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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pasture is rotationally grazed by the Sickle family’s cows and calves.

TESA winner matches cover crops with cow herd

Steve Sickle rotationally grazes his cows and calves on pasture, but uses cover crops at the end of the season

Steve and Amanda Sickle of Brant County ended up in the beef cow business when they realized a rolling part of a farm they’d turned from pasture to crops was much better suited to pasture. The family had sold their beef cows when Steve’s dad broke his hip. “We brought them back when we realized […] Read more

Potatoes could benefit from a nurse crop, researchers say.

Nurse crops help potatoes face environmental factors

Starting crops with potatoes adds to organic matter and helps with erosion and droughty conditions

Young potato shoots are up against many environmental factors, such as drought, wind and water erosion, all of which are mainly due to a large decrease in soil organic matter. Now, researchers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) have found that nurse crops may be able to help potatoes by adding green manure to the […] Read more

Adzuki beans are planted in between wheat rows.

Relay cropping adzuki beans into winter wheat

A Woodville-area farmer aims to benefit from multiple crops in one field

A volunteer crop from the previous year growing between the rows of the present year’s crop represents a nuisance to most farmers, but not to Dustin Mulock. Instead, a patch of volunteer adzuki beans growing — as he described it to the recent annual general meeting of the Ontario Bean Growers (OBG) — “a stone’s […] Read more

Salford’s Valmar 56 box can be mounted or towed.

Tillage tools quickly becoming seeding tools

There are now many options to add cover crop seeding boxes to tillage equipment

As cover crops have increased in popularity, farmers are finding creative ways to plant them. For many farmers that has meant finding a way to get a seeder box onto a tillage implement of some kind. Why it matters: Cover crops can increase available nutrients, water and organic matter and reduce soil erosion over winter. […] Read more