Summer and Fall Head Lettuce Variety Trials 2020 Research Project Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
IN A NUTSHELL The growers’ objective was to document the best summer and fall head lettuce across different farms throughout southern and eastern Ontario during the 2020 season.
  • Magenta, Muir, and Nevada were the top varieties with respect to overall vigor, flavour, and germination in the summer.
  • Green Star was the growers’ least favourite variety overall in the summer.
  • Magenta, Ruby Sky, and Red Mist (from Vitalis Organic Seed) were the top varieties with respect to overall vigor in the fall.
  • Encino was the growers’ least favourite variety overall in the fall.
  • Red Mist (from another seedhouse) had poor germination rates, demonstrating that seed source – and not just variety – matters.
Publish Date
November 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Angie Koch, Ann Slater, Lise-Anne Léveillé, Jon Gagnon, Laurie & Corey Ahrens, Martina Schaefer, Hilary Moore, Harold Saunders and Sarah Judd
Performance of Chantecler chickens on a reduced protein grower ration 2020 Research Project Livestock Feed
Description
IN A NUTSHELL Heather compared a standard protein ration with 16% protein to a reduced protein ration with 13% protein to see how her heritage Chantecler chickens responded during the grow-out period.
  • In 2019, Heather tracked the weight of three cohorts of chickens, taking more than 1,000 weight measurements of individual chickens.
  • There were no consistent differences in the weight of chickens on the two protein rations throughout the grow-out period.
  • There was also no detectable effect of reduced protein on finished live weight or dressed weight.
  • In 2020, Heather continued to use the reduced protein ration and would like to continue the trial over several seasons for more confidence.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Heather Newman
Assessing chronology of soil nutrient status in pastures across a topographic gradient 2020 Research Project Pasture Regeneration
Description
N A NUTSHELL To help him optimize pasture growth, Andy assessed soil nutrient status from the top slope, side slope and bottom slope of a 50–year old pasture and a hay field that he will start grazing in 2021.
  • Organic matter was higher in the older pasture but did not change significantly with topography.
  • Potassium, phosphorus and iron were also higher in the old pasture and potassium was higher on the top slope. Andy observed variations in manganese and copper for reasons that are unknown.
  • Andy’s observations of better soil health at the top of the hills weren’t supported by the basic assessment of soil nutrient status used in this study.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Andy Macdonald
Efficacy of mycorrhizal inoculants on vegetable transplants 2020 Research Project Disease & Pest Control
Description
IN A NUTSHELL Given the incredible importance of fungi in our world, Dianne was curious if inoculants improved lettuce and onions yields, as these two species are known to grow in relationship with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF).
  • In 2019, she used AMF inoculants for the first time and observed particularly large, healthy lettuce and onions.
  • In 2020, she set-up a randomized and replicated trial comparing two inoculants to uninoculated controls for Ariana, Cantarix, Nevada and Skyphos lettuce and Patterson onion. While they were also large and healthy, Dianne detected no effects of the inoculants yield.
  • She wonders if the design of the trial was flawed because she unsuspectingly inoculated and/or resuscitated the mycorrhizal community of her whole garden in 2019.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Dianne Kretschmar
In search of short season northern grain amaranth varieties: A screening trial of grain amaranth (Amaranthus spp) 2020 Research Project Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
IN A NUTSHELL Amaranth is climate-resilient and nutrient-dense, and is an important Indigenous plant of the Americas. To learn which varieties of amaranth are best suited for their region of southern Ontario, Ronaldo and Myriam compared five varieties of amaranth in an unreplicated screening trial.
  • They observed differences among the varieties in germination, flowering times, flowering patters and yield and think that Grain Amaranth from Richters Herbs and Atitlan Dorado from IMAP Guatemala merit consideration for a replicated trial.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Ronaldo Eleazar Lec Ajcot & Myriam Legault
No-till tomatoes 3-ways 2020 Research Project Soil Health
Description
IN A NUTSHELL To further explore no-till techniques, Matt compared no-till tomatoes three ways: compost + landscape fabric, compost + cover crop + landscape fabric, and compost + cardboard + landscape fabric.
  • He detected no difference in cumulative or monthly tomato yield among the three methods.
  • He also detected no difference in water infiltration, an indicator of soil health, among the three methods.
  • This data indicates that adding cardboard or cover crops to compost and landscape fabric does not improve yield for no-till tomatoes; and cardboard and cover crops may be a useful means of further building soil without negative effects on yield.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Matt Jones
In search of short season northern sweet potatoes: Variety trials of new sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) crosses 2020 Research Project Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
IN A NUTSHELL To identify the best performing crosses of sweet potato for organic farming systems in the Ottawa area, Kate, Erin and Lise-Anne compared nine new crosses of sweet potato and one check variety (Covington) in a replicated and randomized trial across three farms.
  • They identified three varieties that they think are definitely worth continuing to grow and observe, and another two “runner-up” crosses that are alsopromising.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Kate Garvie, Erin Richan, Lise-Anne Léveillé
Effects of liquid and biological amendments on emergence and yield of no-till planted spring cereals 2020 Research Project Soil Health
Description
N A NUTSHELL To try to hasten emergence and improve yield of no-till planted spring cereals, Ken compared liquid amendment, biological amendment, a combination of amendments and a no-amendment control.
  • There was no observable difference in emergence due to amendments.
  • There was no significant difference in yield among the different treatments.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Ken Laing
Grafting for organic low-tech greenhouse tomatoes 2020 Research Project Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
IN A NUTSHELL As a follow-up to their 2019 multi-farm trial, we compared 5 large tomato varieties and 4 cherry tomato varieties grown by grafting onto four different rootstocks and an ungrafted control.
  • The best choice of rootstock was specific to the scion, with some rootstocks producing no improvement or even reducing yield for some varieties of scion.
  • Compared to ungrafted plants, Caiman F1 large tomatoes had great yield and profitability when grafted DR0141TX rootstock.
  • Preliminary data suggest that only Sakura cherry tomato may benefit from grafting on Fortanimo or Estanimo, but more replicates are needed to be confident.
  • Preliminary data suggest that grafting “heirloom- like” hybrid varieties tested does not confer a yield advantage, but that open pollinated Striped German maybe benefit from being grafted onto Fortanimo.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
R. Victor & Nathan Klassen
No-till fall broccoli in northern Ontario 2020 Research Project Cover Crops
Description
IN A NUTSHELL Ryan and Isabelle tested whether a crimped cover crop of rye and hairy vetch reduced tillage, cultivation and irrigation for their fall broccoli crop.
  • Compared to tillage, the cover crop residue provided sufficient mulch to significantly reduce weeding time and increase soil moisture throughout the growing season by 11%. There was adequate rainfall, so they didn’t need to use irrigation in the tillage plots.
  • Broccoli grown in crimped cover crop mulch had around half the marketable yield compared to the tilled plots.
  • The yield loss combined with no difference in total labour made this no-till system as tested unviable for broccoli production.
Lire le rapport en français >
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Ryan Spence & Isabelle Spence-Legault