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

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

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

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

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

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

Salford’s Valmar 56 box can be mounted or towed.

Tillage tools quickly becoming seeding tools

There are now many options to add cover crop seeding boxes to tillage equipment

As cover crops have increased in popularity, farmers are finding creative ways to plant them. For many farmers that has meant finding a way to get a seeder box onto a tillage implement of some kind. Why it matters: Cover crops can increase available nutrients, water and organic matter and reduce soil erosion over winter. […] Read more

Wheat is one of four crops including soybeans, corn and rice, that make up about half of the agriculture land in use on the planet.

Crop diversity declining worldwide

Science Notes: The number of different crops is increasing in North America but other regions are moving more toward monocultures

University of Toronto – A new University of Toronto study suggests that globally more of the same kinds of crops are being grown, and this presents major challenges for agricultural sustainability on a global scale. The study, by an international team of researchers led by University of Toronto assistant professor Adam Martin, used data from […] Read more

A rye crop is roller crimped before organic soybean planting.

Riding the learning curve on organic no-till

Farmers are pushing the boundaries of roller-crimping winter rye and direct seeding soybeans behind

Planting soybeans into a just-terminated cover crop of winter rye is gaining popularity among Ontario’s organic community, as farmers strive to introduce minimum-till strategies into their rotations. No-till planting has so far not become common in any other crops under organic production — in which farmers typically rely upon tillage instead of chemical inputs to […] Read more

Given the food needs of a growing global population, food production strategies that don’t take biodiversity into account are a missed opportunity.

Stoking conflict between farming and conservation hurts everyone

Agriculture businesses and the environment both need to be sustainable

Canada’s future prosperity will depend on effective environmental conservation and sustainable — and profitable — agriculture. Unfortunately, recent comments from former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall pit the two concerns against each other unnecessarily. Agriculture and the environment are not mutually exclusive, and polarization of the issues only undermines progress toward successful and sustainable solutions. A […] Read more