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East Central Soil & Crop
Newsletter  March 2012

For Durham, Peterborough, Victoria (CKL)/Haliburton, and York Soil & Crop Members

This Issue Sponsored By: See Sponsor Ads

OMAFRA, OSCIA Alpine Plant Food - Brad King BASF - Ian Page
Dekalb - Dan Kaufman Evergreen John Deere - Tom Morawetz FCC Canada
Ganaraska Grain - Rafe Currelly Hub International Lindsay, Port Perry Hyland Seeds - Craig Carson
Lockie Farms - Daryl Rush Maizex Seeds - Chad Mangan Midnight Acres Inc- Joe Hickson
NK Seeds- Ed WarrinerPearson Insurance LindsayPickseed Canada - Lyle Gallagher
Pioneer - Tom Barrie Royal Bank in Peterborough Reesor Seed and Grain
Terratec Environmental

AREA NEWS and Events MarEastCentral12.pdf 533 kb. Add the
OSCIA News and Crop Talk links below for the same as mailed copy

Spring Meetings
April 4 York SCIA Spring Meeting and Planter Clinic At John Risebrough's farm- 8339 Durham Rd 30, Mount Albert. (North east corner of Davis Drive and Durham rd 30). Rough Agenda: Coffee and donuts at 9:30-10:30, Grand River planters at 10:30-noon, Leadbetter burgers and fries at noon-1 pm, Local dealers eq. presenting new and innovative planter ideas. Population discussion with agronomist. 1 to 3 pm.

April 10 Durham SCIA Spring Meeting, 10:30 to 2 pm, at Alsar Farms, 2865 Conc. 8, Claremont. Adam from HJV Equipment speaking on GPS requirements for Farm Drainage Plows, also Green Lea speaker. Contact: Steve Carruthers 905-260-2210

OSCIA NEWS PDF file(791 kb)

  • Message from the President
  • Attention Seed Growers
  • LB Thomson Award - Don Lobb
  • Seed Bytes
  • OSCIA Staffing Changes
  • Crop Advances

CROP TALK – By OMAFRA Soil & Crop Specialists PDF file(518 kb)

  1. Grain Storage-Problems to Avoid
  2. Mapping Information You can Use
  3. Let's Make Hay!
  4. Starting the Grain Season
  5. Is it Time to Feed the Beans?
  6. The STRAW Specialist?
  7. Comparing the Performance of Various Herbicide Programs In Non-GMO, Food Grade Soybeans
  8. Does ESNŽ SMART NITROGENŽ Improve Corn and Spring Wheat Yield?
  9. Crop Fertilizer Decisions Made Easier
  10. Reducing Soil Erosion in Areas of Concentrated Flow

East Central Scholarships ,
Criteria: Students living in the East Central area Durham, Haliburton, Peterborough, Victoria, York
- enrolled in their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year at a post-secondary institution or an agricultural college.
Four scholarships in the amount of $1000 - selection takes into account academic performance,
leadership, contribution to community, involvement in rural youth organizations with emphasis on
conservation and environmental goals.
Contact: http://www.regionalscia.org/scholarships.html
Applications accepted until December 31, 2012

Got a project? - Need some financial assistance?
Your 4-H or Soil and Crop Association can apply for up to $1100 towards the project.
Applications may be made to the East Central Region Soil and Crop Improvement Association for up to $750 for Soil & Crop or 4-H projects in the East Central area.
Decision to accept the project will reflect the mandate of the East Central Soil & Crop Improvement Association.
a) To encourage the adoption of such soil and crop management practices that are best suited to the soil and climatic conditions of the Region.
b) To organize, coordinate, sponsor, and facilitate with projects and outreach on a regional basis that 'Communicate and Facilitate the Economic Management of Soil, Water, Air and Crops' through field days, special meetings, field crop demonstrations, or other activities as decided upon by the Directors.
c) To co-operate with other agricultural organizations of common interests.

Contact: Neil Moore 705-324-2594, nmoore@trytel.net

EAST CENTRAL Executive
President Peter Orr 905-859-0271
Sec-Treas Neil Moore 705-324-2594
1st Vice John Kinghorn 705-374-4323
2nd Vice Jim Buck 705-696-2567
Past Pres Jim Smith 705-357-3677
OSCIA Director Don Oliver 705-742-2147
Regional Communication Coordinator Neil Moore 705-324-2594
Other Directors Tom Barrie, Bob Stone, Frank Hoftyzer, Scott Baptie, Jeff Steiner, Wayne Daniels, Rae Junkin, Peter Peeters, Joel Bagg, Jack Kyle
Local Association - President - Sec/Treas
Durham Bob Stone Tom Barrie
Peterborough Scott Baptie Jim Buck
Victoria(CKL) John Hickson Wayne Daniels
York Chris Burkholder Tom Patterson
Regional Partner Grant Project: "Establishment of C4 Bio-Fuel Grasses"
John Kinghorn January 2012

2011 was the last year of the three year East Central Region Soil and Crop Improvement Association major project developing the agronomic recommendations for the establishment of Switchgrass and Big Bluestem Grasses.

An important part of the project was to raise the awareness of the opportunities and economic benefits of the production and marketing of bioenergy crops in the East Central part of the province. We accomplished the objectives of the project!

The crops provided a very unique challenge as we had little experience to draw on. It was only in the last year of the project that we gained the confidence that we were able to grow these crops in our region, as it takes three years to establish the crop. We were focused on growing the crops on marginal land, to try and develop a potential source of income option for this type of land and avoid the "food vs fuel" discussion as the crop is not meant for land that is suitable for growing corn or soybeans.

We were partnered with the University of Guelph, OMAFRA and OSCIA for the project. A test site similar to the one at my farm was planted at the Elora Research Station (Univ. of Guelph) in the same time frame. Each test site had 312 (1x6 metre) individual plots which had four different varieties and three different seeding rates, the use of starter fertilizer and seed pre-conditioning to improve seed germination. Each individual plot was replicated four times in the test site. We also had a portion of the test site seeded with spring wheat to test for the effect of a cover crop. We did herbicide testing at one point in the first year for broadleaf weed and grass control (Estaprop and Achieve). The University of Guelph set the protocol for the process we followed in planting and managing the plot for the three year period. We used their equipment for planting and herbicide test applications.

As part of the project, we had two demonstration sites, one at Tom Barrie's in Bowmanville and another at Frank & Julia Hoftyzer's near Hastings. Demonstration sites give us the opportunity to use what we learn on the test plots put it into practise using regular farm production equipment for planting and weed control. It is a very important part of the project, as you are testing under normal farm conditions.

We have 10 acres established at Hoftyzer's in the 2nd year of the project on very marginal land that had RR soybeans on the year prior to planting. The switchgrass production is exceptionally good for a 2nd year period! This year we planted an additional 6 acres on a field that had RR soybeans on it last year and we burnt down a hay field twice this spring and no-tilled in the switchgrass. We are trying to verify the best means of getting a weed free seed bed for the C4 grass establishment.

Observations at the end of three years on the test site:
  • There are variety differences
  • Seeding rate is not a significant factor
  • Seed pre-treatment did not appear to improve establishment
  • Spring wheat as a nurse crop didn't improve establishment
  • Starter fertilizer didn't appear to benefit the crop
  • Broadleaf control is essential (we lost 15% of the test site with dandelion pressure the 1st year)
  • A grass/weed free seedbed is needed

We ran crop tours, held meetings for interested stakeholders and took a group of interested people to visit commercial projects underway in the Kingston/Bellville area this past August. We visited the Lafarge cement plant in Bath. They have worked on a project called "Cement 2020", were they grew several types of biofuel grasses and tested them in their kiln last year. The idea was to test the suitability of the biofuel grasses for emission reduction and replacing non-renewable fuels. The test results were excellent from an emission and fuel stand point, but the volume of fuel required is currently not available.

We visited the farm of Kurt Vanclief, who has established approximately 150 acres of switchgrass and is in the process of bringing his pellet mill into production. It is his intention to grow the crop, pelletize it for fuel and market it. There are currently furnaces and stoves that will heat a shop or home with different types of biomass fuels.

There are certain opportunities being developed for commercially using the crops beyond heating. The fibres from switchgrass are very strong and they are being used for reinforcing injection moulded plastic components.
For the crop to become commercially attractive to farmers, further commercial usages will have to be developed and programs put in place to assist farmers in the establishment of the crop, as it takes three years to establish the crop. There is significant optimism that the crop has a future in agriculture.

Press Release Feb 22, Guelph-based The Savvy Farmer Inc. has announced the launch of Savvy Farmer lite, a FREE version of its popular Savvy Farmer software.

First launched in 2011, Savvy Farmer is already trusted by many farmers, agricultural retailers, custom applicators, agronomists, and government across Canada as the #1 source of unbiased pest control information. This new service "was created in response to farmers who want quick and easy access to pest control information but do not feel they need the added features found within the full Savvy Farmer paid software," Savvy Farmer president Warren Libby said in a release. Savvy Farmer Lite can be accessed at www.savvyfarmerlite.com while information on all the Savvy Farmer softwares can be found at www.savvyfarmer.com