Soil background

Ontarians honoured with Soil Champion Awards

Dr. Laura Van Eerd awarded in the extension category, Henry Denotter wins in the producer category By Diana Martin Glacier FarmMedia staff Two soil health contributors were recently honoured with Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) 2021 Soil Champion Awards. “This year we are lucky enough to be able to award two worthy nominees,” […]

Ghosts of past pesticide use can haunt organic farms for decades

American Chemical Society – Although the use of pesticides in agriculture is increasing, some farms have transitioned to organic practices and avoid applying them. But it’s uncertain whether chemicals applied to land decades ago can continue to influence the soil’s health after switching to organic management. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology have […]

Choosing the right cover crop to protect the soil

American Society of Agronomy – Farmers around the world are keen to protect their most important asset: their soil. The soil supports and enriches their crops. But the relatively thin layer of topsoil can readily wash away into streams, carrying unwanted nutrients with it. Enter cover crops. Cover crops are inedible plants grown during the […]

How to identify low soil organic matter

By Matt McIntosh Glacier FarmMedia – Did your fields show a lot of crusting this planting season? Was there standing water where there shouldn’t be? These and other indicators, say provincial soil health experts, mean your soil organic matter (SOM) levels could use some attention. Crusting is normal – but should it be? “Crusting is […]

Organic crop practices affect long-term soil health

Cornell University – Prior organic farming practices and plantings can have lasting outcomes for future soil health, weeds and crop yields, according to new Cornell University research. The study recently published in the journal Agriculture Systems also breaks down how specific components of soil health – such as the abundance and activity of soil animals and soil […]

Cover crops, compost and carbon

American Society of Agronomy – Soil organic matter has long been known to benefit farmers. The carbon in this organic matter acts as a food source for soil microbes, which then provide other nutrients to the crops grown. Microbes, insects and small soil critters produce materials that can improve soil structure and water retention. It’s […]

Getting down and dirty about soil health

By Laura Rance Editorial director, Glacier FarmMedia It’s a dirty business, teaching farmers about soil — enough to drive Jay Fuhrer to eating cheese balls. As the “soil health specialist” prepared his show-and-tell before a Saskatoon audience recently, he joked the only reason he buys cheese balls at his local grocer’s is because they come […]