Category Archives: Weather

Do you have a water contingency plan?

Jennifer Jarvis, OMAFRA

In 2016, many areas of the province saw very warm and dry conditions, creating challenges for horticulture and field crop producers. Many wells were still dry leading into the winter. In other years, like the start of the 2017 growing season, the province experienced periods of excessive rain, leading to saturated soils and flooding.

No one can control the weather, but we can plan for it. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) encourages you to plan for future weather – conserving water and using it efficiently can help during low water conditions, and having effective drainage systems in place can help with saturated soils and runoff. Continue reading Do you have a water contingency plan?

Holding Vegetable Plug Transplants

Janice LeBoeuf, OMAFRA Vegetable Crop Specialist, Ridgetown

Tomato transplantsHealthy and hardy transplants are a critical part of a successful season.  When field planting is delayed by rain, rain, rain, or cold weather and plug transplants must be held, it is important to monitor them closely to maintain plant health and vigour.

Plug transplants can be held in the greenhouse but if already shipped to the field grower, can be stored outside, in an area that receives direct sunlight and is sheltered from the wind. The racks should be elevated to prevent root growth through the bottom of the plugs.  If there is a risk of frost, be sure to bring the transplants inside – to a building,  a shed, or a greenhouse/hoophouse, if you have one available.  Plants should not generally be stored in an enclosed trailer or building for more than 1 or 2 days, as this may result in very soft, elongated plants, especially in crops such as tomatoes. Continue reading Holding Vegetable Plug Transplants

Spray Drift: Why is it still happening?

Despite the abundance of information available on spray drift, we continue to see widespread incidents of damage to a variety of crops every year. Do applicators just not care or are they missing some vital information when making decisions to spray? I believe it is the latter. What is the problem? In my experience, the…

via Spray Drift – Why is it still happening? — Sprayers 101

How much soil is lost to wind erosion?

The erosive force of wind on an open fieldWind erosion occurs in susceptible areas of Ontario but represents a small percentage of land – mainly sandy and organic or muck soils. Under the right conditions, though, it can cause major losses of soil and property — and can cause off-farm problems, too. Ask your neighbours.

The rate and magnitude of soil erosion by wind is controlled by the following factors: soil erodibility, soil surface roughness, climate, unsheltered distance, and vegetative cover. You know which of these you can control. Continue reading How much soil is lost to wind erosion?

Keeping the soil covered: managing crop residues and cover crops

This is a good day to reprint some articles about soil cover. This second one is from Adam Hayes, OMAFRA Soil Management Lead for Field Crops. This was originally run in the CropTalk newsletter in 2013.

Protecting the Soil Over Winter

The fall harvest is all but almost complete. The crop has provided cover for the soil through the summer and early fall. Between now and next spring’s planting when the crop is planted again, the soil will be exposed to pounding rains, overland flow from rain and melting snow, and high winds. All of these can cause significant soil loss and from fields or at the very least strip productive soil from areas within the fields. That soil is lost and the productivity of those areas reduced. A few simple measures can go a long way to protecting your soil.

50% Residue Cover

One of the easiest things to do is to leave at least 50% of the soil surface covered with crop residues in the fall. Continue reading Keeping the soil covered: managing crop residues and cover crops

Soil is meant to be covered

This is a good day to reprint some articles about soil cover. First, from Anne Verhallen, OMAFRA Soil Management Lead for Horticulture. This was originally run in the ONorganic newsletter in 2013.

I recently heard Gabe Brown speak. He is a rancher in North Dakota and is probably best known for his aggressive cover cropping strategy using highly diverse mixtures. One thing he said really stands out though – he said “When we farm in Nature’s image, everything gets easier”. By this he meant farming with diverse cover crop mixtures and keeping the soil constantly covered just as Nature does.

In recent years we have seen a lot more erosion across the province – both wind and water erosion. Just think back to April 2012, we had two Mondays in particular with extended high winds. There was soil moving off fields that typically are not prone to erosion but were bare and open to the wind. Continue reading Soil is meant to be covered