Ontario Diagnostic Day 4: Soil management snippets for healthy and productive soils


It’s time for Day 4 of the virtual Ontario Diagnostic Days!

This week we focus on soil snippets — a series of soil management insights delivered by a host of Ontario soil researchers, agronomists, and extension specialists. The lineup includes Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs soil management specialists Anne Verhallen and Sebastian Belliard; field crop sustainability specialist Christine Brown; and crop innovation specialist Ian McDonald. You’ll also hear from University of Guelph soil scientist Doug Young and Soils at Guelph knowledge mobilization coordinator Cameron Ogilvie.

Here’s a look at the line-up for Episode 4:

  • Verhallen kicks things off with tips on cover crops you could plant this fall to deliver immediate soil health and soil cover benefits through the winter.
  • Ogilvie discusses the Soils at Guelph initiative. He tells us about its innovative research work and describes ongoing efforts to promote knowledge that enhances the health of Ontario soils.
  • Belliard takes us to the field to demonstrate how growers can use VESS — Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure — to evaluate their own soil structure and how it can help monitor and maintain soil health.
  • Proper timing for manure application is critical for crop growth. Brown shares how and when to apply manure on forages for optimum production.
  • MacDonald tells us about bio strip-till cropping systems and how it allows growers to plant cover crops in equipment wheel tracks to till soil in these well-travelled areas.
  • Young wraps up the episode with a look at the key role pH plays in the success of your crops, how to manage those low- and high-testing fields, and how soil tests can be used to identify a range of crop nutrient deficiencies.

Ontario Diagnostic Days are brought to you by OMAFRA, University of Guelph and the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association with sponsorship support from the following organizations: Grain Farmers of Ontario, Agris Co-operative, BASF, Bayer/Dekalb, Corteva/Pioneer, Great Lakes Grain, The Mosaic Company, RealAgriculture, and Syngenta.

The virtual video series gives the OMAFRA field crop team and research colleagues from the University of Guelph an opportunity to deliver diagnostic insights in a new way, sharing what attendees have come to expect from Diagnostic Days.

The virtual diagnostic series was launched after COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the popular Diagnostic Days held each July at Ridgetown, Elora, and Winchester, Ont.

The series consists of eight, one-hour episodes. A new episode is published every two weeks, Wednesdays at 9 am Eastern through to October 21, 2020. Each episode will highlight a general field crop agronomic theme and will be available here on RealAgriculture for viewing, as well as the OMAFRA Field Crop News website. All episodes will also be available in our main podcast feed.

Historically, these in-person diagnostic days have provided some of the best opportunities for certified crop advisors (CCAs) to acquire a broad range of CEUs.

Certified crop advisors are able to collect eight CEUs by registering for the event at: https://bdc.ridgetownc.com/useservices/conferencemanagement/southwest-crop-diagnostic-days/.

Registration is required for processing CEU credit requests and can be done up to December 1, 2020. A CEU code will be provided on screen at various points during each episode.

The videos are free and registration is not required for Grain Farmers of Ontario members, media, and those not seeking CEU credits.

Registration Fees  — Only required if applying for CEU Credits

·      $100 (includes HST) for eight CEU credits. A receipt/confirmation email will be provided.

The next Diagnostic Day will focus on crop growth staging and management, and will be published September 9, 2020.

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