Rene Van Acker, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC)

Jobs survey finds growing demand for agriculture graduates

Ontario Agriculture College boosts spots in its agriculture programs by 30 per cent

Written by John Greig, Field Editor, Country Guide

The University of Guelph continues to increase enrollment in its agriculture programs, but graduates will continue to find four jobs available for each of them.

The Ontario Agriculture College (OAC), at the university has boosted spots in its agriculture programs by 30 per cent since 2012 and by 50 per cent in its Bachelor of Science in Agriculture program.

University of Guelph

University of Guelph

However, in the five years since the university last did a similar survey, respondents in agriculture and food processing say they have even more trouble filling jobs in the sector than they did five years ago – 67 per cent of agriculture companies and 51 per cent of food companies report difficulties in recruiting qualified workers. That compares to 40 per cent of agriculture and 28 per cent of food companies reporting similar challenges in 2012. Read more

Thompsons Soil Sampling photo

Understanding in-field variability: soil sampling

Written by Alex Richardson, Agricultural Consultant, Thompsons – Blenheim.


Wheat harvest is complete and yields have given us great insight about our fields once again.

Variability was evident, and the results remind us it’s time to soil sample.

Soil sampling after wheat harvest is a great option to allow for the right conditions, and the time to do the sampling properly. It gives us the ability to plan using these results–not only for the remaining growing year, but for next year as well.

Results gathered now can be reviewed and used to apply some fall fertilizer or make spring plans for fertility management. Knowing what nutrients are already in the field is the best way to start that process.

Thompsons offers 3 main soil sampling packages, with options to suit any grower and any field.

Intensive Zone Sampling
Using data from numerous sources, grower expertise, and your local Thompsons Agricultural consultant, management zones will be mapped and generated throughout the field.  Soil samples will be taken across these zones to best represent the field following the topography, yield, or problem areas depicted in the zones.

Site-specific Sampling
Choose from a 1 acre, 2.5 acre or 5 acre sample area.  Your field will be overlaid with a grid, followed by samples taken in each grid from an area that best represents the lay of the land within that grid space.

Precision-Lite Sampling
Generate larger zones across the field to sample. Zones range from 10 acres to 25 acres in size, again based on numerous sources and grower expertise.  Monitor and map the variability in your field!

Talk to your local Thompsons Agricultural Consultant today about any of these sampling packages and customized options. We can build a soil sampling plan to suit your individual farm and management situation.

We all know our fields are variable and need to continue managing the variability on our farms!

All soil sampling options include a complete mapbook of your field and soil analysis, with lab results attached.

Once the results have come from the lab, the value of soil sampling begins as fertility management progresses. With the help of your local Thompsons Agricultural Consultant, your field’s fertility can be reviewed and a plan put in place to build and maintain your soil health.

150 years of Canadian agriculture

The 2016 Census of Agriculture marks the 22nd census since Confederation in 1867. Just as Canada as a country has evolved over the past 150 years, so too has the agriculture sector. Agriculture has used innovation to push the bounds of production, transforming farming from the small scale to a highly mechanized and advanced industry.

While there are fewer agricultural operations in Canada than there were in 1871, the average farm size has risen consistently—from 98 acres in 1871 to 820 acres in 2016. Canada reported 14 times as much wheat acreage in 2016 than was reported on the first Census of Agriculture in 1871. There were also 10 times as many pigs and 5 times as many head of cattle as reported in 1871. Read more

Horizontal motion portrait of a man in gray sport jacket and safety helmet and goggles driving mud-covered yellow ATV 4x4 quad bike with dirt spinning of the wheels photo

Use safety practices to avoid ATV rollovers

All terrain vehicles (ATVs) can be not only useful on the farm, they can add an element of fun to work. Whether using ATVs recreationally or as the best way to get to remote back fields, the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association’s “Appealing to Adults” Canadian Ag Safety Week campaign urges farmers to protect themselves against rollovers.

Rollovers happen alarmingly fast. That’s why it’s important for everyone to take rollover prevention seriously, each and every time they plan a ride.

Always remember to wear an ATV helmet, gloves, long sleeves, pants, and boots, even when only travelling a short distance. Inappropriate gear, such as loose clothing, can get caught on controls and doesn’t provide protection. Read more

following farm equipment photo

Safely transport oversized loads

With larger farm equipment comes larger transportation challenges. Equipment wider than highway lanes poses a hazard to not only the equipment operator, but also to other motor vehicle operators. Tall equipment can come into contact with low-hanging wires, bridges and other vital pieces of infrastructure.

Collisions with other vehicles is a major concern while transporting all farm equipment on Read more