The Luymes brothers are trying biostrips as a way to work with strip tillage.

Provincial soil tour looks at minimal tillage, biostrips

The tour visited regional farms as part of the Ontario Soil Network

Reading Time: 4 minutes There’s no one system for improving soil health and that was on display during a recent Ontario Soil Health Network tour across the province. The tour visited more than 20 farms, from Kingsville to Douglas, arriving at the farms of the members of the first cohort of the Ontario Soil Network over four days. Farmtario […] Read more

OMAFRA’s Chris Brown talked about a cross trench dug in cover crop strips to show root depth and subsurface characteristics of different covers.

Controlling compaction need not be expensive

Elgin field day highlights high-tech and low-tech methods of reducing compaction

Reading Time: 5 minutes Getting a handle on compaction starts with knowing how much equipment weighs and how some practical techniques can alleviate the iron load. Farmers, agronomists, and equipment dealers gathered at Elgin Compaction Day in Shedden on Aug. 7 and 8 to discuss how compaction happens, as well as how to fix and prevent it. Why it […] 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 image shows how AAFC is using machine learning to design sampling locations, based on predictive soil maps. This is on the Upper Medway Watershed within the Thames River basin.

Information from above

The quest is on to obtain more detailed soil type and topography data on Ontario croplands from satellites

Reading Time: 3 minutes If farm agencies in Ontario were to make an information wish list, it would likely include detailed and up-to-date soil and topographical data. This information would, among other things, help farmers to achieve higher yields through better crop management, says Ontario Federation of Agriculture President Keith Currie. Why it matters: Ontario’s soil maps are many […] 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

Expanding suburbs continue to gobble up farmland.

Municipal hopefuls pose idea of AgBelt to protect farmland

Two London-area politicians – one urban, one rural – say there needs to be more planning protection of farmland

Reading Time: 2 minutes Two London-area municipal politicians are proposing the creation of a belt of land throughout southern Ontario that maintains its primary role for agriculture. The Ag Belt, as Kelly Elliott and Jared Zaifman, have called their idea so far, comes from the fact that the two municipal councillors – one urban, one rural – kept running […] Read more

Britain outlines post-Brexit farm policy in bill

Reading Time: 2 minutes London | Reuters –– Britain will introduce legislation on Wednesday for agricultural policy after it leaves the European Union that will link support for farmers to the provision of public benefits such as tackling climate change or preserving beautiful landscapes. The Agriculture Bill, primarily covering England, will provide the basis for policy in a sector […] Read more

Blake Vince has been using multi-species cover crop mixtures since 2011.

Cover crops help reverse soil organic matter loss

The benefits may not show up immediately so farmers need to be patient

Reading Time: 5 minutes In Ontario, where the loss of soil organic matter is a long-standing problem, cover crops and other cultivation strategies designed to improve soil structure are playing an increasingly important role in cropland sustainability. However, a variety of factors are limiting how quickly Ontario farmers are adopting cover crops, even as soil organic matter in the […] Read more

OMAFRA engineer-in-training Alex Barrie gives a signal to the driver of a self-propelled sprayer during a session about soil compaction.

Farmers look to trucking industry to help soil compaction issues

Weight distribution across increasingly heavy equipment is critical

Reading Time: 2 minutes Truckers in North America and farmers in Europe know all about regulations related to weight of equipment — and innovative solutions to deal with those regulations. At a session during the recent FarmSmart Expo at the University of Guelph’s Elora Research Station, Ontario farmers heard they might need to learn those strategies one day. “The […] Read more

Farmers are making use of cover crops to manage numerous soil quality issues.  Photo: John Greig

Soil health tips from long-time tillage reducers

Reading Time: 3 minutes Managing soil means managing water, say farmers who have worked hard to maintain their soil while growing high yielding crops. Why it matters: Soil organic matter levels continue to decline across major agriculture areas. The solutions are complex and sometimes contradictory, and often depend on local soil quality. “Healthy soil means faster water infiltration,” said Ken […] Read more