tillage maintains year-round cover on most of the field, with some tillage where the seeds are to be planted.

OMAFRA strip till demo to highlight working units

The live demonstration gives farmers a chance to see strip till machines in the field

OMAFRA is taking soil health action to the field this year at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (COFS). The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is hosting a live strip tillage demonstration every day at 11:15 a.m. in the Southwest Demo Field at the show. This is in addition to the regular equipment demonstrations […] Read more

Greg Butler of the South Australia No-Till Farmers Association points to cuts made in wheat stubble by a waterjet-equipped planter during a session at the 2018 FarmSmart Expo, held July 12 at the University of Guelph’s Elora Research Station.

Waterjet use on planters eliminates coulter-soil contact

Aquatill concept remains in testing phase, but may offer options for no-till farmers

The use of pressurized water as a cutting tool has come full circle. It was used extensively to power away earth during the 1850s California Gold Rush. Now, after being adapted and refined to carry out high-tech, precision cutting of metals and other industrial materials indoors, the technology has turned back to the ground. Why […] Read more

Mike Wilson is working on profitability mapping solutions for farmers with Veritas.  Photo: John Greig

Mapping profit can drive precision-farming decisions

Precision farming can find the high yield and low yield, high fertility and low fertility areas of a farm, but the missing link has been how that ties to profitability. Why it matters: The capacity to apply nutrients variably across a crop field isn’t new, but it’s been difficult for farmers to see the justification of […] Read more

Farmers are making use of cover crops to manage numerous soil quality issues.  Photo: John Greig

Soil health tips from long-time tillage reducers

Managing soil means managing water, say farmers who have worked hard to maintain their soil while growing high yielding crops. Why it matters: Soil organic matter levels continue to decline across major agriculture areas. The solutions are complex and sometimes contradictory, and often depend on local soil quality. “Healthy soil means faster water infiltration,” said Ken […] Read more