GHGMP News Releases

Crop innovations to be showcased in September 1 field day

Brandon, Man., August 17, 2005

Ontario farmers interested in seeing practices that can help them produce healthy productive crops through reduced tillage and better nutrient management should plan to attend a field day in the Hamilton area in early September.

The Cropping Innovation Review planned for September 1 in the Binbrook area just south of Hamilton will be one of the major field days this summer for Ontario producers interested in soil conservation and improved cropping systems.

Stops during the day will include a comparison of tillage systems, plots showing different rates and timing of nitrogen applications, the role of cover crops, and a discussion on the optimal economics of properly managed manure.

"We plan to show producers improved nutrient management techniques and alternatives to conventional tillage," says Ian McDonald, Applied Research Co-ordinator - Field Crops, with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Along with soil conservation practices and improving fertilizer economics, there are also techniques that help benefit the environment by reducing or removing greenhouse gases."

"Through improved nutrient management, for example, producers can get more value out of nitrogen supplied through fertilizer and manure, and at the same time reduce the risk of surplus nitrogen being leached from soil or lost to the atmosphere as nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas."

One of the agencies funding the demonstrations is the soils sector of the federal Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program (GHGMP) for Canadian Agriculture. The GHGMP is administered by the Soil Conservation Council of Canada.

Farmers interested in attending this free field day are urged to pre-register by August 30 to ensure bus space and lunch, by calling 1-887-424-1300.

Reduced tillage demonstrations will give producers a clear picture of how different tillage tools leave the soil surface, says McDonald. A strip tillage demonstration in heavy clay soils will also be included in the tour. At this site a precision tool bar was used to work up a 10-inch wide strip in a 30 inch-wide row. It's a treatment that may provide a viable reduced tillage option for producers growing corn in heavier soils.

"We're using strip tillage to leave as much undisturbed soil as possible," says McDonald. "On heavy clay soils, if you work them improperly, you end up needing several tillage passes. So with strip tillage, we hope to get away not only from complete tillage but from repeat operations."

A variety of cover crops, seeded following winter wheat to capture surplus soil nitrogen over fall and winter, will also be demonstrated. Treatments will include the use of winter wheat underseeded with red clover, as well as straight cover crops of peas, other cereals, oilseed radish, and even soybeans that can provide important ground cover and then be used as green manure.

"We also plan a discussion of how manure can be managed as a valuable nutrient source rather than been seen as a waste product," says McDonald. "We want livestock producers to better appreciate the nutrient value of manure and learn how to factor it into their overall crop fertility program."

Some 200 producers are expected to participate in the field day. A barbecue and refreshments are also included in the program.

More information is available by calling 1-877-424-1300 or by visiting the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) website at:

The field day is jointly sponsored by OMAF, OSCIA, the Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program, the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario and the University of Guelph.

For more information, contact:

Marla Riekman
GHGMP co-ordinator
Brandon, MB
Phone: (204) 725-3939

Doug McKell
Executive Director
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Indian Head, Sask.
Phone: (306) 695-4212