National Soil Conservation Week, 2022

no-till soybean field with residue and some slope

The week of April 17-23 is National Soil Conservation Week this year. As the Soil Conservation Council of Canada says, soil is a big deal. It’s the foundation of agriculture. It’s a precious resource and, as I’ve written before, can easily be lost and degraded. To mark this week, I wanted to share some resources […]

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What’s Next in The Strategy to Reduce Soil Compaction: Observations on the Value of CTIS

This article was written by Alex Barrie, OMAFRA Soil Management Engineer, and Ian McDonald, OMAFRA Crop Innovations Specialist As discussed in the previous article (available here), as long as we are putting heavy implements on farm fields, soil compaction is a significant possibility. Lots of factors impact the severity of threat, like load, tire configurations […]

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Building Resilient Soils

  For many Ontario farmers, the 2021 season has been a weather roller coaster. Throughout much of the province, the season started out extremely dry, with some regions receiving less than 20% of normal precipitation for the month of May (Figure 1). Late June brought relief for many parts of Southern Ontario, with regular rainfall […]

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Getting to Know Your Knolls Part 1: Understanding and Managing High pH Knolls

Jake Munroe, Soil Management Specialist – Field Crops, OMAFRA We’ve all seen them. Hilltops. Whitecaps. High spots where the crop struggles year after year. Eroded knolls are common to Ontario agriculture and cost farmers in lost productivity each season. However, not all eroded knolls are alike. In this two-part series, we will explore knolls: how […]

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Unraveling the Mystery of Soil: Manure’s Contribution

Christine Brown, Sustainability Specialist – Field Crops, OMAFRA “A radical new way of thinking about soil has partially solved the mystery of why adding manure improves resilience, climate control, and crop yields.” – Dr. Andy Neal, Rothamsted Research. Have you ever wondered why forests can establish and thrive without being fertilized? Or, why grasslands, pastures, […]

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Erosion Assessment Goes Geospatial

While managing soil microbes might be the newest frontier to improving soil health, one thing has not changed: you cannot improve soil you no longer have! Minimizing erosion is the first step in a soil health management plan. The old adage says: “you can only manage what you measure”, but actually measuring soil erosion is very complicated, even for experts in this field. There’s no need to measure Cesium isotopes along that slope in your field. What needs to be managed is the risk of erosion. […]

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Introducing PLATO, the Phosphorus Loss Assessment Tool for Ontario

rill erosion on a steeply sloped field

Keeping soil covered and minimizing erosion is a key principle of soil health. Maximizing the efficiency of crop nutrient uptake and minimizing losses are the foundation of 4R Nutrient Stewardship. When combined, these principles form the basis of a new online tool from OMAFRA called PLATO (Phosphorus Loss Assessment Tool for Ontario). PLATO is a calculator that you can use to estimate the risk of phosphorus loss on your farm. It’s part of the newly re-vamped AgriSuite and uses your specific soil, crop and nutrient application information to provide a risk rating and options to improve your score. […]

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What’s a Worm Worth?

The benefits of earthworms in agricultural soils and how to reap them Earthworms are the ecosystem engineers of the soil. In most terrestrial ecosystems they represent the most abundant belowground biomass1, and in the same way beavers create habitat for a host of other species to thrive, earthworms make the soil ecosystem work. They help […]

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