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

The METOS MobiLab uses capillary electrophoresis to analyze the nutrients in a soil or plant sap sample, with the company’s 

Instant samples offer quick decisions on the farm

Whether it is leaves or soils, the lab-in-a-box solution puts portable testing in hands of farmers and agronomists

Reading Time: 3 minutes Glacier FarmMedia – The METOS MobiLab provides soil and sap nutrient measurement in less than two hours. “We can measure nitrate and ammonia from the soil analysis part of the mobile lab, as well as the sodium and chlorine,” said Guy Ash of METOS during a webinar. Why it matters: Quick, reliable soil tests can […] 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

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

Control gates along one of the contour-tiled fields will allow study into the value of being able to maintain water in tiles when needed during dry periods.

Drainage demo farm sets baselines

The ambitious project features standard, contour, controlled and terrace drainage

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Huronview Demo Farm looks much different than it did a year ago when tile machines from several companies were busy installing the numerous drainage systems showcased at the farm. Soybeans were harvested at the farm in late September and wheat planted shortly after. Why it matters: The Huronview Demo Farm is a rare place […] Read more

Wes Hart eventually developed a system of strip till and the ability to apply both liquid and solid fertilizer.

Adventures in strip-tilling

How two farmers adopted and augmented their strip-till approach

Reading Time: 4 minutes There’s more than one way to strip-till a field. During this year’s Canada’s Digital Farm Show, Woodstock-area grain growers Ken Martin and Wes Hart shared their lessons learned, and triumphs experienced, in making the hybrid tillage system work for their businesses. Why it matters: Strip-tillage continues to attract interest as a workable midway approach to […] Read more

Cover crops grow in wheat stubble.

The economics of cover crops

Ridgetown research highlights profitability gains and losses in grain and vegetable systems

Reading Time: 2 minutes The impact of cover crops on profit margins is a long-contested subject, but new data from the University of Guelph shows some clear winners and losers. Vegetable crop yields, specifically, benefit most – grains not so much, unless farmers get credit for carbon sequestration. Studies showing the economic costs and benefits of cover crops exist, […] 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

Understanding and managing low pH knolls

The OMAFRA Field Crop Team wants farmers to get to know their knolls

Reading Time: 2 minutes While high pH knolls tend to be more common in Ontario, often caused by soil erosion leaving higher pH calcareous subsoils, this is not the case for all regions. How do low pH knolls develop? Low pH knolls can develop on undulating landscapes where surface soils formed from deposits of sand, such as where glacial […] Read more

Managing eroded knolls

OMAFRA Field Crop Report for September 10

Reading Time: 3 minutes Field Crop News – We’ve all seen them. Hilltops. Whitecaps. High spots where the crop struggles year after year. Eroded knolls are common to Ontario agriculture and cost farmers in lost productivity each season. This article will explore knolls: how they’ve formed, how they differ, and how they can be managed or even re-mediated. How […] Read more