Finding food that originates in Chatham-Kent and Ontario over the winter

By Kim Cooper, Economic Development Officer, Agriculture Specialist for the municipality of Chatham-Kent.

In many articles I’ve written, I have mentioned buying local and buying fresh. I believe most of us realize the importance of buying quality food products for ourselves and our family, as well as the importance of supporting our local producers.

One of the questions that arise from buying local food products – how do we continue to buy local and buy fresh in the winter and early spring, when there are no outdoor crops being grown in Chatham-Kent?

We can buy products such as apples and carrots throughout most of the year. Apples are kept crisp and delicious due to temperature and humidity-controlled storage. For carrots, our producers are using innovative ways to store carrots, and you can buy Ontario carrots under the following brand names: Nature’s Finest Produce, Bolthouse Farms, Farm Fresh, Earth Fresh, and Best of Bradford.

But for other crops, other than our greenhouse peppers and tomatoes, there really are no fresh fruits and vegetables around. But we always have the frozen and canned products available. The Green Giant Company has a “Grown and Packed in Canada” label, along with a red maple leaf in the top right corner of frozen bags of peas, corn, and green and yellow beans. Read more

IPM 2014

Chatham-Kent 2018 International Plowing Match

Volunteers are still needed Over the next three years the municipality of Chatham-Kent will construct a new town, located near the village of Pain Court, due west of Chatham. For a five day period in September 2018, this little city could double Chatham-Kent’s existing 100,000+ population. Its buildings will be constructed of canvassed vinyl, and sod […]

Amy Petherick. Photo: Deborah Deville.

The young are on board, literally

In Ontario’s Northumberland County, young farmers make up the majority on many commodity and farm boards. Here’s how we do it

There’s nothing like an unexpected dinner invitation to get the attention of a person who is normally responsible for daily meal preparation. The invitation arrived by text, and it didn’t take long to figure out whether to accept. Accept first, I said. Ask questions later.

When I did ask the question, I was right to think there might be a reason. “Be ready to explain why our executive is so young,” was basically how the next text read in response. Read more

The dirt on soil tests

With soil nutrient levels dropping, how do you need to change your soil-testing program and fertility rates?

By

Fewer farmers are sampling their soils. In Ontario, the numbers say fewer than 30 per cent of farmers test every three years, even though this trend is leading to a data gap at a time when everything else seems to be changing too, such as the rapid climb in yield potentials, and elite corn hybrids that are so much more efficient at extracting nutrients.

Also worrying is that the experts are lining up to tell us that, one way or another, more farmers are mining their soils. Read more

Estimating Corn Yield


Early corn yield estimations are a great way to get out into your field and start to predict the yield of different varieties given the growing season. It allows a grower to start making harvest decisions, marketing decisions, and to estimate needed storage capacity.

How many spots should I sample from?

Generally doing a kernel count every 10-15 acres is recommended. For soils that are extremely variable, doing a kernel count every 5-10 acres would be beneficial. Select random spots in the field when walking through as you are trying to get the best representation of the field.

Read more

Estimating Soybean Yield

Calculating soybean yields can be difficult. Plant spacing, soil types, environmental factors, insect and disease stress can all affect the final yield. Pod numbers, seeds per pod, and seed size will all control yield.

When do I begin counting?

The earliest time to begin yield counts is around R5-R6 stage with the R6 stage being preferred (a pod on any of the top four nodes of main stem full of seed.). By R6, all flowering will stop, pods have developed, and seeds in the pods are mostly filled. The accuracy of counts will always increase the closer you are to harvest.

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Keep treated seed and contaminants out of our food chain

With harvest upon us, we want to remind all Thompsons customers that we have a zero tolerance for treated seed or contaminants in ANY load of beans, grains, corn and edible beans coming into our facilities.

WARNING:

Zero tolerance for TREATED SEED occurring in grains, soybeans, corn and edible beans.

Make sure all equipment is thoroughly cleaned and inspected before using it for grain.

Under the Canada Grain Act:

A licensed grain handling facility, such as a licensed primary elevator, cannot:

TreatedSeedStickersReceive grain that is contaminated with treated seed or suspected to be contaminated or ship grain that is contaminated with treated seed or suspected to be contaminated.

A producer (or a person acting on a producer’s behalf) cannot deliver grain to a licensed facility that is contaminated with treated seed or suspected to be contaminated.

“It is unlawful to deliver grain that has been treated or infected with any poisonous substance or compound to this Elevator. Persons so charged will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and held liable for any expense or loss incurred in the removal and disposition of grains so contaminated.”

Gibberella Ear Rot

Gibberella Ear Rot in corn

What is it?

Gibberella Ear Rot, or Red Ear Rot, is caused by the fungus, Gibberella zeae (Fusarium graminearum). This disease can occur throughout the U.S. Mid-West and Southern Ontario. The pathogen overwinters on corn, wheat and barley debris. Spores produced on the debris lead to infection during silking. Red Ear Rot is more prevalent when cool, wet weather occurs during the first 21 days after silking. Extended periods of rain in the fall, which delay dry down, increase the severity of the disease. Red Ear Rot will be most severe in fields where corn follows corn, or corn follows wheat that was affected by Fusarium head blight (scab), which is caused by the same pathogen. Read more

Ear Rots in Corn


Ear rots can be difficult to control since weather conditions are critical to the disease development. Rots can establish any time after pollination in wounds created by insects, birds, machinery, and even hail. Rainy weather or heavy, prolonged dews often lead to ear rots in these wounded cobs.

Why are rots a concern?

The direct concern for ear rot disease is yield loss due to poor quality grain. In years when conditions favour development, large portions of fields can be affected. Once fields are infected, other management practices should be followed which can increase cost of harvesting, drying, and storing the grain.

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