Closeup of a plowed field, fertile, black soil.

Revitalizing soil with manure and cover crops after harvesting wheat

OMAFRA Field Crop Report for July 21

Reading Time: 2 minutes Wheat in a crop rotation provides many benefits, including spreading weather risks that can impact yields and balancing workload more evenly between planting and harvest season. Wheat also provides the opportunity to revitalize the soil; to disrupt pest cycles; alleviate compaction and increase subsequent corn and soybean crop yields. Best of all, wheat in rotation […] Read more

Blake Vince has devised several equipment modifications to manage seeding through thick residue.

How to plant into thick cover crops

Two farmers share their strategies for planting green

Reading Time: 4 minutes Accounting for corn stalks in the spring is one thing. Planting through thick green cover crops is another.  Standard planter setups don’t quite cut it in such cases. For Blake Vince and Larry Dyck, who are both cover crop enthusiasts and experimenters, on-farm equipment customization has been the solution.  Why it matters: Thick green cover […] Read more

Canopeo images of establishment of spring barley and fall rye for the P.E.I. cover crop trials showing establishment rates depending on the plant dates and seed rates. All images were captured Nov. 17.

Fall and full-season cover crops show promise in potato trials

Some varieties have shown yield increases and erosion control

Reading Time: 3 minutes Cover crop trials in Prince Edward Island potato fields are yielding promising results. Over the last two years, Ryan Barrett, research and agronomy specialist, Prince Edward Island Potato Board, has run fall-seeded and full-season cover crop trials to assess if there are an overall soil and potato harvest benefit. Why it matters: An estimated 80 […] Read more

There are consistent yield benefits for following crops when wheat is in a rotation.

Finding the tools to build soil

Intensifying wheat production can help make the soil-building crop more profitable

Reading Time: 3 minutes Wheat and cover crops may not be the most profitable of cash cows, but the indirect benefits to grain growers’ bottom lines are significant.  Keeping winter wheat in the rotation, that is, has been shown to consistently boost both corn and soybean yields in Ontario. Those numbers go even higher when red clover is also […] Read more

Cover crop systems can take five years to learn and establish.

Cash flow and cover crops

Adaptation and experience reduce upfront costs and improve returns

Reading Time: 3 minutes Cover crops are environmentally beneficial but to determine if they pay for themselves, growers need to provide detailed data on costs and revenue.  Aaron Breimer, general manager for Deveron’s Chatham-based Veritas Farm Management, says his experience with cover crops highlights the need to repeatedly verify a practice before concluding whether it’s profitable or not.  Why […] Read more

Callum Morrison is conducting his doctoral research on cover crops.

Survey aims to build cover crop data

There’s lots yet to learn about cover crop use in Ontario

Reading Time: < 1 minute A survey conducted for the Ontario Cover Crops Steering Committee aims to improve understanding around levels of cover crop use in Ontario. The survey is open to the end of March. Callum Morrison, a PhD student at the University of Manitoba is conducting the survey on behalf of the Ontario group. A Prairie survey on […] Read more

Dr. Laura Van Eerd, out in a field where she conducts her research.

Van Eerd, Denotter honoured with OSCIA Soil Champion Award

Roger and David Buurma recognized for on-farm ingenuity with Don Hill Legacy Award

Reading Time: 3 minutes Two soil health contributors were honoured with Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) 2021 Soil Champion Awards. “This year we are lucky enough to be able to award two worthy nominees,” said Chad Anderson, OSCIA president. “One in the producer category and one in the extension category.” Dr. Laura Van Eerd, a professor of […] Read more

Cover crops were swathed at the South Dakota Lakes Research Farm and will be grazed over the winter.

Let nature direct ecosystem health

Researcher says agriculture needs to learn from how water, soil function in nature

Reading Time: 4 minutes I have learned more from observing Nature than by trying to change it,” said Dwayne Beck. Beck, the research manager at Dakota Lakes Research Farm (DLRF) in Pierre, South Dakota, spoke at the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association conference. Why it matters: Learning how to manage for better soil health is critical for future generations […] Read more

Mike Swidersky grazed weaned sheep on a clover cover crop which was underseeded in wheat.

Relationships crucial for farm-to-farm cover crop grazing

Neighboring farmers find mutual benefit in livestock grazing, farming arrangement

Reading Time: 4 minutes There’s opportunity for the grazing of cover crops, whether it’s livestock farmers using their own cropland and animals, or offering services to cash-cropping neighbours. That was the overarching message delivered over three successive Tuesday evening Zoom meetings, hosted through November by the Cover Crop Grazing Committee — a collaboration between OMAFRA, Beef Farmers of Ontario, […] Read more

Soil fungi numbers appear to be similar in different systems, but the types of fungi change, researchers have found.

Finding the right fungus

First steps taken to identify and promote fungi beneficial in cropping systems

Reading Time: 2 minutes Do you have fungus? Your fields certainly do, though the varieties vary based on several factors. While tillage levels, rotational diversity and cover crops affect fungi type, they don’t appear to have a significant impact on population. These conclusions come from a University of Guelph study that analyzed fungal communities in long-term horticultural and corn […] Read more