Category: Soil

Ontario ag retailers make 4R stewardship a priority

Ontario ag retailers need to provide leadership in helping farmers adopt 4R nutrient stewardship and a new audit program can do just that, says AGRIS Co-operative agronomist Dale Cowan. In 2015, OMAFRA, the Ontario Agri Business Association, Fertilizer Canada, and ag retailer stakeholders signed a memorandum of understanding stating that 4R nutrient stewardship – right source,… Read more »

Kinze tackles tillage with high-speed Mach Till disc

Kinze Manufacturing is adding tillage equipment to its planters and grain cart lineup. The company has teamed up with Saskatchewan-based Degelman Industries to market the new Mach Till high-speed disc. Susanne Veatch, Kinze’s president and chief marketing officer says the Mach Till is best described as “hybrid horizontal tillage” rather than vertical tillage. “The Mach Till… Read more »

Treat your soil like an Olympic athlete for peak performance

What do Canadian speed skater Kim Boutin and your soil have in common? They both prosper and succeed when you treat them like an Olympic athlete. Boutin’s Olympic training earned her three medals at the recently-concluded Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. What would happen if farmers treated their soil like an Olympic athlete? Soil… Read more »

Following successful pilot project, Ontario Soil Network to continue

When you want to learn about a new farming practice, where do you turn? Yes, there are conferences and field days, but many farmers have also had great success with social media platforms that easily connect farmers over large distances. We also know that some things are better discussed, explained, shared, and questioned in person,… Read more »

Cover crops and livestock trampling ‘part of the rotation equation’

A ‘good rotation’ is often thought of as a cropping plan that involves diverse species, cultivars, and chemical actives. But that definition may be expanding, thanks to an ever-evolving understanding of soil health. “When you look at that environment, you kind of come down to five principles on soil health,” says United States Department Agriculture… Read more »

Keeping cover crops out of tile drains

Will the growth of cover crops lead to an explosion of plugged tile drains? According to Ohio State professor and farm drainage specialist Dr. Larry Brown, there’s little evidence to suggest that cover crops are going to cause drainage headaches for farmers. At the recent Ontario Certified Crop Advisors annual meeting, Brown says he often gets… Read more »

Connections key to building soil organic matter

There’s consensus that healthy soils with higher organic matter deliver a range of benefits from supplying nutrients, to building soil structure, to increasing water-holding capacity, and reducing erosion. But are enough farmers taking the required steps to increase soil health and organic matter? United States Department of Agriculture research agronomist Shannon Osbourne believes a stronger working… Read more »

New research shows cover crops support higher yields

Many farmers understand the benefits cover crops can bring to their operation. From reduced soil erosion to improved soil structure, nutrient recycling, moisture retention and much more – the list of benefits is long and impressive. But how do cover crops impact yield? Do all these benefits add up to higher production and a better… Read more »

Soil awareness, new genetic resistance, and why canola is a cool crop, literally — Canola Week wrap-up

Around 375 agronomists, researchers and farmers were in Saskatoon this week for the inaugural “Canola Week.” Organized by the Canola Council of Canada and AgWest Bio, the conference combined the annual Canola Industry Meeting, Canola Innovation Day and the Canola Discovery Forum, with several dozen experts sharing their latest findings in canola agronomy, disease resistance,… Read more »

Corn School: How long does it take to add 1 percent soil organic matter?

You’ve just finished combining a corn field and you want to know how much organic matter all that corn residue will contribute to your soil. RealAgriculture’s agronomist Peter Johnson tackles that question on our latest Corn School episode. Unfortunately, as Johnson explains, all those stalks and cobs won’t have much of an impact. When it… Read more »

Innovative Farmers take action on compaction

What happens when 400 innovative farmers, a team of agronomy and extension specialists, and a leading soil compaction researcher descend on an Ontario farm? You get Compaction Action – likely the most ambitious and insightful ‘hands-on’ farm research day ever attempted in the province. The event, hosted by the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario (IFAO), featured… Read more »

Risk versus reward: thinking critically about cover crops

It’s hard to find a farmer these days who doesn’t see some of the benefits cover crops can bring to their operation. From reduced soil erosion to improved soil structure, nutrient recycling, moisture retention and much more – the list of benefits is long and impressive. But how much is too much? Where and when… Read more »

Corn School: Tool helps eliminate compaction for bigger yields

Are the roots of your corn crop running into a cement pad six inches below the surface? It’s time to find out. In this episode of RealAgriculture’s Corn School, AGRIS Co-operative agronomist Dale Cowan demonstrates how growers can effectively use a soil penetrometer to locate a soil hardpan and help eliminate the compaction so plant… Read more »

Canola School: Confronting the topic of compaction

Soil compaction — as many other topics and issues in agriculture — has no simple solution. Marla Riekman, soil management specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, says in this Canola School episode that soil compaction is “one of the hardest topics to discuss with farmers.” She says this is because the easiest solution is to stay off the field,… Read more »

Tillage ‘Earthquakes’ and What Farmers Can Learn From a Forest

Mike Dorion calls himself ‘the compost kid’ and he believes farmers should think about their fields like he does his garden. The founder of Calgary-based Living Soil Solutions doesn’t suggest cash crop farmers use tea leaves to improve soil health, but he does preach the benefits of reducing tillage, banking organic matter to help increase… Read more »