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

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

Fields that grow continuous corn have fewer nutrients for soil microbes.

Lasting Impact: Technology helps living soils knowledge

Different crops feed soil microbes in different ways

Reading Time: 4 minutes Updated Aug. 11, 2020 This article is the final instalment of a three-part series highlighting lessons learned from two long-term crop rotation experiments at the Ontario Crops Research Centres at Elora and Ridgetown. Soil is teeming with life. And despite their size, fungi, bacteria, and other micro-organisms play an enormous role in soil processes, from […] Read more

New soil test looks at microbial populations

Reading Time: 2 minutes A&L Canada Laboratories Inc. recently launched VitTellus Bio, a new soil health test that quantifies soil microbial populations. VitTellus Bio complements the VitTellus Soil Health test, which is used to help farmers make informed decisions on application of nutrient and managing and improving soil health. It does more than measure the chemical properties of soil, […] Read more

Lowering tire pressure is one of the first places to start to reduce compaction damage.

How to prevent compaction at harvest

Limiting damage starts with decisions when combines go into fields

Reading Time: 3 minutes Field activity makes soil compaction worse. That’s just the nature of the work. But there are methods to reduce it, in favourable and unfavourable conditions. Why it matters: Ways to reduce soil compaction vary, depending on soil type, field conditions, equipment capability, operation style, and other factors. For Alex Barrie, a Bowmanville-area farmer and soil […] Read more

At one time it was thought that lots of corn stover was a significant source of soil carbon.

Lasting impact: The secret to increasing carbon is in the soil

Microbial activity, not volume of biomass, gets more credit for adding carbon

Reading Time: 3 minutes This article is part two of a three-part series highlighting lessons learned from two long-term crop rotation experiments at the Ontario Crops Research Centres at Elora and Ridgetown, Ont. The evidence is piling up that the corn-soybean rotation – the most common crop rotation in Ontario – performs worse on every metric than diversified rotations […] Read more