Sarah Hargreaves and her husband Drake Larsen use the landscape design to drive the movement of their small sheep flock and cattle herd on their 50-acre farm, Three Ridges Ecological Farm near Aylmer, Ont.

Soil’s processes need to be understood to build organic matter

Increasing soil health is a highly complex process tied to chemical and biological cycles

Reading Time: 4 minutes To understand the paradigm shift in the production of soil organic matter you’re going to have to dig a little deeper. “Soil organic matter (SOM) is intimately linked to soil health, to ecosystem health, to planetary health and it has influences on the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil,” Sarah Hargreaves, Ecological Farmers […] 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

Cameron Ogilvie is knowledge mobilization co-ordinator with Soils at Guelph.

Cover crops reduce nitrate leaching

40-year rotation trials find diverse rotation makes for more resilient crops

Reading Time: 2 minutes Research findings released recently from the Soil Health Monitoring Station at Elora, Ont. suggest including cover crops in a rotation could significantly reduce nitrate leaching. Using soil lysimeters installed at the Soil Health Monitoring Stage in 2016, researchers are exploring how crop rotations impact soil emissions. The lysimeters are large steel drums installed in ground […] Read more

Participating landowner Gord Green, foreground, discusses his family’s participation in the ONFARM soil health research initiative with Adam Hayes of the Soil Resource Group.

Twenty-five farms host on-farm soil health research

The ONFARM initiative brings together diverse industry cooperators

Reading Time: 3 minutes A four-year federal-provincial agreement to fund a series of field-scale soil health research projects is underway across southern Ontario. In all, 25 co-operator farmers have taken on side-by-side plots at which a focus will be placed on either cover cropping, tillage, organic amendment application or some combination. At seven other locations, described by Ontario Soil […] Read more

A field of red clover cover crop underseeded to wheat. Increasing use of cover crops is a part of regenerative agriculture programs.

Cargill launches regenerative agriculture program

The company is the latest to push improved soil practices to meet its consumer commitments

Reading Time: 2 minutes Cargill plans to have an impact on regenerative agriculture practices on 10 million acres in North America. The company recently announced plans to meet its climate commitments. Cargill will focus on row crops, especially corn, wheat, soybeans, canola and other major crops in North America. The company said in a statement that “Cargill expects these […] Read more

Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show looks to lock in land base

GFM plans to buy research land for eastern Discovery Farm

Reading Time: 2 minutes As Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show goes digital this week, its operator is preparing to secure its real-world footprint in southern Ontario and put that real estate to year-round work. Glacier FarmMedia and the Ontario government on Tuesday announced their intent to work toward a land deal with the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO), which […] Read more

New farm research group offers more by pooling resources

Central Ontario soil research and stewardship groups try two-year collaboration

Reading Time: 4 minutes A partnership based out of Trent University is offering farmers free access to its expertise. The Quinte Farm Research and Stewardship Collaborative is a two-year initiative described by project co-ordinator Lindsay Nash as a network focused on modern agricultural practices in relation to soil health, water quality and new technologies. Why it matters: There are […] Read more

Soil microbes are key to improving soil health.

New soil test hones in on microbial populations

Understanding microbial populations can lead to better soil health, yields

Reading Time: 2 minutes A new soil health test, VitTellus Bio Soil Health, launched by A&L Canada Laboratories quantifies soil microbial populations that support improved soil health and crop productivity. The test is an extension of the VitTellus Soil Health Test, launched in 2018, and looks at providing deeper information about the physical and biological interaction in the soil. […] Read more

McCain Foods hopes to promote alternative potato farming methods such as regenerative agriculture.

McCain builds farms to showcase sustainable practices

The company has committed to reducing the impact of its potato operations

Reading Time: 2 minutes Glacier Farmmedia – McCain Foods says it is building the farm of the future. The New Brunswick company announced in mid-July that it wants potato production to be more sustainable. To that end, McCain’s is establishing three Farms of the Future to learn how regenerative agriculture and innovation can work at scale in potato farming. […] Read more