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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AgriSuite Field Management Calculator

AgriSuite is an interactive online collection of management tools and calculators, developed by OMAFRA that you can access from your desktop or mobile device. AgriSuite assists you with key crop fertilization management decisions and how they relate to optimizing crop production and protecting the environment. AgriSuite: The Field Management Calculator helps with nutrient balancing to […]

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AgriSuite: Organic Amendment Calculator

      Balancing your crop’s fertility needs is complex. Let AgriSuite help you make decisions.  Applying nutrients to economically meet crop needs can be challenging, especially when manure or other organic amendments make up a portion of those nutrients. Since nutrients from organic sources don’t come in pre-determined blends, this calculator takes sample analysis […]

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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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Phosphorus Loss Assessment using PLATO – AgriSuite’s newest calculator

manure being applied prior to corn planting in 2020

Introducing….to your mobile device or computer, the newest in a series of on-line calculators. The phosphorus loss assessment tool for Ontario, nicknamed PLATO, will help determine the risk of phosphorus (P) loss from nutrient applications at a field scale.PLATO takes both field characteristics, such as erosion risk and soil test level, as well as P […]

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To plant green or to plant brown? Rye cover crop termination timing before soybeans (updated with 2019 data)

cereal rye cover crop

Jake Munroe, Mike Cowbrough and Sebastian Belliard (OMAFRA) Cereal rye (Secale cereale) has several strengths as a cover crop option. It’s relatively inexpensive and easy to kill. Rye improves soil structure, builds organic matter and helps protect against water and wind erosion. It can suppress weeds as discussed here (see Figure 1). It’s also very […]

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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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Ontario Field Crop Report – Week of September 16, 2019

Fall Means – Sampling for Soybean Cyst Nematode! As fall approaches, two things are certain – winter will come and soybean cyst nematode (SCN) has done its business! For many growers, managing soybean cyst nematode means planting SCN resistance varieties BUT effective SCN management does not end when you have selected your soybean varieties! It […]

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