Battling herbicide resistance

Well we’re approaching the end of April, and I’ve finished school for the year and have gone back to work.  Aside from the most recent snap of the seasonal temperatures, farmer’s have been tending to fields and applying burn downs.

The nerd in me picked up an old Ontario Farmer today (April 3rd edition) and got all wrapped up in the advertising.  BASF is heavily marketing their herbicides Integrity and Eragon which are under the KIXOR technology, and they are supposed to control resistant biotypes that glyphosate alone won’t kill.

Now, just to be clear, I am not advocating for BASF or getting any money out of this post, but they have some very cool time lapse videos of their chemical tank mixed with glyphosate and Merge that I just had to post.  Resistant weeds are becoming more common in Ontario farmer’s fields, and there’s some strange satisfaction in seeing glyphosate resistant Canada Fleabane wither and die under the action of this tank mix.

So check out this website to see the chemical in action against Canada Fleabane, Lamb’s Quarters and Common Ragweed. Happy spraying this spring.

Community Supported Agriculture Initiatives

This morning on my drive back to Ridgetown, I was listening to the radio and the hosts brought up the incredible opportunity to support local farmers and take part in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), or Community Shared Agriculture initiatives.  CSA farms are farms that grow and provide fresh vegetables and fruit for a number of ‘shareholders’ each season.  Anyone interested in buying ‘shares’ in a farms products is expected to pay a full amount upfront, and then receive a certain number of weeks of produce (length of delivery season is dependent on individual farm operations).  Some CSA farms will deliver, or provide multiple pick-up locations for their shareholders to receive their weekly farm fresh produce.

Not all farms are the same as there are no requirements for becoming a CSA farm, but many of the farms are rooted in organic practices or are on their way to becoming certified organic.  Many of these farms will provide people with the opportunity to experience nutrient dense foods as my last post discussed.

To get more information or become a shareholder in a CSA farm you can visit the Ontario CSA Directory and check out the farms in your area. This is a great opportunity to seek out the local producers of vegetables and fruit in your area, and to help make healthier decisions when it comes to the food on our plates.

Nutrient Dense Food Production Movement

Well, it has been a very long time since I have visited my own blog and updated with new posts.

I’ve been attending the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus since September 2011, and have been studying a diploma in Agriculture.  As I get to know my professors, and they get to know me, some topics that I am interested in have come up.  Today, infact, one of my professors started talking to me about a production movement in the world of vegetable and fruit production.

Nutrient dense foods seem to be on the top of the agenda when considering new practices for vegetable and fruit production.  Many claims have been made that the nutrient content in our fruits and vegetables has been on a steady decline for many years due to the extensive cultural pratices carried out on, what were once, very fertile and productive soils.

Great looking vegetables, but drastically decreased nutrient value

Many foundations and campaigns have been established to spread the word about remineralizing our soils, and in turn returning the nutrients to our fruits and vegetables.

The links I have provided and the information I have summarized barely scratches the surface of what is a rapidly growing trend in the research into conventional and organic fruit and vegetable production.

In talking to my professor, I found that it is important to understand that this movement is not all ‘anti-conventional’ and ‘pro-organic’.  Even conventional farmers can continue with conventional practices such as using protection products to ensure a healthy yeild.  The core of this topic, is in the soil.  Creating, or returning soils to a state where the nutrient levels are balanced, increasing microbes in the soil, and in turn making a large impact on the fruit and vegetables that come from the field.

2nd Annual Soup Fest raises funds for CWEC

On March 22nd, World Water Day, the Waterloo-Wellington chapter of the Children’s Water Education Council (CWEC) held their 2nd annual Soup Fest.  This event was intended to raise awareness of World Water Day, as well as fund raise for festivals in the Region that aim to educate students about our water sources.

The Children’s Water Education Council is composed of 25 regions across the province and has the mandate of educating youth to respect our water sources.  Many of these regions have their own Children’s Water Festivals, as well as other environmental events and camps available to youth.

In the Waterloo Region, upcoming events include, an environmental leadership camp running April 15th and 16th at the Region of Waterloo Museum.  Click here for registration.

The Waterloo-Wellington Children’s Groundwater Festival will also take place Monday May 30th to Friday June 3rd, 2011.

Historic agricultural event begins tomorrow in St. Thomas

In agricultural terms, IPM can mean more than one thing….but this time of the year, it has only one reference.

The International Plowing Match 2010 starts tomorrow in St. Thomas, Ontario.  This five day event includes six stages with entertainment, two outdoor rings, Dodge Rodeo, square dancing, tractors, celebrity chef demos, education, plowing and much more.   A tented city is constructed for all the vendors, sponsors and organizations participating over the five days.  The event opens everyday at 8:30am and is open to the public until 5pm.

The Ontario Plowmen’s Association is the parent host of the International Plowing Match.  The Match also has many other sponsors, partners, and hundreds of volunteers that help make it a well known and anticipated event.

If you can’t make it to this year’s match, the locations have already been decided for the next three years and are as follows:

Prescott/ Russel September 20th- 24th, 2011

Region of Waterloo – 2012

Perth County – 2013

This event is sure to impress and educate all attendees and is yet another great event that shows community support and enthusiasm for agriculture.

Monsanto helping rural farmers in Grand River basin

In the Grand River watershed there are 6000 farms, but rural water quality programs are not available to 1600 of those farmers.

In order to expand the availability of Rural Water Quality Programs to rural landowners who currently do not have access, Monsanto has partnered with the Grand River Conservation Authority and Grand River Conservation foundation.  This pairing will allow the creation of the Monsanto Water Conservation Fund for Farmers, which will provide advice and funding for the implementation of environmentally-friendly practices on their property.

This is a great partnership, with a grant totalling $142,500, that will allow the expansion of very important source water protection programs.  Source water protection is also a large component of Ontario’s Clean Water Act, and creating partnerships with private companies will be very valuable to widen the scope of these programs.

Click for stories from the Ontario farmer, and a Monsanto news release.

The end of studies, and a new beginning

Well this is the last post that I am required to post for the completion of my Agricultural Communications class.  This semester’s studies have come to an end, and so have my undergraduate studies.  I will be graduating this spring!

I hope to continue this blog, so that I can not only spread the word about what I find interesting, but hopefully this will help me stay in touch with the agricultural community.

I’ve have thoroughly enjoyed this exercise, and really appreciate the comments and support that I have had a long the way.  My summer will be spent at Vaughn Agricultural Research Services, and beyond that I hope to continue to work in agriculture and the rural community.

Economic Action Plan to boost research for Canadian agriculture

Canada’s Economic Action Plan aims to improve the economy for all industries in the hopes of bringing new economic prosperity to Canadians across the country.

Under the action plan, the Government of Canada has implemented an accelerated program to invest a total of $12 billion in improvements to federal infrastructure across Canada by 2011, including  $250 million for upgrades to federal laboratories.  One of the key laboratories getting a lot of attention is the Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

This will provide the capabilities to improve research opportunities to provide Canadian farmers with cutting edge technology to continue to provide safe and high quality products to Canadians and markets around the world.

Click here for full story

Ontario agriculture’s share of the 2010 provincial budget

With the recent release of the provincial government’s budget, some insights into what has been allocated to agriculture have been brought to the surface.

The provincial Minister of Agriculture, Carol Mitchell says, “the message that the agriculture industry should take from our budget is that we are committed to the agricultural community and we are committed to rural communities and we have demonstrated that at every turn.”

The budget did not address one of the more important things on farmer’s minds, which is the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Coalition’s (OASC) business risk management proposal.  Regardless of the recognition of this, the coalition is still set to host town-hall type meetings to inform the public and get the public involved in what the OASC is doing. Next week’s meeting is April 6th from 2 to 5pm at the Stratford Rotary Complex, 353 McCarthy Road, Stratford, and the OASC is hoping to see a capacity crowd.

Click for more information and full stories about the budget and the upcoming meetings.