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?

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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

Automatic Soil Sampling

To sample, or not to sample (soil). Who’s right?

Some of your neighbours have stopped soil sampling. Others are sampling more than ever.

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In any year, at most 10 per cent of the fields are soil sampled,” says Tom Jensen, a director in the North American program of the International Plant Nutrition Institute. “Some people say 20 per cent of farmers do some soil testing, but they may only do it every couple to three years.”

Farm consolidation is one factor that’s leading to the decline. Soil sampling can be a prohibitively time-consuming procedure for 10,000-acre farms, and these operators may opt instead for a standard fertilizer recommendation for each crop type, rather than each field. Nutrient rates are also adjusted based on target yields and what each crop is expected to remove. Read more

Course to certify Ontario producers for class 12 pesticides

By Owen Roberts, 

A free half-day course is being offered to help Ontario farmers become certified for buying and using grain corn and soybean seed treated with Class 12 pesticides (imidacloprid, clothianidin or thiamethoxam), popularly called neonicotinoids.

The course, called the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Course for Corn and Soybeans, is being made available through the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus and sponsored by the province.

As of next Aug. 31, buying and using neonicotinoid-treated corn or soybean seed will only be possible with training and certification. Certification is valid for five years. Up to seven people can be supervised to plant under this certification.

Participants will learn IPM principles (including corn and soybean pest identification), planting best management practices, the new regulatory requirements regarding Class 12 pesticides and pollinator protection from neonicotinoid exposure.

“The aim of this course is for farmers to further understand how to apply [integrated pest management] concepts to their own corn and soybean fields, specifically for the early season pests,” says Wentworth County farmer and Ontario Federation of Agriculture director Drew Spoelstra. “They’ll learn how to look for these pests on their farms and consider all the options for managing them.”

The in-class course starts Nov. 3 in Ridgetown. It will be followed by sessions in Woodstock, Verner, Simcoe, Elora, Wyoming, Winchester, Harrow, Clinton, Lindsay and Vineland Station. Participants can sign up for these and other courses at www.ipmcertified.ca or by calling 1-866-225-9020.

The online course also starts Nov. 3. It requires four hours of commitment over two days. High-speed internet and computer competency are required.

There are no requirements for using non-treated seed or fungicide-only treated seed. Class 12 pesticides do not include seed for popping corn, sweet corn, or corn used for the production for seed (seed corn) or soybean seed grown for certified status in accordance with a seed production contract (seed soybeans).


Source: FCC Express, October 2, 2015