As corn yields rise, so does the need for more water.

Balance needed between crop rotation, profit and productivity

Simple rotations are easier, but long-term profitability may be tied to longer rotations

Decreasing agricultural diversity could affect sustainability. “The trend is toward simplification of our systems with fewer crops dominating the landscape,” said Bill Deen of the University of Guelph. Why it matters: More diverse crop rotations can improve soil health while boosting yields and long-term sustainability. He and other scientists are studying the importance of longer […] 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

A rye crop is roller crimped before organic soybean planting.

Riding the learning curve on organic no-till

Farmers are pushing the boundaries of roller-crimping winter rye and direct seeding soybeans behind

Planting soybeans into a just-terminated cover crop of winter rye is gaining popularity among Ontario’s organic community, as farmers strive to introduce minimum-till strategies into their rotations. No-till planting has so far not become common in any other crops under organic production — in which farmers typically rely upon tillage instead of chemical inputs to […] Read more

Mark Richards has been innovative in using strip tillage in vegetable crops.

Dresden farmer limits tillage in sugar beets and tomatoes to build soil structure

Mark Richards used his experience in strip tilling in other crops to make it work in vegetable crops

  This story was part of Farmtario’s Chatham-Kent Farm Show guide   Mark Richards has worked hard to assess and improve his farming practices over the last 20 years. He began with cover crops, then progressed into no till and strip till, notably in sugar beets and tomatoes, a practice not typically used in those […] Read more

Maurice Chauvin and the a Salford RTS machine that he uses on his farm.

Curiosity and care guide farm’s principles

The Chauvin farm takes a long-term view on measures like soil organic matter

The Essex Soil and Crop Improvement Association recently bestowed its 2018 Conservation Farm of the Year award to Maurice (Moe) Chauvin, a sixth-generation grain farmer from Pointe-aux-Roches (known as Stoney Point to Anglophones). The award is granted annually to a farm within Essex County that displays conservation-minded management practices. For Chauvin, adopting such practices starts […] Read more

Dave Hooker (r) and Matt Stewart discuss one of their cover crop research trials during an update event at Ridgetown College, October 23.

Evaluating cover crops for the long term

Too early to assess corn and wheat yields, but the benefits to tomatoes already seem clear

It’s widely recognized that cover crops boost soil organic matter, but their long-term agronomic and economic benefits are less well understood. Researchers at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown and Elora campuses have undertaken some long-term studies to identify the impacts of cover crops in some growing conditions and management styles common to southwestern Ontario. 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

Clubroots beating all resistant canolas across Alta.

A study of 27 canola fields across Alberta has found 16 infected with clubroot pathotypes able to cause “high levels” of the disease — in canola plants with clubroot-resistant genetics. What’s more, the clubroot pathogen isolated from “many” of the infected fields in the study was virulent on all clubroot-resistant canola cultivars, the Canola Council of Canada […] Read more

Decisions on new-crop canola acres still pending

CNS Canada — With the 2015-16 growing season fast approaching in Western Canada, decisions on how many acres will be seeded to canola remain up in the air. “I think a lot of people aren’t getting a lot of feedback from growers, as they haven’t really indicated a lot of big changes in acres,” said […] Read more

Fababeans making more inroads on Prairies

CNS Canada — Fababean acres are on the rise in Western Canada, as the crop is seen as a good pulse alternative for producers seeking other options in their rotations. Better disease resistance and ease of harvest have been two selling points for the crop. “We’ve had significant uptake on fababeans,” said Leanne Fischbuch, executive […] Read more