Nutrient Application: Timing Matters

There’s a right time for everything.

Every year, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) receives calls about winter spreading. Long, cold winters that come after a wet fall and/or late harvest tend to make winter spreading more common. However, spreading on frozen or snow covered ground, on saturated soil or before major rain events is not a good practice, even if storages are full. Continue reading

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Have you thought about planting a windbreak?

Windbreaks are a great way to reduce soil erosion and increase crop growth on your farm.

  • They reduce wind speeds, which can increase growth of crops for a distance of up to 20 times the height of the trees.
  • The taller the trees and the longer the windbreak, the greater the area the windbreak will protect: wind speeds can be reduced upwind for a distance up to five times the height of the trees, and downwind for a distance of up to fifteen times the height of the trees.
  • Combine a windbreak with other conservation best practices, such as conservation tillage, crop residue management and cover crops, and you’ll obtain optimal wind erosion control.

Continue reading

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Are you waste wise?

Disposing of non-nutrient agricultural waste responsibly needs to be a year-round effort.

Burning and burying non-nutrient agricultural waste can pollute the air, contaminate water and can have other potential harmful impacts on the environment, which can harm people and livestock. Consider recycling or reusing your waste instead – recycling and reuse not only lowers your dump costs, it can also help you keep your property waste-free, and protects your soil and local drinking water supplies. Continue reading

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Standards Interpretation Committee Comment Period (July 4 – August 4, 2016)

ofc_logoFrom the Organic Federation of Canada:

Standards Interpretation Committee: Questions and Answers Regarding National Standards for Organic Agriculture

Below are proposed answers to questions, raised by organic stakeholders, regarding the National Standards for Organic Agriculture. The proposed responses are subject to a 30 day comment period. All comments regarding these answers should be sent to

COMMENT PERIOD – July 4 to August 4 2016

Isolation distances
How should the note in 5.2.2 on isolation distances for preventing GE contamination be used in the enforcement of 5.2.2 d)? (282)

Alfalfa seed production
Does the note in 5.2.2 d), “(for seed production)”, refer to the organic alfalfa or to the GE alfalfa? (282A)

Parallel production
Is parallel production in livestock prohibited? If so under what circumstances might it be allowed? (283)

Nutritional requirements – early lactation
6.4.3 g) allows for increased grain feeding during uncommonly cold conditions or when forage quality is compromised to ensure that nutritional requirements of ruminants are met. Can dairy cows be fed more than 40% grain in early lactation when their energy requirements are highest? (295)

Use of non-organic feed
Under what circumstances can a dairy operation use non organic feed? (260)

GE vaccines
Can GE vaccines be used in poultry if the conditions for the use of veterinary drugs (6.6.10) are met? (298)

Spray bandage
Is a spray bandage, sprayed on wounds, replacing traditional bandages, allowed? (292)

Plants sold in pots
Plants harvested within 30 days of planting fall under clause 7.4 and require the use of organic seed. What if they are sold in pots to a customer who keeps them beyond the 30 days? Would they still need to be grown from organic seed? (293)

Parallel production
Is parallel production prohibited for greenhouse crops? (285)

GMO free formulants
Must formulants listed on PMRA 4A and 4B tables be GMO free? (281)

Magnesium lignosulphate
Is Magnesium lignosulphate allowed under the listing of lignin sulphonates in Table 4.3 of the Permitted Substances List? (289)

Processes – biobased biodegradable mulches
For a biobased biodegradable mulch, what are the acceptable processes in the manufacturing of the film? Could a biobased film become non-compliant because of the manufacturing process that would disqualify it from being used on organic farms? (284)

Click here to consult the proposed answers to the questions raised by stakeholders.

The proposed responses are subject to a 30 day comment period. All comments regarding these answers should be sent to

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in partnership with the Organic Federation of Canada, has developed the Organic Standards Interpretation Committee (SIC).

The objective of the Committee is to provide, to the Canada Organic Office, interpretive guidance on issues related to the National Standards for Organic Agriculture (CAN/CGSB 32.310 and CAN/CGSB32.311).

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Organic Master Gardener Course Presented by COG

COGDo you love eating organic? Have you always wanted to grow your own food and ornamental gardens? Then the Organic Master Gardener Course is for you! This fall, Canadian Organic Growers (COG) is expanding the Organic Master Gardeners Course to include Guelph, Ottawa and Toronto.

Registration cost: $720+HST. Register early and SAVE $50! Check the course web page for the course specific Discount Code.

Course Start Dates
Toronto – Tuesday, September 6th
Guelph – Tuesday, September 13th
Ottawa – Saturday, October 22nd

Don’t miss out on learning about the connections between soil health, plant health, human health and environmental health in what students have called a “life-changing” course.

For more information and to register please visit

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Do you want to increase crop yields and reduce soil erosion?


Windbreaks can increase crop yields up to 15 per cent, more than making up for the amount of land they use. How? Windbreaks improve a field’s microclimate by reducing wind speeds, increasing temperatures and reducing the amount of moisture loss.

Have you considered planting a windbreak? Windbreaks can also:

  • reduce soil erosion
  • decrease odour and spray drift
  • offer alternative income options
  • save you up to 30 per cent in heating and energy costs
  • shelter livestock from the wind and sun

crop yield increase graphGraph: Each bar represents yield average, as studied by the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus. Yields increased on the downwind side of the windbreak over distances of up to 12 times the height of the windbreak. Crop yield increases vary by crop type. Taken from Establishing Tree Cover.

What are the costs associated with planting windbreaks?

There are costs when planting a windbreak, such as site preparation, purchasing the…

View original post 407 more words

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OMAFRA Welcomes Thomas Ferguson, Forage & Grazier Specialist

Thomas FergusonThomas recently joined the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) as the Forage and Grazier Specialist. Thomas is based in the province’s Lindsay office.

Through experience in the agricultural service industry and as a Certified Crop Advisor, Thomas gained strong knowledge and experience of forage production systems in Ontario. Thomas’ hands on experience in managing an intensive grazing program has provided him with practical experience in grazing management. Thomas is experienced in technology transfer and has taught forage production and grazing management.

Thomas’s educational and professional experience:

Thomas lives near Peterborough and has had hands on experience managing an organic Jersey farm. His experience also includes working as a Crop Advisor for Northumberland Grain Inc., Multi-Program Inspector for CFIA, and as the Dairy Herdsperson Apprenticeship Coordinator for the University of Guelph (Kemptville Campus). Thomas has a B.Sc in Agriculture with a Major in Animal Science from the University of Guelph.

Contact Thomas: 705.324.5855 –

Farm Business Information:

Contact OMAFRA

Agricultural Information Contact Centre (AICC): 1.877 424.1300 – 




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