Buckwheat produces white flowers and seed throughout its growing time.

Looking for a fourth crop to your rotation?

Pollinator-friendly buckwheat shows value in corn-soybean-wheat rotation

Reading Time: 4 minutes In his search for a fourth crop, Henry Denotter, a Kingsville-area grain grower, has turned his attention to buckwheat — a long-established but comparatively unpopular grain now used predominantly in cover cropping. Why it matters: Diversity in crop rotation is a critical part of environmental sustainability, as well as a farm’s economic longevity. Finding a […] Read more

The last time the state of Canada’s soil was analyzed was in the 1980s.

Eastern Canada gets poor grades on soil

A report card compares soil management and health between Eastern and Western Canada

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Soil Conservation Council of Canada has released its first national soil health report card. The soil grades are based on farmer changes made over the past five to 10 years, soil conditions, and whether organic matter levels have improved. “It wasn’t in terms of hard data, but just from my experience and research, extensions […] Read more

Cargill-led fund to pay U.S. farmers for carbon capture

Reading Time: 2 minutes Reuters – Global commodities trader Cargill Inc. starting this spring plans to pay American farmers for capturing carbon in their field soils and reducing fertilizer runoff, an executive said. The Soil and Water Outcomes Fund, a partnership with the Iowa Soybean Association and third-party verification company Quantified Ventures, will then sell the environmental credits created […] Read more

A field within the Medway Creek water quality project.

Promoting winter cover crops with local data

Conservation authority looking for cover crop impact on water quality in Upper Thames

Reading Time: 2 minutes In an effort to improve water quality, the Upper Thames Conservation Authority (UTCA) is promoting cover crop adoption by making data on the environmental efficacy of winter cover more relevant to local farmers. Why it matters: Better economic data would help farmers making decisions about whether to use cover crops. The UTCA is pursuing the […] Read more

It’s likely to be years until we have a completely solid set of best practices for managing soils.

Editorial: Still lots to know about mechanisms of soil health

Reading Time: 3 minutes The maintenance of soil health has come into much greater prominence in the past five to 10 years. That’s an important step — our soils are the basis of civilization and those that have not understood that have had civilizations collapse. Check out the Nile River delta today. We’re a long way from the lack […] Read more

Reduced beef production in Ontario has resulted in less land planted to hay.

Ontario producers told to make way for hay

More forage in a crop rotation helps improve soil health

Reading Time: 2 minutes Glacier FarmMedia – Ontario farmers are being told they need to get back into hay production. “We want farmers to consider hay production as a complement to row crop and cash crop production to renew soil,” said Fritz Trauttmansdorff, a farmer and founding member of the Ontario Hay and Forage Co-operative. Why it matters: Soil […] Read more

University of Guelph research showed there was significantly less leaching of nitrate in a trial where cover crops were grown.

Cover crops decrease nitrate leaching

Living mass within soil reduces concentration of nitrate

Reading Time: 2 minutes A recent study at the University of Guelph found cover crops help to reduce nitrate leaching, a threat to the environment. Masters student Jared Lapierre studied how cover crops help to better control nitrate leaching in two different soil types. Why it matters: Cover crops are known to help store and contain nutrients by increasing […] Read more

Sean Jordan of University of Guelph Environmental Sciences, pictured with lysimeter.

Interpretive centre heading into fourth season with lysimeters

Unique sensors help collect data points to determine soil health

Reading Time: 2 minutes In 2016 the Soil Health Interpretive Centre installed 18 lysimeters to help measure data points within soil to understand soil health. The instalment is the biggest of its kind in North America. “There are 230 in the world and we have 18 of them,” says Sean Jordan, research technician with the School of Environmental Sciences […] Read more

Dan Dreckon and Greg Hannam of Woodrill Farms use soil mapping to make management decisions.

Halton area farmers doing their part to improve soil health

There’s no one correct way to manage soil health

Reading Time: 3 minutes Soil health continues to be a concern for producers and consumers across the country as quality dwindles. On Aug. 15, 2019 the Halton Soil and Crop Improvement Association put together a soil health seminar and farm tour to reiterate to showcase soil health concerns – along with what farmers are doing to improve it. Why […] Read more

If a cover crop is to survive after a corn crop in Ontario, it has to be interseeded.

Cover crops: Short-term pain but long-term gain

A U.S. study underlines the benefits, but costs of adoption can be higher north of the border

Reading Time: 4 minutes A new, coast-to-coast study in the U.S. tracks five years of the financial benefits of including cover crops in corn and soybean rotations, but the numbers may not apply in Ontario. Why it matters: One factor that can prevent adoption of cover crops is the effect on bottom line due to additional costs such as […] Read more