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

This no-till drill is used to plant cover crops and prairie grass buffer strips. It is loaned to farmers by the ERC.

Local demonstration showcased soil management options

Machinery demonstration designed to spur more thinking on soil health

Reading Time: 3 minutes A Kingsville-area demonstration day was held July 23 to showcase a variety of tillage and other equipment and how each can be used to improve soil management. But while the machinery was the focus visually, the main purpose of the event was to highlight how producers can incorporate profitable and environmental production changes using both […] Read more


This is what the farm looks like now, cleared of stone fences and leveled in places.

The challenges of upgrading a farm for modern production

A Grey County producer transformed a stony farm with many fields

Reading Time: 4 minutes Adrian Op’t Hoog knew he was taking on a challenge when he bought about 200 acres that had been in cow-calf production for generations. There were 16 different fields and pastures, many separated by stone fences, piled up over years from the rocky ground near Feversham. Two years in, the soil is covered and the […] Read more

Don Lobb testifies at the Senate committee on Agriculture and Forestry.

Senate committee hears that soils need new priority

Soil experts testify that the federal government should take a greater role in soil research and data management

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Senate committee on Agriculture and Forestry recently heard that agricultural soil is declining, and the issue needs more attention from the federal government. Five presenters, including several from Ontario, told the committee that trends to less tillage have declined as crop prices have generally been strong and farms have grown larger. Why it matters: […] Read more

Wet weather lifts, corn, soybean planting begins

Ontario Field Crop Report for the week of May 20

Reading Time: 3 minutes The rains eased up a bit in the last week or so allowing some field activity, mainly on the sandier soils. Temperatures have remained on the cool side. Crop heat unit accumulation since May 1st is 175 which means that corn planted May 1 would just be emerging. Corn, soybean and tomato planting has begun. […] Read more


Limited progress seen with planting, seeding efforts

Ontario Field Crop Report for the week of May 13

Reading Time: 4 minutes The weather story continues this week with very little change across the province in terms of field activity, including fertilizer and pesticide application to wheat, manure application, field preparation and planting. A small number of acres were planted on the lighter soils across the province, where conditions permitted, but to date less than 10 per […] Read more

Cover crops can help keep soil from getting too hot and too cool too quickly in the fall.

Keeping cool under cover a benefit of cover crops

American farmers use cover crops to moderate soil temperature

Reading Time: 3 minutes Cover crops can positively affect a wide range of soil health characteristics. According to some American farmers, the ability of cover crops to moderate soil temperature is also important but less visually noticeable. Why it matters: Extreme soil temperatures limit biological activity. Keeping the ground covered helps moderate those swings, benefitting crops. According to Adam […] Read more