Tournesols sans labour dans le nord de l’Ontario 2021, 2020 Research Project Soil Health
Description

L’objectif de Becky était de voir s’il était possible d’établir des lieux de cultivation sans labour qui remplacerait de pâturages permanents existants pour la production de fleurs coupées.

En Bref

  • Le paillis de résidus de cultures, du compost profond et le travail du sol (témoin) n’a donné aucun résultat appréciable par faute d’une mauvaise germination dans la répétition de son essai.
  • Becky a eu de la chance en cultivant des tournesols dans deux parcelles de démonstration qu’elle a bâchées pendant 12 mois et 2 mois, respectivement.
  • Becky recommande d’utiliser des bâches pendant de 2 à 12 mois avant de tenter la cultivation dans des pâturages permanents

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Publish Date
September 1, 2022
Farmer(s)
Becky Porlier
Assessing methods for nutrient application to prevent chlorosis in chestnuts 2020 Research Project Soil Health
Description

To prevent chlorosis in chestnuts, Derick compared broadcasting and localized application of nutrient amendments to no amendment controls. After a year of growth, he measured tree height and leaf nutrient status.

In a Nutshell

  • Derick detected no difference in plant health or leaf nutrient status between the two amendment methods. Given the extra labour involved with the localized treatment, he will not broadcast any amendments moving forward.
  • He detected higher leaf potassium levels in the amended trees, which is important for iron availability in the plant.

Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Derick Greenly
Direct seeding into compost mulch 2020 Research Project Soil Health
Description

To reduce tillage for crops that are direct seeded, Jason tested different composts in a no-till deep bed system in one trial each of lettuce and carrots.

In a Nutshell

  • The substrates for deep compost mulch differed with respect to growing lettuce and carrots, but bare ground control produced the highest seedling count for lettuce and the greatest yield for carrots.
  • Optimizing the use of deep bed compost requires a systems approach since seeding depth and irrigation rate, etc. differ by substrate. It was not practical, however, for Jason to test each substrate in a systems- context which limits the applicability of these results.

Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Jason Hayes
No-till tomatoes 3-ways 2020 Research Project Soil Health
Description

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.

In a Nutshell

  • 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
Effects of liquid and biological amendments on emergence and yield of no-till planted spring cereals 2020 Research Project Soil Health
Description

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.

In a Nutshell

  • 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
Brocoli d’automne sans labour dans le nord de l’Ontario 2020, 2019 Research Project Soil Health
Description

Ryan et Isabelle ont testé si une culture de couverture sertie de seigle et de vesce velue réduirait le travail du sol, l’entretien de la culture et l’irrigation pour leur récolte de brocolis d’automne.

En Bref

  • Par rapport au travail du sol, les résidus de culture de couverture ont fourni suffisamment de paillis pour réduire consid rablement le temps de d sherbage et augmenter l’humidité du sol tout au long de la saison de croissance avec 11% plus d’humidité que la parcelle de contrôle. Les pluies étaient suffisantes, de sorte qu’ils n’avaient pas besoin d’irriguer les parcelles de labour.
  • Le brocoli cultivé dans le paillis créé par la culture de couverture serti avait environ la moitié du rendement commercialisable par rapport aux parcelles labourées.
  • La perte de rendement combinée à l’absence de différence dans la main-d’oeuvre totale a rendu ce systéme sans labour, tel que testé, non viable pour la production de brocoli.

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Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Ryan Spence & Isabelle Spence-Legault
No-till broccoli with landscape fabric in northern Ontario 2021 Research Project Soil Health
Description

As a continuation of their no-till broccoli trial in 2020 using cover crops, Ryan and Isabelle tested no-till broccoli using landscape fabric in 2021.

In a Nutshell

  • Broccoli grown using the no-till treatment of landscape fabric had lower yield and required more labour.
  • Despite poor performance of no-till broccoli using mulches, Ryan and Isabelle still believe that fall broccoli in northeastern Ontario can be grown successfully in a no- till system, and will likely try no-till broccoli without a mulch system (cover crop or fabric) in 2022.

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Publish Date
April 1, 2021
Farmer(s)
Ryan Spence and Isabelle Spence-Legault
Shallow vs deep tillage in permanent beds for onions 2021 Research Project Soil Health
Description
To test whether permanent beds can grow onions well with only shallow tillage (1.5 inches) as compared to deep and shallow tillage.

In a Nutshell

  • Jeff found no difference in onion yield (weight) between the tillage treatments.
  • Seeing no adverse effects from using only shallow tillage gives Jeff confidence to try more minimum tillage for bed preparation in the future.
  • Yankee variety outperformed Norstar by an average of 20% more by weight.

Publish Date
April 1, 2021
Farmer(s)
Jeff Boesch
Brocoli sans labour avec tissu couvre-sol dans le nord de l’Ontario 2021 Research Project Soil Health
Description

Suite à leur essai de brocoli sans labour en 2020 avec des cultures de couverture, Ryan et Isabelle ont testé du brocoli sans labour avec du tissu couvre-sol en 2021.

En Bref

  • Le brocoli cultivé en utilisant le traitement sans labour du tissu couvre-sol avait un rendement inférieur et nécessitait plus de maind’œuvre.
  • Malgré la faible performance du brocoli sans labour utilisant des paillis, Ryan et Isabelle croient toujours que le brocoli d’automne dans le nord-est de l’Ontario peut être cultivé avec succès dans un système sans labour, et essaieront probablement le brocoli sans labour sans système de paillis (culture de couverture ou tissu) en 2022.

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Publish Date
April 1, 2021
Farmer(s)
Ryan Spence and Isabelle Spence-Legault
No-till sunflowers in northern Ontario 2021, 2020 Research Project Soil Health
Description

Becky’s goal was to see if it was possible to establish land for cut flower production on existing perennial pastures using no-till methods.

In a Nutshell

  • Poor germination across her replicated trial comparing cover crop mulch, deep compost mulch and tillage (control) resulted in no appreciable results to note.
  • Becky had good luck growing sunflowers in two demonstration plots that she tarped for 12 months and 2 months.
  • Becky recommends using tarps for 2-12 months ahead of planting into perennial pasture.

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Publish Date
April 1, 2021
Farmer(s)
Becky Porlier
Management sensitivity, repeatability, and consistency of interpretation of soil health indicators on organic farms in southwestern Ontario 2019 Manuscripts 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.

Keywords

soil health, active carbon, organic matter, farmer-led research, organic farming.

Publish Date
February 5, 2020
Farmer(s)
Paul DeJong, Ken Laing, Tony McQuail
Does rock mineralizer increase yield of heritage wheat? 2019 Research Project 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
Putting soil health first 2016 Research Manuals & Guides Soil Health
Description
The Environment Commissioner of Ontario’s report on soil health.

Publish Date
February 6, 2018
Farmer(s)
Does tarping between succession plantings reduce the amount of tillage and labour required for organic salad production? 2018 Research Project 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
Does biochar improve tree growth in a newly established apple orchard? 2018 Research Project 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