EFAO Soil Health Benchmark Report Example 2020 Other Publications Soil Health
Description
Example report from EFAO’s pilot 2019 Soil Health Benchmark Study.
Publish Date
November 10, 2020
Farmer(s)
EFAO
EFAO Soil Health Benchmark Report Supplemental Information 2020 Other Publications Soil Health
Description
Supplemental information to EFAO’s Soil Health Benchmark Report as part of EFAO’s pilot 2019 Soil Health Benchmark Study.
Publish Date
November 10, 2020
Farmer(s)
EFAO
Summer Leaf Lettuce Variety Trial 2020 2020 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
 The hot summer weather in Ontario can make it hard to germinate and grow leaf lettuce of a marketable quality. This year, 10 growers from across Ontario will trial six varieties of leaf lettuce in a randomized and replicated trial over two planting dates.
Publish Date
July 23, 2020
Farmer(s)
Angie Koch, Ann Slater, Hilary Moore, Lise-Anne Léveillé, Harold Saunders, Jon Gagnon, Laurie and Corey Ahrens, Martina Schaefer, Norah Quast, Sarah Judd
Fall Leaf Lettuce Variety Trial 2020 2020 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
The fall slot for lettuce is challenging, as the lettuce has to handle both the heat of the summer and the cold of the fall with all the moisture and temperature variability that is characteristic this time of year. This year, 10 growers from across Ontario – many who participated in last year’s trial – will trial five varieties and six types of seed of leaf lettuce in a randomized and replicated trial over their last two planting dates of the season.
Publish Date
July 23, 2020
Farmer(s)
Angie Koch, Ann Slater, Hilary Moore, Lise-Anne Léveillé, Harold Saunders, Jon Gagnon, Laurie and Corey Ahrens, Norah Quast, Sarah Judd
Weather Data Summary for 2019 Research Trials 2019 Research Report
Description
Weather data summary for:
  • Heartwood Farm
  • Baba Link Farm
  • Earth to Table Farm
  • Jones Family Greens
  • Eva Mae Farm
  • Knuckle Down Farm
  • Fertile Ground CSA
  • Nith Valley Organics
  • Greta’s Organic Garden
  • BeetBox Cooperative Farm
  • Kitchen Table Seed House
  • Cedar Down Farm
  • Orchard Hill Farm
  • Eden in Season’s Garden of Eating
  • Maplelane Farm
  • Table Community Food Centre
  • The New Farm
  • Heartbeat Farm
  • D&H Newman Farm
  • Meadow Lynn Farm
  • Field Good Farms
  • Against the Grain Farms
  • Ann Slater Organics
  • Saunders Family Farm
Publish Date
March 16, 2020
Farmer(s)
Do soil covers differ in their efficacy for production of organic greens? 2019 Research Report Weed Control
Description
As a follow-up to Brent and Gillian’s tarp trial last year, these growers evaluated the difference among tarp, landscape fabric and clear plastic for greens production. Key Findings:
  • Occultation worked consistently for weed and residue management. Between tarp and landscape fabric, landscape fabric is much easier to manage.
  • Clear plastic was not effective during shoulder seasons, when temperatures aren’t warm enough.
  • The soil covers did not affect crop yield differently.
  • Soil moisture retention was better with occultation, and soil moisture was highest under landscape fabric.
  • Depending on farm and time of year, soil temperature peaked under all covers and uncovered soil, suggesting that occultation does not increase soil temperatures to a point that negatively affects soil biology.
Publish Date
February 5, 2020
Farmer(s)
Matt Jones, Chris Bocz, Jon Gagnon, Brent Preston and Gillian Flies
Weather Data Summary for 2018 Research Trials 2018 Research Report
Description
Weather data summary for:
  • Eramosa Currants, Mimosa Breeding and Research, Everdale Farm, Heartwood Farm – FERGUS SHAND DAM Weather Station 2
  • Baba Link Farm, Earth to Table Farm, HAMILTON RBG CS Weather Station 3
  • Eva Mae Farm, TRENTON A Weather Station 4
  • Fertile Ground CSA, ROSEVILLE Weather Station 5
  • Greta’s Organic Garden, OTTAWA CDA Weather Station 6
  • Kitchen Table Seed House, HARTINGTON IHD Weather Station 7
  • Meeting Place Organic Farm, GODERICH Weather Station 8
  • Orchard Hill Farm, ST THOMAS WPCP Weather Station 9
  • Eden in Season’s Garden of Eating, THORNBURY 3 Weather Station 10
  • Nature’s Way Nursery, SARNIA Weather Station 11
  • The New Farm, COLLINGWOOD Weather Station 12
  • Seven Fields Farm, CENTREVILLE Weather Station 13
  • Three Forks Farm, MONETVILLE 2 Weather Station 14
Publish Date
February 5, 2020
Farmer(s)
Summary of Projects 2018 2018 Other Publications
Description
In 2018, 20 farmers conducted 14 research projects – the results of which help them to build resilient ecological farms.
Publish Date
February 5, 2020
Farmer(s)
Summary of Projects 2019 2019 Other Publications
Description
In 2019, EFAO’s Farmer-Led Research Program was the recipient of the inaugural Excellence in Agriculture Award from the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The award recognizes the importance of farm- er-led research in addressing big challenges in agriculture. It also recognizes the hard work and innovation of the more than 30 farmers who received funding and support to conduct over 40 research trials from 2016 – 2018. Continuing this important work in 2019, 37 farmer-researchers received support to conduct research on their farms. You can read full reports on the posters around the Conference.
Publish Date
February 5, 2020
Farmer(s)
Management sensitivity, repeatability, and consistency of interpretation of soil health indicators on organic farms in southwestern Ontario 2019 Other Publications Soil Health
Description
Abstract: Assessment tools are needed to evaluate the effect of farming practices on soil health, as there is increas- ing interest from growers to improve the health of their soils. However, there is limited information on the effi- cacy of different soil health indicators on commercial farms and perhaps less so on organic farms. To assess efficacy, three organic growers in cooperation with the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario’s Farmer-Led Research Program tested management sensitivity, measurement repeatability, and consistency of interpretation of different soil health indicators. On each farm, we compared permanganate-oxidizable carbon (active carbon), organic matter, wet aggregate stability, phospholipid fatty acid analysis, Haney soil health test, and Haney nutrient test on one field of grower-perceived high productivity, one field of grower-perceived low productivity, and one reference site (undisturbed, permanent cover). Our results were consistent with previous research that showed grower perception of productivity and soil health associated with management-sensitive soil health indicators. Of the indicators tested, active carbon was the only indicator that was sensitive, repeatable, and consis- tent across the three farms, and soil organic matter was highly repeatable and consistent to detect differences greater than 0.5% organic matter. This study highlights differences among soil health indicators on commercial farms, and it concludes that active carbon and organic matter were the most useful soil health indicators for these organic farms. Participating growers intend to use results to benchmark current soil status and to help guide land management decisions towards improved soil health. Key words: soil health, active carbon, organic matter, farmer-led research, organic farming.
Publish Date
February 5, 2020
Farmer(s)
Paul DeJong, Ken Laing, Tony McQuail
Assessing Methods for Nutrient Application for Trees/Woody Shrub Nutrition 2019 Research Protocol Soil Health
Description
Many Ontario agriculture soils are limestone-based and neutral in pH, which presents challenges when attempting to produce economic yields of alkalinity-sensitive species like blueberry, peach and chestnut. Iron tie-up in calcareous soil leads to chlorosis and unsatisfactory growth and broadacre application of sulphur to correct the issue is expensive. For example, sulphur is upwards of $700/acre plus application costs for blueberries in Northumberland County. In 1986, Carl Whitcomb developed a technique for solving chlorosis problems in new & established trees. This technique even solved nutritional issues species with pH sensitivity in extremely alkaline condition with lasting effects (i.e. pin oaks surrounded by concrete). The method involves applying small amounts of sulphur and micronutrients using a bulb planter in a circular pattern around the tree. With this inspiration, Derick asked the question:​ ​Can woody perennials, which are prone to chlorosis in neutral soils, be cultivated effectively with localized, hand-installed soil amendment treatments, rather than the typical broadacre application and tillage incorporation of sulphur and chelated micronutrients?
Publish Date
February 5, 2020
Farmer(s)
Derick Greenly
Selection and evaluation of new sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) crosses 2019 Research Report Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
As demand for sweet potatoes grows in Canada, breeders are working to create sweet potatoes that are adapted to eastern Ontario. In the first year of the project, Kate selected sweet potatoes that are best suited for low input, organic systems in eastern Ontario. Progress to Date:
  • Kate evaluated nearly 60 genetically unique and diverse sweet potato tubers.
  • After final evaluations of taste and storability, Kate will choose 15 varieties and trial them in 2020.
  • Kate collected seeds from the vines that produced seed, which is germplasm for future breeding.
Publish Date
February 4, 2020
Farmer(s)
Kate Garvie
Does rock mineralizer increase yield of heritage wheat? 2019 Research Report Soil Health
Description
Basalt rock dust is a remineralizer that is used in other parts of the world but there is limited information on its effectiveness to supply crops with nutrients in neutral and alkaline soils. To test the efficacy of basalt as a mineralizer for grain, Shelley and Tony grew Heritage Amber Spring Wheat in replicated plots with and without basalt amendments. Key Findings:
  • Basalt rock dust had no detectable effect on Heritage Amber Spring Wheat yield, and benefits may take years to detect.
  • There were also no other observable differences in growth, seed quality or disease resistance between treatment and control.
  • It was a bad year for wheat production but, overall, Heritage Amber Spring Wheat – a landrace variety – performed well against lodging and Fusarium.
Publish Date
February 4, 2020
Farmer(s)
Shelley Spruit
What are the best fall lettuce varieties for southern Ontario? 2019 Research Report Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
The fall slot for lettuce is challenging because lettuce has to handle both the heat and dryness of summer and the cold and wet of fall. To compare different varieties for fall growing, these farmers – in consultation with Johnny’s, High Mowing and Fedco seed companies – selected 11 lettuce varieties of interest. Each grower chose a subset and everyone committed to planting two replicates of each variety in their last two plantings of lettuce. Key Findings:
  • Magenta, a red/green batavian, and Ruby Star, a red leaf, were the top performers with respect to overall vigor, flavour and germination.
  • Adriana was the growers’ least favourite.
Publish Date
February 4, 2020
Farmer(s)
Angie Koch, Joanna Kowalczyk, Lise-Anne Léveillé, David Mazur-Goulet, Hilary Moore, Leslie Moskovits, Harold Saunders and Ann Slater
Does comfrey promote growth and fruit production of saskatoon and berry and black currant? 2019 Research Report Cover Crops
Description
Perennial cover crops have many ecological benefits. However, they may compete with the crop or not provide sufficient weed control. Key Findings:
  • After 3 years at Pat’s and 2 years at Ivan’s, comfrey had no effect on fruit production or saskatoon and currant health.
  • Comfrey was a vigorous living mulch without causing detectable negative affects on fruit production.
Publish Date
February 4, 2020
Farmer(s)
Pat Kozowyk and Ivan Chan
Southern Ontario Participatory Pepper Breeding Project 2019 Research Report Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Five members of the plant breeding club SeedWorks continued to select and stabilize a genetically diverse red pepper population, as well as uniform progeny lines. Progress was made towards stabilizing the developing varieties, despite a hard season for peppers. Progress to Date:
  • Growers made progress towards stabilizing the progeny lines of yellow peppers.
  • Growers made progress towards a releasable, diverse red pepper population.
  • Growers will formalize the stabilization and aim to send new varieties to market in 2020.
Publish Date
February 4, 2020
Farmer(s)
Annie Richard, Kim Delaney, Greta Kryger, Rebecca Ivanoff, Kathy Rothermel
Is no-till planting spring cereal grain into winter-killed cover crops worth it? 2019 Research Report Cover Crops
Description
Spring cereals are integral to diverse rotations; however, it is often hard to get them planted early enough. One strategy to get into the field early is to no-till plant into cover crop residue, which provides soil cover in the winter and generally helps improve soil health. To investigate this approach, Ken no-till planted oats and barley into replicated plots of four different cover crops and plots that received fall tillage.  Key Findings:
  • Grain yield and relative net return were highest when no-till planted into daikon radish.
  • Weed control was best with daikon radish and the fall tillage control.
  • There was no soil erosion in the cover crop plots, and moderate rill erosion in the fall tillage plots.
Publish Date
January 7, 2020
Farmer(s)
Ken Laing
Do grafted tomatoes pay off in high tunnels in Ontario? 2019 Research Report Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Grafting is a proven way to incorporate disease resistance into tomato transplants. However adoption of this practice to high tunnel production is relatively new, so these four growers were curious about the economic viability of grafting tomatoes for production in high tunnels in southern Ontario. Key Findings:
  • Grafted tomatoes had greater total marketable yield regardless of scion variety.
  • Grafted tomatoes had greater overall plant health.
  • Grafted tomatoes had higher net returns on average but the degree of economic benefit varied by farm.
  • Yield advantage for grafting likely depends on scion variety and scion and rootstock compatibility.
Publish Date
January 7, 2020
Farmer(s)
Eric Barnhorst, Jenny Cook, Sarah Judd and Nathan Klassen
Meat Chicken Comparison 2016 Research Protocol Livestock Breed Selection
Description
Part of a multi-farm trial on two farms asking the research question: Does the Nova Free Ranger, a meat chicken derived from European heritage breeds, differ from the industrial White Rock with respect to production costs and meat quality?
Publish Date
December 11, 2019
Farmer(s)
Jason Hayes
A Guide to On-Farm Demonstration Research 2016
Description
Prepared for the British Columbia Forage Council by Dr. Catherine Tarasoff, this guide explains how to plan, prepare, and conduct your now on-farm demonstrations.
Publish Date
July 16, 2018
Farmer(s)
A ‘Comfrey’ Companion for Saskatoon? 2017 Research Report Soil Health
Description
Companion plants act as weed suppressors, nutrient accumulators and natural mulches, and provide other services by promoting ecology. Little data, however, exists on the benefit of specific companion plants. Pat tested the benefits of comfrey companion plants for Saskatoon bushes in her established organic orchard.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Pat Leisa Kozowyk
Cut Flower Isolation Distance 2019 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
With local cut flower production blooming in Ontario, there’s a need for more information on how to grow cut flower seed to meet the demands from growers. However, isolation distance for cut flower seed production is notoriously undocumented and, often, proprietary. Currently, Kim uses an isolation distance of 800 ft for her cut flower seed production but she’d like reduce this distance in order to free up space for greater flexibility in production.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Kim Delaney
Sweet Potato Breeding 2019 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Most sweet potatoes are grown from slips, which are clones of the tuber. This means that no new genetic diversity is created each year, with no progress towards regional adaptation. As a hexaploid (six homologous sets of chromosomes), however, sweet potatoes are very genetically diverse. To get new genetic diversity, plants need to be grown out, produce flowers and also produce viable seeds. This is difficult because most varieties of sweet potato show self- and cross-incompatibility, low natural flowering ability, and low seed fertility. Starting in 2019, Kate will evaluate and select tubers for southern Ontario’s growing conditions.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Kate Garvie
Reduced Protein for Heritage Chickens 2019 Research Protocol Alternative Livestock Feed
Description
Heather raises Chantecler chickens, a dual purpose bird that is also Canada’s only heritage breed of chickens. Until now, she’s raised them on the standard commercial rations, but she suspects they have different feed requirements compared to commercial hybrids. Heather is curious to see if the Chantecler can grow well on a reduced protein feed during the grow-out period. This, in turn, would reduce her feed costs. Even more, it would demonstrate that raising Chanteclers can be an economic enterprise for meat and layers, which better maintains genetic diversity over breeding the birds just for show.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Heather Newman
Southern Ontario Pepper Breeding Project Update 2019 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
This project started in 2016 using seed obtained from Dr. Michael Mazourek’s breeding program at Cornell University of a cross made between commercial varieties Ace and Aristotle. The 2019 season will be the fourth year of growing out the cross Ace F1 x Aristotle F1 at three different locations in the province (Ottawa, Wolfe Island/Kingston, Acton/Hillsburgh/Guelph). The farmers are growing a Mass Selected Population and two different projects of Progeny Lines. The mass selected population will always hold more genetic diversity and, therefore, be more variable. The yellow and red progeny lines offers a more stable line of each colour, for growers who require that.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Annie Richard and Kathy Rothermel, Greta Kryger and Rebecca Ivanoff
Pea Variety Trial 2019 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
A strong interest by organic and conventional farmers including larger market and CSA gardeners, in winter cover crops, particularly nitrogen-fixing cover crops, has stimulated Duane to investigate the possibility of using winter peas in that role.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Duane Falk
Early Yield Pea Breeding Update 2019 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Duane is developing a truly winter hardy garden pea. Specifically, he is trying to combine the winter hardiness of Austrian Winter Field Peas with the qualities of a garden pea (Lincoln, etc). This type of pea could be planted in the autumn and would yield early peas in the garden before the heat and drought set in, producing much better quality and ahead of the main season for farmers markets, etc. He started this project in 2018 and it should take 3-5 years to get uniform lines with the combined traits of hardiness and quality.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Duane Falk
Cucumber Breeding 2019 2019 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
The goal of this project is to produce an open pollinated seedless English cucumber with excellent flavour well adapted to growing in soil under organic greenhouse conditions.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Nathan Klassen
Broccoli Breeding Year 1 2019 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
The goal is to breed a heat tolerant heading broccoli that has broad genetics to be adaptable to climate variability and is bred for organic systems.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Greta Kryger
Fall Field Lettuce Variety Trial – Growing Season Evaluation Forms 2019 Data Sheet Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Growing season evaluation forms for the fall field lettuce variety trial.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Angie Koch, Ann Slater, Hilary Moore, Leslie Moskovits, David Mazur-Goulet and Lise-Anne Léveillé, Joanna Kowalczyk, Harold Saunders, Erik Landry and Andrew Meehan
No-till Tarp Trial – Data Sheets 2019 Data Sheet Soil Health
Description
Data collection sheets for the no-till tarp trials.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Brent Preston, Matt Jones and Chris Bocz and Jon Gagnon
Tomato Grafting Trial – Harvest Forms 2019 Data Sheet Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Harvest forms for the tomato grafting trial.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Eric Barnhorst, Jenny Cook, Sarah Judd and Nathan Klassen
Tomato Grafting 2019 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Specialized tomato rootstock seems to have a lot of potential, but it is unclear if they are well-developed for unheated hoophouses. Given the cost of the rootstock, extra labour, equipment and greenhouse space required to graft, these growers want to know: Are grafted tomatoes economically worthwhile in unheated hoophouses in Ontario?
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Eric Barnhorst, Jenny Cook, Sarah Judd and Nathan Klassen
Reduced Tillage for Fall Brassicas 2019 Research Protocol Cover Crops
Description
Ryan wants to see if they can reduce soil tillage/weed cultivation and irrigation requirements for fall brassicas. To do this, he will trial a mix of fall rye and hairy vetch cover crop, which will be crimped and used as mulch the following season for late-season broccoli in northern Ontario. He expects that they can build enough biomass by early July to establish a suitable mulch when crimped for late season brassicas in the northern Ontario. This will reduce the need for weed cultivation (tillage) and irrigation.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Ryan Spence and Isabelle Spence-Legault
No-till Tarp Trial – Update 2019 Research Protocol Soil Health
Description
This is a continuation and expansion of 2018’s tarping trial by The New Farm for 2019.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Brent Preston, Matt Jones, Chris Bocz and Jon Gagnon
No-till Spring Cereals – Update 2019 Research Protocol Soil Health
Description
This is a update for 2019’s protocol for Ken Laing’s farm.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Ken Laing
Fall Field Lettuce Variety Trial 2019 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
The fall slot for lettuce is challenging, as the lettuce has to handle both the heat of the summer and the cold of the fall with all the moisture and temperature variability that is characteristic this time of year. To compare different varieties and their performance in this seasonal niche, a group of nine growers from across the province selected lettuce varieties of interest. Each grower then chose a subset of these varieties, each committing to plant two replicates of each variety in their last two plantings of lettuce.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Angie Koch, Ann Slater, Hilary Moore, Leslie Moskovits, David Mazur-Goulet and Lise-Anne Léveillé, Joanna Kowalczyk, Harold Saunders, Erik Landry and Andrew Meehan
Comfrey as a Companion for Saskatoon and Currant 2019 Research Protocol Soil Health
Description
This is a continuation of Pat Kozowyk and Ivan Chan’s 2017 and 2018 projects looking at comfrey as a companion plant.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Pat Kozowyk and Ivan Chan
Biochar for Apple Orchards – Update 2019 Research Protocol Soil Health
Description
This is continuation of Val Steinmann and Brent Klassen’s 2018 study on the affects of biochar in their orchard.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Val Steinmann and Brent Klassen
Basalt for Heritage Grain 2019 Research Protocol Soil Health
Description
Basalt rock dust is a 100% natural mineralizer that is certified organic and is used as a mineralizer and a liming product with a high level of paramagnetism. Scientist have been researching the benefits of this Canadian mined product since mid 1980 and documenting the benefits for organic farmers (Rocks for Crops by Peter van Straaten). Some studies are suggesting an 35% increase in fruit production and yield in potatoes but no trials have been done on cereal grains as of yet. With interest in this organic fertilizer, Shelley and Tony asked the question: Does a rock mineralizer increase yield in heritage grains?
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Shelley Spruit
Putting Soil Health First 2016 Other Publications Soil Health
Description
The Environment Commissioner of Ontario’s report on soil health.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Is it possible to breed a delicious winter hardy garden pea for most of Ontario and eastern Canada? 2018 Research Report Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Duane would like to breed a pea that can be planted in the fall and yield early peas, before the heat and drought set in. He’d like to see early production of high quality peas to supply market gardeners and backyard gardeners without the struggles of early spring planting. Progress to Date:
  • This breeding project should take 3-5 years to get uniform lines with the combined traits of winter hardiness and quality, which are both complex traits.
  • Varieties derived from this project will be released publicly as per the Breeders Pledge (below).
  • If deemed commercially viable, the resulting varieties will also be licensed to small seed companies.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Duane Falk
Does ultra high density grazing as part of adaptive multi-paddock grazing have merit in Ontario? 2018 Research Report Pasture Regeneration
Description
Adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) grazing uses short grazing intervals followed by long rest periods. By doing so, this system allows for plant recovery, promotes optimal plant communities, protects against erosion and leads to net carbon storage in the soil (Stanley et al 2018). To optimize his grazing, Tony assessed the benefits of ultra high density grazing as part of his AMP approach. Specifically, he tested whether a single pass of mob grazing would provide a “hit and boost” to his pastures. Key Findings:
  • The amount of forage consumed was the same, irrespective of standard or ultra high density grazing.
  • Tony found no difference in pasture recovery between standard and ultra high density grazing.
  • Tony will graze these areas in a similar way next year to see if a second year of a “hit and boost” has benefits.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Tony McQuail
What is the best variety of Sweet Pea to grow in southern Ontario? 2018 Research Report Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Much of the flower seed being produced and used by cut flower growers across Canada is grown internationally in the Netherlands, Israel, and various South American and African countries. This means that varieties are not adapted to the Canadian climate and flower growers can’t support local seed houses. Jessica wanted to assess different varieties from local seed houses to find the best one for her farm, and she enlisted the help of other flower growers. Key Findings:
  • There was not a detectable difference in plant quality among blush or white varieties.
  • While there was not enough data to analyze statistically, Jessica recorded differences in bloom period and vase life. In doing so, she gained insight into the importance of these factors – especially in hot southern Ontario – for future variety trials of Sweet Peas.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Jessica Gale
Is it possible to breed an early, blocky pepper with good flavour that is adapted to organic systems in southern Ontario? 2018 Research Report Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Four growers continued to select and stabilize peppers for their breeding project. Progress was made towards stabilizing the developing variety. Progress to Date:
  • Growers made progress towards stabilizing the lines of red and yellow peppers.
  • A red pepper from this developing line won a blind taste test and was generally rated with great flavour.
  • Measurements confirmed blocky-ness.
  • Growers will formalize the stabilization and aim to send the variety to market in 2020.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Annie Richard and Kathy Rothermel, Greta Kryger, Rebecca Ivanoff,
Does tarping between succession plantings reduce the amount of tillage and labour required for organic salad production? 2018 Research Report Soil Health
Description
With the goal of regenerative farming, Brent and Gillian want to minimize tillage for their organic salad greens production. To do this, they trialed tarps to kill residue between succession plantings and recorded the management needed to direct seed. They also tracked labour, including time moving and placing tarps and hand weeding. Key Findings:
  • Tarping soil, without tilling before tarping, reduced tillage by 82% and resulted in faster growing crops.
  • It also reduced total labour 60% for lettuce and spinach crops because of fewer weeds.
  • It increased total labour by 65% for mustard greens, which do not require weeding.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Brent Preston and Gillian Flies
Is lettuce seed production in northern Ontario improved using a hoop house? 2018 Research Report Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Northern Ontario faces specific challenges compared to other parts of the province when it comes to seed production, including late springs and early frosts (as early as end of August), followed with a wet fall. The demand for lettuce and greens seed is high, but these growing conditions make producing lettuce seed outdoors very difficult. This means that northern seed producers cannot produce regionally adapted varieties. As a potential solution to lettuce seed production in northern Ontario, Peggy compared seed production in a hoop house and uncovered. Key Findings:
  • In the hoop house, Peggy grew sellable lettuce seed from 4 of 5 varieties, and sales of the seeds would recoup hoop house material costs in 2.21 years.
  • When grown uncovered, none of the 5 varieties produced viable seed.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Peggy Baillie
Does planting timing of green mulches affect yield of garlic and labour? 2018 Research Report Cover Crops
Description
This project compared yield and labour for garlic planted into established oats, garlic and oats planted together, and garlic without a cover crop. Key Findings:
  • Garlic survival and proportion of medium garlic was highest when garlic was planted with oats or into bare soil (control); and lowest when garlic was planted into an established oat cover crop.
  • Garlic planted into an established cover crop required more planting labour and delayed emergence.
  • Delayed emergence, in turn, delayed weeding and allowed perennial species to establish.
  • Eric won’t use the oat treatments as tested again; but seeing the biomass of the early oat planting has motivated him to tweak the system to make it work.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Eric Barnhorst
Is Fusarium infection in garlic reduced with a copper spray or biostimulant? 2018 Research Report Disease & Pest Control
Description
Felicia grows nematode-free garlic, which she sells as clean seed. She’d like to prevent loss to Fusarium and tested a copper spray and biostimulant spray as potential ways to control the fungus. Key Findings:
  • The dry conditions and good seed garlic led to low Fusarium pressure this year.
  • Felicia found no difference in the proportion of garlic with visual signs of infection by weight of good garlic when she compared plots treated with copper spray, RhizoVital® spray and no spray.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Felicia Syer Nicol
Do organic sprays differ in their efficacy against disease in black walnut? 2018 Research Report Disease & Pest Control
Description
Joseph and Jazmin compared organic sprays for managing disease in their young orchard, with the goal of discovering the best organic approach to care for their black walnuts. Key Findings:
  • Disease and insect pressure was low on the young trees measured this year.
  • While there was no statistical difference between the two treatments (neem oil vs copper and biological insecticide). They will continue measurements for a second year.
  • The most significant indicator of fungal infection is early defoliation in the fall. Therefore, observations next year at the end of the season could strengthen their overall conclusions.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Joseph Imre and Jazmin Bansagi
Does comfrey promote growth and fruit production of saskatoon berry and black currant? 2018 Research Report Cover Crops
Description
Perennial cover crops have many ecological benefits. However, they may compete with the crop or not provide sufficient weed control. Progress to Date:
  • In her second year with comfrey, Pat found no difference in saskatoon growth or production compared to shrubs without comfrey.
  • In their first year, Arthur and Ivan collected baseline data, and they will continue to measure growth and production for another 2 years.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Pat Kozowyk, Ivan Chan and Arthur Churchyard
Does biochar improve tree growth in a newly established apple orchard? 2018 Research Report Soil Health
Description
Val and Brent were curious to know if biochar will help regenerate soil in their young apple orchard and help to set in motion biological activity and nutrient retention. Researchers have documented benefits from biochar in arid and tropical soils, which vary by soil fertility status and biochar quality. Much less is known about biochar’s effect in temperate regions, but there is anecdotal support for biochar use from some farmers in Ontario. Key Findings:
  • In the first year of application, Val and Brent detected no effect of the biochar amendment on soil microbial activity, as a proxy for soil health.
  • They also detected no changes in tree health in the first year of application.
  • Val and Brent will continue to monitor soil and tree health in future years.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Val Steinmann and Brent Klassen
Tarping vs Tilling for Salad Production 2018 Research Protocol Soil Health
Description
To help regenerate soil health, Brent and Gillian want to reduce the number of tillage passes they makes for their production of organic salad mix. Given that salad greens are relatively labile in composition (i.e. easily decomposable), they want to try tarping as a method for bed preparation before they direct seed at the start of the season and between succession plantings.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Brent Preston and Gillian Flies
Does High Density Grazing as part of Adaptive Multi-Paddock Grazing Have Merit in Ontario? 2018 Research Protocol Pasture Regeneration
Description
To optimize his grazing, Tony wants to assess the benefits of high intensity grazing as part of his adaptive multi-paddock approach. Specifically, he wants to use a mob system as “a hit and a boost”, such that management will go back to less dense rotational grazing after the boost from the trampling and intensity of the mob approach.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Tony McQuail
Efficacy of Biochar in Orchards 2018 Research Protocol Soil Health
Description
Val is curious to know if biochar has a chance of helping her head in right direction, with respect to soil organic matter and carbon storage on her farm.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Val Steinmann and Brent Klassen
Towards Farmer-led Research: A Guidebook 2018 Other Publications
Description
This guidebook aims to provide insights for working collaboratively with farmers in research. We identified and synthesized the literature on farmer-led research and farmer participatory research activities from around the world, with a focus on the North American context. Further, we shared our experiences and lessons learned from the first three years of Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario’s Farmer-led Research Program. This resource is meant to be used as a practical tool for researchers and practitioners looking to develop, implement, and evaluate farmer-led research programs.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Sweet Pea Variety Trial 2018 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
This document outlines the steps that Jessica, Sas, Janis, Joanne, and Jen will follow to execute their variety trial for Sweet Peas. The goal of this trial is to identify the best varieties of Sweet Peas for small-scale, ecological flower farms in Ontario.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Jessica Gale, Sas Long, Janis Harris, Jen Feddema, Joanne Feddes
Southern Ontario Participatory Pepper Breeding Project 2018 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
This document outlines the steps that Rebecca, Greta, Annie and Kathy will follow to continue breeding a pepper as part of the Southern Ontario Pepper Breeding Project. Specifically, the group is growing out three lines this year: their mass-selected red pepper population, yellow progeny line and red pepper progeny line.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Annie Richard and Kathy Rothermel, Greta Kryger, Rebecca Ivanoff,
Organic disease management for Black Walnut 2018 Research Protocol Disease & Pest Control
Description
Joseph and Jazmin will compare two methods of disease management in their black walnut orchard, with the goal of discovering the best sustainable and organic approach for caring for their black walnuts.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Joseph Imre and Jazmin Bansagi
Lettuce Seed Production in Northern Ontario 2018 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Peggy will compare two methods of lettuce seed production, under a covered structure and uncovered in northern Ontario,
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Peggy Baillie
Garlic Mulch Experiment Update 2018 Research Protocol Cover Crops
Description
This document updates the protocol Eric will follow to answer the following questions: Does the cover crop make a difference to garlic yield and labour? What is best way to manage the cover crop? This is a part of a multi-farm trial with completed projects at Heather Coffey and Ken Laing’s.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Eric Barnhorst, Heather Coffey, Ken Laing
Ecology in action for Dahlia production: Luring cucumber beetles and their predators 2018 Research Protocol Disease & Pest Control
Description
Dahlias are one of the top 5 crops of small scale flower farmers, focused on local markets. Dahlias, however, are a ephemeral crops that can be delicate and difficult to ship. They also face higher pest pressure than other flower crops, including common agricultural pests like tarnished plant bug, spotted cucumber beetle, and southern corn rootworm. The later is particularly damaging because many field grown dahlias begin blooming after many of the cucurbit crops (the insect’s preference) are more mature and less enticing to the pests.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Jessica Gale
Early Yielding Pea Breeding 2018 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Duane would like to develop a truly winter hardy garden pea. Specifically, he would like to combine the winter hardiness of Austrian Winter Field Peas with the qualities of a garden pea (Lincoln, etc). This type of pea could be planted in the autumn and would yield early peas in the garden before the heat and drought set in, producing much better quality and ahead of the main season for farmers markets, etc. This should take 3-5 years to get uniform lines with the combined traits of hardiness and quality; these traits are both complex.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Duane Falk
Comfrey as a Companion Plant for Saskatoon and Black currant 2018 Research Protocol Soil Health
Description
Internationally, some research is becoming available on long-term cover crops for perennial cropping systems as well (e.g. orchards, vineyards, and other fruit and nut production). However, there has been little research to date on the effectiveness, practicality and ecological benefits of perennial cover crops in the Ontario context. This project is a continuation of Pat’s 2017 research project.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Pat Kozowyk, Ivan Chan and Arthur Churchyard
No-till Spring Cereals with Different Cover Crops 2018 Research Protocol Soil Health
Description
Can a farmer use winter killed cover crop to provide fall and winter cover on soil and make suitable field conditions to no-till plant spring cereals?  
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Ken Laing
Interplanting Onions and Brassicas 2017 Research Report Disease & Pest Control
Description
Interplanting is an agroecological approach that optimizes space, light capture, and water and nutrient use. Effective combinations vary by region and system, and Ryan wanted to test different intercropping distances using a paper pot transplanter. Ryan’s goals for interplanting were to optimize growing space and minimize pest pressure without impacting growth of onions or brassicas.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Ryan Thiessen
Workflow for Downloading and Graphing Weather Data 2018 Other Publications
Description
Step-by-step instructions for downloading and graphing weather data for farmer-led research projects.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Summary of Projects 2017 2017 Other Publications
Description
In cooperation with Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, 13 ecological farmers from across the province received funding to conduct 14 research trials for their farms. This is a brief summary of the year, including the data collected in 2017 by EFAO farmer-researchers.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Spring Planted White Clover in Garlic 2017 Research Report Weed Control
Description
Garlic on small organic farms is typically either dry mulched (e.g. straw) or grown in bare soil and cultivated for weed control. Farmers would like to see the soil covered to prevent erosion, increase water retention, and improve soil nutrition. However, water retention could increase nematode pressure and green mulches could compete with garlic. Heather wanted to see if there was a difference in yields of garlic when white
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Heather Coffey
Southern Ontario Pepper Breeding Project 2017 Research Report Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Ecological farmers in southern Ontario do not have access to an early ripening bell pepper that is available in organic seed or bred for organic production systems. To meet this need, Greta, Rebecca, Annie and Kathy are selecting red and yellow peppers while building a network of regional vegetable seed breeders!
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Annie Richard and Kathy Rothermel, Greta Kryger, Rebecca Ivanoff,
Amendments for Pasture Regeneration 2017 Research Report Pasture Regeneration
Description
Productive pastures are paramount to organic grass-fed, grass-finished beef operations, especially when soil health and regeneration are also important farm goals. To try to further regenerate specific areas of his rotationally-grazed pastures, Tony tested whether addressing micronutrient deficiencies would help pasture growth.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Tony McQuail
Living & Dry Spring Mulches in Garlic 2017 Research Report Cover Crops
Description
Garlic on small organic farms is typically either dry mulched (e.g. straw) or grown in bare soil and cultivated for weed control. Farmers would like to see the soil covered to prevent erosion, increase water retention, and improve soil nutrition. However, water retention could increase nematode pressure and green mulches could compete with garlic. Ken set out to see if there was a difference in yield of marketable garlic between cultivation and spring mulches.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Ken Laing
Probiotics for Pasture-Raised Chickens 2017 Research Report Alternative Livestock Feed
Description
White rock chickens are the industry standard but weight gain is usually lower on pasture than in conventional settings. Feeding them probiotics, therefore, might improve the health and weight gain of pasture-raised chickens. With several products on the market, Justin wanted to see if any would have a real effect on his chickens. Justin set out to compare three commercial poultry probiotics to see if they increased growth rates and survival of pasture-raised White Rock chickens.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Justin Hilborn
Foliar Sprays for Cucurbits 2017 Research Report Disease & Pest Control
Description
Ecological vegetable growers often struggle with pests and disease pressure. There is anecdotal and observational information around the use of organic foliar sprays, but quantitative data is lacking. While nutrient foliar sprays can be expensive, the cost could be less than time and space cost associated with succession planting needed to manage disease pressure. With the goal of minimizing succession planting and field space while maximizing harvestable yield, Angie tested the efficacy of a nutrient foliar spray to maintain health of her cucurbits.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Angie Koch
Foliar Sprays for Cut Flower Production 2017 Research Report Disease & Pest Control
Description
Ecological cut flower growers are more limited in the their options for managing pests and disease pressure. There is anecdotal and observational information around the use of organic foliar sprays, but quantitative data is lacking. To generate robust data for herself and other growers, Jessica Gale tested the efficacy of a nutrient foliar spray and an anti-fungal spray on two flower varieties.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Jessica Gale
Foliar Sprays for Cucurbits 2017 Research Protocol Soil Health
Description
How does a nutrient foliar spray compare to no spray with respect to plant health and production of summer squash and cucumbers?
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Angie Koch
Comfrey as a Companion for Saskatoon 2017 Research Protocol Soil Health
Description
Pat had previously planted Saskatoon bushes and is curious about the ability of comfrey to help growth and vitality in Saskatoons.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Pat Kozowyk
Interplanting Brassicas and Onion 2017 Research Protocol Disease & Pest Control
Description
For this trial, Ryan asked if onion growth is affected by intercropped brassicas. His hypothesis was that intercropping will optimize growing space and minimize pest pressure without impacting growth of onions or brassicas.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Ryan Thiessen
Pasture-Raised Chicken Breed Comparison 2016 Research Report Livestock Breed Selection
Description
Jason Hayes raised groups of Nova Free Ranger and White Rock chickens on pasture and measured feed intake, carcass yield, taste and nutritional quality.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Jason Hayes
Probiotics for Pasture-Raised Chicken 2017 Research Protocol Alternative Livestock Feed
Description
To test effects on overall health and feed efficiency in his organically and pasture-raised chicken, Justin will compare three commercial poultry probiotics, administered according to the manufacturer’s instructions to a no probiotic control.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Justin Hilborn
Southern Ontario Participatory Pepper Breeding Project 2017 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
This document outlines the steps that Rebecca, Greta, Annie and Kathy will follow to continue breeding a pepper as part of the Southern Ontario Pepper Breeding Project.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Annie Richard and Kathy Rothermel, Greta Kryger, Rebecca Ivanoff,
Garlic Mulch Trial 2017 Research Protocol Weed Control
Description
Ken, Eric and Heather were curious about using low-till methods for organic garlic production so they set-up different randomized, replicates trials to test the efficacy of green mulches.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Eric Barnhorst, Heather Coffey, Ken Laing
Foliar Sprays for Cut Flowers 2017 Research Protocol Disease & Pest Control
Description
For this trial, Jessica will compare a nutrient spray on plant health of Sweat Pea and compare an anti-fungal spray for survivability of Lisianthus.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Jessica Gale
Systems Research for Agriculture 2016 Other Publications
Description
Web link to free PDF download of SARE’s Systems Research for Agriculture e-book. This handbook is essential reading for research coordinators and all other team members as they navigate the complexities of multifaceted systems projects.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Summary of Projects 2016 2016 Other Publications
Description
Brief summary of the year, including the data collected in 2016 by EFAO farmer-researchers. This was included in the package given out at the Ecological Farmers of Ontario Conference in Kingston, Nov/Dec 2016.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
A Practical Guide to On-Farm Pasture Research 2016 Other Publications Pasture Regeneration
Description
An NE-SARE publication on on-farm research as it relates to pasture experiments.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
On-Farm Research Guide 2016 Other Publications
Description
On-Farm Research Guide by Organic Farming Research Foundation.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Sensitivity and Reproducibility of Soil Health Tests 2016 Research Protocol Soil Health
Description
To what extent are soil health tests reproducible and sensitive to practices on ecological farms? It is widely recognized that standard soil tests often don’t reflect the fertility or production potential on ecological farms. So the question remains: what soil tests help ecological farmers assess whether different farming practices improve soil health (i.e. soil structure, biology and carbon storage)? This project will compare different soil tests from farm fields and natural reference sites (e.g. fence row, prairie, etc.) to test their reproducibility (how similar are replicated samples?) and sensitivity (how well does a soil test differentiate between fields?).
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Paul DeJong, Ken Laing, Tony McQuail,
Efficacy of Foliar Sprays 2016 Research Protocol Nutritional Quality of Food
Description
Research Question: Do foliar sprays benefit the health of different crash crops? There is anecdotal evidence that foliar sprays reduce disease and help control pests, leading to healthier plants and tastier crops.
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Angie Koch
Quick Turnaround Cover Crops Before Brassicas 2016 Research Protocol Cover Crops
Description
Part of a multi-farm trial on five farms asking the research question: Do spring planted cover crops benefit the production of late season brassica cash crops?
Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Ryan Thiessen, Kevin Hamilton, Angie Koch, Ken Laing, Mike Reid
Cabbage Seed Production 2017 Research Protocol Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Rebecca and Nicola will compare two methods of cabbage seed production:
  1. The “Fruition” or “pyramid” method, learned from Petra and Matthew at Fruition Seeds, where the head is trimmed like a pyramid such that leaves are usable but not sellable and;
  2. An alternative “Meadowlark” or “chop” method, learned from Beth and Nathan at Meadowlark Hearth Biodynamic Seeds, that removes the head in a way that it can be sold at winter or spring markets.
Publish Date
April 24, 2017
Farmer(s)
Nicola Inglefield and Rebecca Ivanoff