Dan Dreckon and Greg Hannam of Woodrill Farms use soil mapping to make management decisions.

Halton area farmers doing their part to improve soil health

There’s no one correct way to manage soil health

Reading Time: 3 minutes Soil health continues to be a concern for producers and consumers across the country as quality dwindles. On Aug. 15, 2019 the Halton Soil and Crop Improvement Association put together a soil health seminar and farm tour to reiterate to showcase soil health concerns – along with what farmers are doing to improve it. Why […] Read more

At the Israel family’s Drayton-area organic farm, delayed maturity of the rye meant that roller-crimping had to occur in early July, well after the emergence of the soybeans. A side-by-side comparison on July 22 showed the soybeans were delayed, but had come through the mat of rye in good health.

OSCIA-supported trial examines no-till organic soybeans

Despite difficult spring, growers persist with planting into roller-crimped rye

Reading Time: 5 minutes Delayed soybean emergence and the seed costs for a lush cover crop of rye are the main reasons why one innovative approach to no-till farming might not make financial sense under conventional management. But a new research trial being conducted at six sites across southern Ontario is showing promise that the method might be something […] Read more

Can sustainable agriculture practices offer a direct line to Europe?

Sustainability programs offer assurance to European buyers, but they can mean more work for producers

Reading Time: 5 minutes Mention the word “certification” to farmers and all they hear is “more paperwork.” But Grain Farmers of Ontario says such programs really spell improved market access. In fact, they will be critical to reaching important markets, such as the European Union. The good news is sustainability programs have already been enjoying some success in Canada. […] Read more

If a cover crop is to survive after a corn crop in Ontario, it has to be interseeded.

Cover crops: Short-term pain but long-term gain

A U.S. study underlines the benefits, but costs of adoption can be higher north of the border

Reading Time: 4 minutes A new, coast-to-coast study in the U.S. tracks five years of the financial benefits of including cover crops in corn and soybean rotations, but the numbers may not apply in Ontario. Why it matters: One factor that can prevent adoption of cover crops is the effect on bottom line due to additional costs such as […] Read more

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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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

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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

The Environmental Farm Plan was created in Ontario and has been expanded across the country.

Environmental Farm Plan can now be renewed online

The change means that farmers won’t always have to travel to attend in-person workshops

Reading Time: 2 minutes Farmers in Ontario can now access a website to update their Environmental Farm Plans. The enhanced system will make it easier for many to continue using this tool, which guides Ontario farmers to voluntarily adopt more environmentally sustainable practices. Why it matters: The Environmental Farm Plan is a long-time program that has helped fund and […] Read more


Pasture is rotationally grazed by the Sickle family’s cows and calves.

TESA winner matches cover crops with cow herd

Steve Sickle rotationally grazes his cows and calves on pasture, but uses cover crops at the end of the season

Reading Time: 3 minutes Steve and Amanda Sickle of Brant County ended up in the beef cow business when they realized a rolling part of a farm they’d turned from pasture to crops was much better suited to pasture. The family had sold their beef cows when Steve’s dad broke his hip. “We brought them back when we realized […] Read more

Adzuki beans are planted in between wheat rows.

Relay cropping adzuki beans into winter wheat

A Woodville-area farmer aims to benefit from multiple crops in one field

Reading Time: 4 minutes A volunteer crop from the previous year growing between the rows of the present year’s crop represents a nuisance to most farmers, but not to Dustin Mulock. Instead, a patch of volunteer adzuki beans growing — as he described it to the recent annual general meeting of the Ontario Bean Growers (OBG) — “a stone’s […] Read more