“Resilience cannot be built overnight. It is important for growers to start building soils now to achieve production potentials in the future.”

Lasting impact: The penalty of poor crop rotations

Long term trials show the soil health degradation of short rotations

Reading Time: 3 minutes This article is the first of a three-part series highlighting lessons learned from two long-term crop rotation experiments at Elora and Ridgetown, Ont. Howard Buffett authored a book a few years back with the title, “40 Chances”. The title came from a shop talk Buffett attended where a speaker remarked that the average farmer only […] Read more

Water that runs off fields instead of soaking in can be an indicator of low soil organic matter.

How to identify low organic matter

Things to look for when walking and working in the field

Reading Time: 3 minutes Did your fields show a lot of crusting this planting season? Was there standing water where there shouldn’t be? These and other indicators, say provincial soil health experts, mean your soil organic matter (SOM) levels could use some attention. Why it matters: SOM improves soil health and helps reduce crop susceptibility to extreme conditions. While […] Read more

Corn seedlings.

Look to stand count first, uniformity second

Replanting decisions should be based on stand numbers and yield potential

Reading Time: 3 minutes As cold rain and snow fell in mid-May, Ontario farmers wondered whether early-planted grains could endure. Fortunately, it appears most have. But where replanting might be required, agronomists say it’s overall numbers that matter first. Why it matters: When determining whether replanting is necessary, calculate stand count first. Look at uniformity afterwards, as well as […] Read more

Water stress can constrain late-season photosynthesis

Science Notes: Remote sensing technology employed

Reading Time: 2 minutes Photosynthesis is regulated by plant phenology — how plant life cycles interact with the climate — and environmental conditions, both of which changed substantially in recent decades. Unlike early season photosynthesis, which is mostly driven by warming temperatures or the onset of the wet season, late-season photosynthesis can be limited by several factors, such as […] Read more

The last time the state of Canada’s soil was analyzed was in the 1980s.

Eastern Canada gets poor grades on soil

A report card compares soil management and health between Eastern and Western Canada

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Soil Conservation Council of Canada has released its first national soil health report card. The soil grades are based on farmer changes made over the past five to 10 years, soil conditions, and whether organic matter levels have improved. “It wasn’t in terms of hard data, but just from my experience and research, extensions […] Read more

The water erosion map outlines for farmers the potential for water erosion within their field under different farming practices.

OMAFRA launches new AgMaps tool

The map helps farmers understand the water erosion potential of their fields

Reading Time: 2 minutes A new program involving Ontario’s Agricultural Information Atlas, commonly known as AgMaps, helps farmers determine the soil erosion potential of their fields. The water erosion potential map has been in the making for years. It takes advantage of information previously within the AgMaps portal and recently collected LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) remote survey data […] Read more

More prolonged release of nitrogen can help corn better use the fertilizer.

Better nitrogen efficiency

A soil ecologist discusses nitrogen efficiency products and how they work

Reading Time: 3 minutes Nitrogen loss from leaching, atmospheric exposure, and soil runoff can be costly. However, there are products designed to minimize that loss. And according to Mario Tenuta, professor of applied soil ecology at the University of Manitoba, the stronger the product is, the better. Why it matters: Nitrogen is an expensive input on farms and with […] Read more

Soil manager app helps with test interpretation

The app gives another option for understanding soil tests

Reading Time: < 1 minute A new soil test app will give farmers an easy way to get quick interpretation of their soil test results. The app, found at soiltestmanager.ca was launched at the recent Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association annual meeting in London. Jake Munro, OMAFRA’s soil management specialist for field crops, says that the app brings together […] Read more

The SoilOptix sensor shown on an ATV.

Raising the bar on soil testing

SoilOptix maps show soil’s chemical and physical properties

Reading Time: 3 minutes A southwestern Ontario company has developed technology that goes far beyond traditional soil sampling to help growers make better soil management decisions. Tavistock-based SoilOptix’s system delivers high resolution top soil maps that detail in-field variability of soil’s chemical and physical properties. Why it matters: Rising costs and tight margins combined with growing societal pressure around […] Read more

SoilReader can be mounted on any field implement or used in a separate dedicated operation as shown here.

Real-time soil analysis in the field

Don’t bring your soil sample to the lab, take the lab to the field, says the Canadian inventor of the SoilReader

Reading Time: 3 minutes Glacier FarmMedia – It’s a difficult concept to sum up in a few words. A Canadian startup sells a coulter that reads nine nutrient factors while pulled through soil. As the headline states, SoilReader can provide real-time data, on the go, as it is pulled through the field. The nine vital constituents are nitrogen, phosphorus, […] Read more