La Niña weather condition map

La Niña is coming: Here’s what it means for commodity markets

MCHENRY, Ill. — If the La Niña weather phenomenon that’s forming in the equatorial Pacific Ocean reaches fruition, be prepared for wild commodity market rides.

La Niña impacts weather patterns worldwide and is associated with cooler, wetter conditions along the U.S.-Canadian border and warmer, drier conditions in much of the southern U.S. The phenomenon is caused by cooler Pacific water.

There’s no guarantee the La Niña will form, but if it does Erik Norland, CME Group executive director and senior economist, is concerned about the current agricultural markets.

“Corn, wheat and soy complex options implied volatilities are trading at or near record lows. This might mean that markets are woefully unprepared for a potential La Niña that would bring a wave of volatility,” he said in an Allendale Inc.-hosted webinar. Read more

cover crop photo

Farm Show demo digs deep on value of soil health

Roots, worm casts and different cover blends show amazing effects Source: Country Guide, written by Ralph Pearce. Soil health has been a buzz phrase that’s gone from a whisper three to five years ago to a chorus that’s spreading across the agrifood industry. That goes to show the swinging of the pendulum away from plowing […]

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

Optimum date to seed winter wheat across Ontario map

OMAFRA Field Crop Report – September 14, 2017

Best management practices for late planted winter wheat

Source: OMAFRA Field Crop Team

With many soybean fields across the countryside just starting to change colour, harvest is not likely to begin anytime soon.  A cool, wet spring delayed soybean planting in much of the province and cooler temperatures in August and September have pushed harvest back this fall compared to the last two years.  As a result, growers are wondering whether or not they will be able to get winter wheat planted at an optimum time.

With winter wheat having huge benefits to a cropping system (an additional 10 bu/ac to the following corn crop and an additional 5 bu/ac to the following soybean crop) growers are encouraged to keep winter wheat in the rotation this fall if possible.  Delayed planting can result in lower yields so being diligent this fall with our best management practices for establishing the winter wheat crop will be very important to reduce the risk of significant yield loss. Read more

Winter wheat field

Soil fertility benefits of wheat in rotation

Before long, the 2018 winter wheat crop will be seeded across the province (Figure 1). Long-term research at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus shows that winter wheat in rotation provides an additional 10 bushels per acre to corn and 5 bushels to soybeans. At current crop prices, that means an extra 107 dollars per acre over a rotation.

Winter wheat field

Figure 1: Winter wheat field in Perth County, April 2017.

What other benefits does wheat provide? And how might having wheat in rotation be positive from a soil fertility perspective? Read more

Photo of Bob McIntosh

Researchers defining phosphorus movement in Ontario soils

4R strategy plays a key role in reducing phosphorous runoff

Three short huts with solar panels on them sprout in Bob McIntosh’s wheat field near St. Marys, Ontario.

Photo of Bob McIntosh

Bob McIntosh has been using no-till planting on his farm in Ontario for 27 years. Photo: John Greig

Inside the huts are monitoring equipment that goes right to the tiles that systemically move water from his farm. His farm is one of six across Ontario with the monitoring equipment that allows University of Waterloo researchers to study how water, and especially the phosphorus in it, flows off of farms.

“We’re trying to capture the natural variability in the Ontario landscape,” says Dr. Janina Plach, who is doing post-doctoral research at the University of Waterloo.

Read more