Canola Council resets course for ‘efficiencies’

Facing new limits on available funding, Canada’s canola value chain organization plans to refocus its work on its “core strengths” and collaborate with other players. The Canola Council of Canada on Wednesday announced a revised work plan, coming out of a “priorities review” undertaken after one of Canada’s biggest grain companies called a halt to […] Read more

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

Farmers who sign on to projects are also compensated for the time required to manage and maintain each project, on a 
per-acre basis.

Conservation planning is about more than the environment

ALUS project numbers continue to grow across the province

Is it possible to grow better crops by removing specific areas from production? Some Ontario farmers participating in Alternative Land Use Services conservation programs think so. They say they also see conservation projects as beneficial to the overall profitability of their farm business. Why it matters: On-farm conservation is expensive, but given the right partners, […] Read more

A field of flax with a windmill in the background near Zeewolde, Netherlands. The flax will be sold for fibre to make linen in France.

Protecting the health of the soil resource

Dutch farmers receive outside assistance to maintain a sustainable crop rotation on a small land base

Dutch potato farmer Gert-Jan van Dongen may not own the land he farms on but that isn’t stopping him from being concerned about its future. Van Dongen runs a potato farm near Zeewolde, Netherlands, but doesn’t own the land, instead renting it from the Dutch government. Land rents in the Netherlands average 791 euros per […] Read more

Over 30 years, the active ingredient volume of herbicide applied on crops has declined in Ontario, mostly because glyphosate 
is applied at lower rates than the herbicides it replaces.

Glyphosate drives long-term herbicide changes

Ontario keeps track of detailed herbicide use every five years, which shows how the use of active ingredient has declined

A study of glyphosate use in Ontario shows the herbicide has created significant change in crop management. It shows that while corn and soybean acreage and yield have increased in the province since 1983, the impact of herbicide use per acre has declined, in large part because glyphosate has displaced other herbicide chemistries. Why it […] Read more

A robust winter canola crop got out of the ground well in 2016, as shown by this plant from an October planting.

OMAFRA crop report: hail-damaged corn, later cover crops and winter canola

The opportunity to get some cover crops planted is coming to an end soon

Thunderstorms brought some localized hail events through parts of southwestern Ontario, particularly during the last week of July. Like most plant stresses, yield loss from defoliation increases through vegetative stages, peaks around tassel or pollination, and declines through grain-fill. For example, using the defoliation table from OMAFRA Agronomy Guide — Pub 811, estimated yield loss […] 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

Meghan Moran (l) and Dr. Eric Page (r) both work researching canola in Ontario.

Crop Rotation Options: Winter canola 101

There are good profitability, rotation and weed management reasons to grow winter canola

Winter canola has never particularly caught on in southwestern Ontario. But now researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Research and Development Centre in Harrow are giving farmers the knowledge and tools to elevate the oilseed in this province. A June 21 event at the research station highlighted how producers can incorporate winter canola into their […] Read more