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

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 is what the farm looks like now, cleared of stone fences and leveled in places.

The challenges of upgrading a farm for modern production

A Grey County producer transformed a stony farm with many fields

Adrian Op’t Hoog knew he was taking on a challenge when he bought about 200 acres that had been in cow-calf production for generations. There were 16 different fields and pastures, many separated by stone fences, piled up over years from the rocky ground near Feversham. Two years in, the soil is covered and the […] Read more

Soil nitrate results from various sample timings.

Soil nitrate tests low in wet, cool year

OMAFRA’s screening shows that soil nitrate levels are about 25 per cent lower than average

Pre side-dress nitrogen tests across Ontario have lower-than-average nitrate levels this season. Why it matters: This year’s results show that nitrate level recommendations for side-dressing and top-dressing may vary for corn growers across the province, depending on when they were able to get their crop planted. The OMAFRA field crop team completed samples from 66 […] Read more

Water flows in a drain next to a field in southern Ontario.

Better water through real farm data

Project analyzes decades of environmental and farming changes to support more fact-based water-quality policy

In the Great Lakes region, the relationship between farm practices and water quality is complex. As farmers and industry organizations continue to look for ways to accurately measure and prevent nutrient runoff, a joint project from Ryerson University and the University of Windsor is analyzing historical changes in farming and the wider environment to see […] Read more

Don Lobb testifies at the Senate committee on Agriculture and Forestry.

Senate committee hears that soils need new priority

Soil experts testify that the federal government should take a greater role in soil research and data management

The Senate committee on Agriculture and Forestry recently heard that agricultural soil is declining, and the issue needs more attention from the federal government. Five presenters, including several from Ontario, told the committee that trends to less tillage have declined as crop prices have generally been strong and farms have grown larger. Why it matters: […] Read more


Researchers found a biosynthetic network that shapes root microbiota.

A plant’s roots tailor its soil environment

Science Notes: Plants maintain the metabolites around them, which helps explain why plants grow in so many places

The small mustard plant (Arabidopsis thaliana) produces specialized metabolites capable of selectively altering the microbial communities of the soil surrounding its roots to suit its own purposes. While the findings may be useful in engineering beneficial root microbiota for sustainable agriculture, they may also, in part, explain why plants have evolved such vast metabolic diversification. […] 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

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

More diverse crop rotations are one area being targeting by food companies.

General Mills project could set standard for farm-level regulations

The company aims to influence a million acres of farmland by 2030

Large food companies are increasingly worried about the broad impact they have on the environment. Now their programs are reaching down to the farm level, although those influences are mostly in early stages. American farmers are at the vanguard of this trend, with companies like General Mills aiming to influence a million acres by 2030. Why […] Read more


The Veris iScan-plus harnesses four different sensing technologies, including an electrical conductivity array, red and infrared optical sensors, a capacitance moisture sensor and a thermopile sensor for soil temperature.

Sensor system logs four soil factors at once

The iScan can help farmers make decisions on adjustment of implements

Tillage and seeding implement manufacturers are giving farmers more working tool adjustment features. But how do you know what to adjust and which way to adjust it? Simply guessing is counter to the intent of these adjustments, said Veris Technologies manager Tyler Lund in a interview. He says Veris has just introduced a new system […] 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

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