AGMs & Regional Updates


AGM of the Algoma Community Pasture

Sharon Lane–Regional Correspondent

Will Samis called the Annual General Meeting of the Algoma Community Pasture for 2010 held Feb. 2 at the Algoma Social Services Building in Little Rapids to order.

Brian Bell from the Gore Bay OMAFRA office presented statistics he gathered on the Billings Stocker Pasture on Manitoulin Island. He collected data on weight on/off, Body Condition (BCS), frame, and main breed type for the 325 cattle grazed on 600 acres of pasture for 110 to 115 days per year from 1999 to 2006. The trends he found are as follows: steers had a higher Average Daily Gain (ADG) than heifers, frame had no affect on gain, Body Condition Structure (BCS) had no affect on gain, and British-based cattle had higher ADG than exotic breeds. Heavier weight British cattle had a higher ADG than lighter weight British cattle on this pasture. Charolais cattle had a higher ADG than other exotic breeds. The ADG was higher for a “typical” Manitoulin year than a season with 1/3 more rainfall.

Dave Lewington, national vice-president of the National Farmers Union, presented material of interest to beef farmers. At this time, round-up ready alfalfa is under study by the US Environmental Impact (EIS) to see if it has an impact on the environment.If it is deemed to have an impact, then Canada will probably follow the US lead. The European Union (EU) will not buy seed that is not organic, so Dave recommends that all seed needs to be tested.

Dave explained that according to the Animal Health Act those farmers whose animals are culled because they are suspected of carrying diseases might not be compensated. Dave mentions one other problem facing farmers is that local abattoirs are forced to close because they cannot meet the expenses that the new regulations require. In some cases, it is in excess of $165 000. This is dangerous for the autonomy of the small, local farmer. Larger packinghouses like Cargill will have more control over the supply and price. The National Farmers Union is pushing to have “captive supplies” banned in Canada and the U.S.

Ron Bonnett, first vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, spoke to the need for the beef industry to have both a domestic and an export market. He said that the CFA tries to bring all the players – producers, packers, and buyers- to the table for discussion. Competitiveness makes sure that regulations don’t put Canada at a disadvantage. In Canada, we have packaging regulations whereas in Europe there are none.

He mentioned that when there is a banned put on Canadian products, it takes too long for a response team to be put in place because there are too many departments for us to respond quickly.

According to Ron, for the domestic market, Canada needs a “grown-in Canada” label and then marketing for this product. CFA looks at the issues and solutions with broad-based support and works towards a consensus with the cattlemen and the packers.

Will Samis wondered if there would be any farmers in the future since 60% of beef farmers under 35 have quit. Ron Bonnett replied that there would be if they take advantage of modern technology. Dave Lewington wasn’t so sure. He thinks that the farmer is getting tired of losing money each year. However, there are some small operators who are specializing in organic or speciality crops.

Brian Bell introduced the guest speaker for the evening, Max Burt. The Burt Farm run by Joanna and Max raises turkeys, pigs and cattle; produces maple syrup and makes sausage, pepperoni and jerky. Max thinks the government is doing a great job of convincing people to “eat local”  but has “down-loaded” the cost for all the new testing on the farmer. The farmer has to buy equipment to constantly test his produce even if all his products have tested negatively for pathogens when tested by the government departments. Max’s philosophy on farming can be summed-up as a healthy farm is self-sufficient.To prove this theory, he has even produce bio-diesel fuel from fat from his butchered cattle to run his tractor. He feels that farmers can’t always talk about economics. Will Samis thanked Max for his frank, interesting talk of his farming practices.

The meeting proceeded with the treasurer’s financial statement. Dave Wolgemuth reported that in 2009, 162 cattle were pasture for 117 days and gained 160 lbs.per acre. No fertilizer is added to the pasture.Six cattle were treated for pink eye and foot rot.

Two new directors, Colin Trivers and Dennis Kirby, were selected for a threeyear term. In new business, a motion was entertained for the directors to investigate the government’s Incentive Plan for Alternative Energy possibly placing a roof over the work area and placing solar panels on it to generate power.

The Algoma Community Pasture members would like to thank Algoma District Social Services for its generous use of its build for their annual meeting.

Spring 2010

AGM of the Algoma Soil and Crop Improvement


Sharon Lane– Regional Correspondent

“Does $800 per acre income sound appealing to you?” is how Chesley (Ches) Wallace’s presentation was advertised for the January 20 meeting of the ASCIA. Ches talked about the opportunities in the maple syrup industry. He gave a few statistics to start his topic. About 84-85% of all maple syrup produced in North America comes from Canada and 80% of that, Quebec produces. Ontario produces only 2-3% and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, 3%. Maple syrup production is recession proof according to Ches. People are buying more each year and the price is going up. It sells for $3 to $325 per pound. However, the “downside” is that it is an expensive business to get into. It costs $5 to $10 per tap to set up with plastic piping and stainless steel evaporators.

He made 700 gallons in 2009 on his property on St. Joseph’s Island. “Real’ syruphas to be 66% and a 4 litre container must weigh 13 pounds to be sold legally. Maple syrup is organic since no herbicides or pesticides are used. Ontario has more maple trees, and they are healthier than Quebec’s. Ontario gets double the amount of sap per tap as Quebec. Most people in Ontario use vacuum pumps.Ontario has no quota per producer. If producers do not want to refine the sap, they can sell it to those who do and the price is based on sugar content.

Harold Stewart, president of ASCIA , thanked Ches for his witty and informative presentation.

The Awards of Merit at the 2010 AGM were given to Ron Trivers and Larry Ritchie. Will Samis introduced the first recipient. Ron, whose father Len was the first president of the Algoma Soil & Crop Improvement Association and mother Mary was inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame, returned to Algoma in 1977 to farm at Iron Bridge after obtaining a degree in agriculture from MacDonald College at McGill and teaching for a number of years. Many will remember Trivers’ corn from his farm that he tile drained and limed with 500 tons of lime.While farming, Ron taught environmental science in Sault Ste. Marie, became a member of the Algoma Cattlemen, the Algoma Community Pasture Association and helped resurrect the Algoma Soil and Crop Improvement Association of which he was president for three years.

Ron in his acceptance speech said that he owed a lot to his parents who set a good example in their community service. Ron mentioned that his success in farming was a team effort with his wife Lynda, son Brad and daughter Christine. He honoured past members and workers of the Soil and Crop Association. In 1999, there were six members and today, there are 80.

Sandy Ross introduced Larry Ritchie of Peel County, a former Agricultural Representative for Algoma from 1984 to1988. His style of “Town Hall” meetings and his enthusiasm encouraged Algoma farmers. According to Sandy, many Algoma farmers feel that his time here was the “golden years” of agriculture in Algoma.

Larry, in response to Sandy’s introduction, said that he had a long history with the Trivers family, as he and Colin Trivers, Ron’s brother, were classmates at Ontario Agricultural College. Of his 30-year career, he said that the highlight was the four years that he spent in Algoma.

Mike Cowbrough, Weed Management Field Crops Program Lead out of the Guelph OMAFRA office, was the next speaker. According to Mike, to manage a weed, the weed has to be identified and then some method of managing it must be found. If a farmer has a plant that he can’t identify, he can go to He can then put in a word that most identifies the plant. For example, for a plant that creeps along the ground,“creeper” could be used. Golden creeper (Thladiatha dubia) comes up. According to Mike, a picture could also be submitted. The website after identifying the plant gives ways to manage it. One of the problem plants the members gave is tansy,which is persistent,has a good root system but limited seed production. A non-chemical solution might be to cut off the top growth and a chemical one, would be to spray when in full bloom.If people are having trouble with spring cereal crops (corn or wheat) ,Mike recommended the website which will select a herbicide for that weed. Steps at this site are select a crop, select a weed and the website will give the herbicide. Mike reminded farmers that some problem plants can be controlled by the correct ph and drainage of the soil. Examples of these are horsetail and buttercups.

Mack Emiry, Regional Director for OSCIA, gave his report. There are grants available for test plots for bedstraw control in Algoma and Temiskaming. Ten or so farmers are need to calculate carbon saving using the greenhouse carbon gas calculator. Mack informed the group of the following resolutions from NEOSCIA to OSCIA:

Resolution 1. Request to the MNR for a Sandhill Crane (Gruscanadensis) huntingseason because of crop damage and the increase in population.

Resolution 2. Request the Ontario government to expand funding to the Ontario farmers for Farm Environmental Funding because farmers need and want to protect the environment but lack the finances to do so.

Resolution 3. Encourage the government of Canada to have policies to discourage non-indigenous plants by having goods imported under the same rules and regulations as those grown here.

Dave Trivers mentioned that the MNR Stewardship program under Tracey Cooke has several projects planned: a Green Expo on July 23 and 24 that will feature local food; Species at Risk project; the Blue Algae problem at Desbarats and Bright lakes as to the source and solution; and preparing a Sault Ste. Marie and area food guide.

Ross MacLeod from the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre reported that they are looking at using the solid waste from St. Mary’s Paper in soil. Hemp and flax trials will continue.

The meeting closed with the election of directors: Les Hillstom and Pat Taylor as directors for ASCIA; Paul Hillstom, director to NEOSCIA; Ray Prestedge to OSCIA; and Les Hillstom, Vet Committee.


2009 a Banner Year for NEOSCIA

Janet Parsons– President of NEOSCIA

A year like no other for agriculture in North Eastern Ontario. The President of OSCIA, Murray Cochrane, was from Algoma; the winner of the Ontario Forage Masters competition, James Parsons, was from Nipissing; and the International Ploughing Match was in Temiskaming. It doesn’t get much better than that and these successes were matched by what NEOSCIA accomplished in 2009.

NEOSCIA introduced four new initiatives. First, the pan north-eastern Crop Caravan concept was introduced with much success. Keith Reid travelled to all 8 districts in 5 days discussing Nutrient Management Solutions. The RCC, Graham Gambles, accompanied him and promoted NEOSCIA and met producers.

Next, a link was established with Nipissing University which resulted in a weather station and remote sensing project in Nipissing and Temiskaming districts. Right now NEOSCIA is facilitating the development and funding of an agricultural remote sensing research project with Nipissing University worth about a million dollars. Agribusiness in north eastern Ontario is being asked to provide about $45,000.

In August, Kelly Bird was hired as a FedNor intern to assist with NEOSCIA promotion and research projects. She developed promotional materials, the IPM booth, and provided manpower for booths at both the IPM and the Royal Winter Fair. She has also done extensive background work on biomass and gave a presentation to high school students in New Liskeard. While the intern project was initiated by NEOSCIA, it is in partnership with the Temiskaming Crop Coalition. Kelly has been working with them and has developed a blog with news and links to BG and the Nipissing University weather station:(

Finally, the reporting to Breaking Ground was enhanced by securing Sharon Lane from Algoma District to report on events west of Sudbury. The only setback during the year was when a fierce snow storm closed the highway during the Trade Show and Conference in Earlton in early April. This is the major fund raising event for NEOSCIA and since it was a wash it made for a difficult year thereafter.

Turning to plans for 2010, the Conference and Trade Show is on April 9 & 10 in Earlton. The Crop Caravan will have a ‘Weed and Spray’ focus and will be in a ‘location near you’ in early June. The summer tour will be in Sudbury District in August. Efforts are being made to continue to improve communications using Breaking Ground, access to seminars through the web, and information sharing with the Temiskaming Crop Coalition blogspot.

Research projects continue to be a focus in all north eastern districts and for NEOSCIA. Since more Universities are becoming involved with more projects with more district associations, NEOSCIA is holding a North Eastern Ontario Agricultural Research Forum to give researchers an opportunity to share their research objectives and give farmers an opportunity to provide comments. The main objective would be to enhance co-operation and avoid duplication. NEOSCIA would like to see an overall strategy for agricultural research and co-operation in North Eastern Ontario emerge from these discussions.

We look forward to the NEOSCIA Annual Meeting in April where delegates from across northeastern Ontario take the opportunity to contribute to the future of the organization; it’s programs, research, and activites . It’s the participation of farmers from across the north that makes NEOSCIA such a success. See you in Earlton!


Algoma Soil and Crop Improvement Association 2008

Annual Meeting

Sharon Lane–Regional Correspondent

Algoma Soil and Crop Improvement Association (ASCIA) held its annual meeting January 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bruce Station Hall with about 70 members and guests attending. Harold Stewart, chair, opened the meeting reminiscing about the changes to the Soil & Crop Improvement Associations over the 70 years since its inception.

Murray Cochrane, incoming president for OSCIA, reported that all partner grants were completed, that the provincial director realignment will lead to better communications, that the booklet, Crop Advances, has a summary of all on-farm trials done by OMAFRA, and that the new self-assessment workshops, “Growing Your Farm Profits – Planning for Business Success” will be available in each area soon.

Dave Trivers, Agriculture rep., mentioned that Weed Control Trials on smooth bedstraw and other weeds (tansy) will be done and that field plots are needed for Forage Trials using camelina (false flax) and pennycress (for biodiesel fuel). He presented the Algoma Corn Silage Plots data. The plots at Scattered Acres had more fertilizer and yielded more tonnage.

Jonathon Stewart announced that Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) workshops would be held in the spring. “Growing Your Farm Profits” (GYFP) sees farming as a business; therefore, “planning is the key to success”. A free two-day workshop is planned for March 16 & 17 in Little Rapids at the Algoma District Social Service build. This self-assessment workshop will clarify goals and identify strengths and needs.

Les Hillstrom (Vet Committee) mentioned that farmers might have difficulty in acquiring the services of a large animal vet in the near future. He urged members to approach the government to continue to subsidize OMAFRA for this service.

Tracey Cooke, MNR Stewardship Coordinator, explained the Stewardship Program. Her role is to facilitate the council members in their goals. For example, she might find out what grants would be available to them for their project.

Mark Van Veen, Salford Farm Machinery, discussed tilling the soil & how it affects crop yield. His company has developed cultivators & RTP (Residue Tillage Specialist) that have had good results for corn yields.

Colin Trivers presented Dean Allen with the Award of Merit for 2008. Dean, a long-time member of ASCIA, had a milk quota from 1947 till 1979 and then beef cattle until 1990. He was one of the first area farmers to increase his milk yield by growing corn for his herd.

Joel Bagg, Forage Specialist from OMAFRA, discussed the cost and use of fertilizer and hay production. Fertility of the soil is important; otherwise, the farmer is mining the soil. Phosphorus potash and potassium should be replaced. He feels that Algoma should have access to the horse hay market, which wants a mixture of dry, green alfalfa and timothy in square bales with no dust. Officers for the upcoming year were elected as needed, and the meeting was adjourned.

WINTER 2008/2009

Sudbury  SCIA District Annual General Meeting

Held in Hanmer on Nov. 27/08, this AGM attracted 18 members. OSCIA Provincial Director Murray Cochrane gave a summary of the organizations benefits and programs. OMAFRA rep Shanna James gave an outline on several government programs. Tamara Pasadowski from Laurention spoke on a study into Spanish River Carbonatite (enclosed in this issue).

Graeme Spires of MIRARCO spoke on the “Major Grant project”, determining. The Impact of Various Soil Amendments on Soil Quality & Crop Yields. He also presented a slide show on the Green Mines /Green Energy project that Mike Soenens of SDSCIA is participating in with VALE-INCO. A summary of the project is included in this newsletter.

Jim Found was elected president with Mike Soenens as VP. Mack Emiry was nominated to the position of Provincial Director for the North-East region of OSCIA. He accepted.

WINTER 2008/2009

Temiskaming Crops Coalition (TSCIA) Annual

General Meeting

Held at Earlton on Friday, November 28/08, this meeting attracted about 30 members. Among the highlights were a review of the Cochrane and Temiskaming summer field trials, included elsewhere in this issue. Wheat Board representative, John Vanderspank, gave a talk on wheat markets and the general outlook for 2009. Steve Kell of Parrish & Heimbecker spoke at length on the financial situation and markets for grains and oilseeds. A new board of Directors was elected, with the positions to be defined at the first meeting of the new team.

WINTER 2008/2009

Cochrane SCIA Annual Meeting

The Cochrane District SCIA held its annual meeting at the Cochrane Legion Hall on the evening of November 2. Eighteen members attended. Dan Tasse of OMAFRA provided a slide show that outlined the results of the Cochrane District OAT field trial that has run for the past three years. Terry Phillips of the Temiskaming Ag-Centre spoke on the purchasing specificationsQuaker quality milling oats. Graham Gambles, Regional Communications Coordinator for NEOSCIA, presented a slide show from the Guelph head office that showed the direction that OSCIA has taken over the past year.

Elna Blackburn spoke briefly on the history of the Cochrane SCIA, and noted that 3 of the farmers who attended the inaugeral meeting of the organization in 1939 are still with us at Cochrane. Two of them are still farming, and are current members of the organization after 70 years! They are Andy Dodds of Clute and Hedley Blackburn of Hunta. Along with Honourary member Dave Hackett of Cochrane, (who retired 2 years ago) all three got their start on farm trials by growing half-acre plots of Chippewa Certified seed potatoes in 1939. Hackett was eventually crowned the Royal Winter Fair “Potato King” in the 1950’s.

At its height of popularity, Cochrane SCIA boasted 87 members across the entire District in 1965. In 2009, the 70th year since formation, Joe Hoogenhoud will act as President with Cindy Squirrell filling the position of Secretary.


Nipissing/Parry Sound/Muskoka News

Janet Parsons

Parry Sound East Nipissing SCIA held an information day at the farm of Blair Grove, focusing on forage management and the benefits of tile drainage. Blair told the group that, prior to tile draining his fields and moving to an alfalfa-based forage program, his feed costs were well above district averages reported in the Farm Management Analysis Project. Now, he is pleased to report they are below the average. “Since tile draining, we get twice the crop and the protein analysis has gone up with the alfalfa. I really believe in tile drainage.” said Blair. “It’s an excellent investment.” Blair also credits his improved feed costs to his Ag Bag silage system and the use of a TMR.

West Nipissing District News

The West Nipissing Hay Association members toured both the active and reclamation tailing sites at the INCO mine site near Sudbury. The Association provides hay and straw that is used to keep the tailings from blowing into the adjacent residential areas of Copper Cliff. The tailings are very fine sand/dust. Straw or hay is chopped and spread on the site and then a straight disk is run over it. This keeps the dust down.

The sequence of events is something like this: Once an area is at current capacity, bulldozers are used to build up the berm, the straw is chopped on and disced. Then when it’s needed again (after the other areas are filled) the tailings are pumped onto this area again. When it’s filled, the pipes are moved and the berm is lifted again and the process starts over. Essentially it’s in layers. When the area is totally full, reclamation starts. The land is fertilized and planted to grasses and trees. Native vegetation also blows in and starts to grow. The group saw areas with tree 15 feet tall on the reclaimed sections.

Tree Planting Project

More than 11,000 white spruce trees were planted along the banks of Cache River as part of the Greater Nipissing Stewardship Council/West Nipissing SCIA tree planting program. Pictured above are Shawn and Nadia of Outland Reforestation with Kyle Parsons. Initial site visits have been carried out on 8 properties and they hope to be able to arrange for planting some or all of these later in August. They plan to visit the balance of the properties on the current list before the end of August, followed by planting next Spring.


Nipissing/Parry Sound/Muskoka SCIA News

Janet Parsons– Director

The North Eastern Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association Summer Tour is being held in conjunction with the Nipissing West SCIA summer tour on Wednesday July 25, 2007. The details are elsewhere in Breaking Ground but we want to extend an invitation to everyone to attend.

The Verner test plots which are managed by the New Liskeard Research Station have moved to a new location on Hwy 64 south of Verner. They’re just past the hydro transfer station. Please stop in and have a look at the plots or join us on the tour.

Katya Riley of Muskoka SCIA reports that they are busy working on a labor initiative for farmers and “hopefully we’ll be able to pull it off” she says. One proposal involves working with the resorts in an apprenticeship program that would bring farming to the resorts and young people to the farms.

The West Nipissing Seed Fair and Conference held in March at the Verner arena was a big success again this year with Norm Delorme the overall champion showman and France Beaudry the runner-up. Special thanks goes out to the many sponsors of prizes and awards: Leisure Farms and Coverall Buildings, Groulx Garage, Verner Ag Center (Co-op), Brouillette Builders, Gerald Beaudry, Spectrum Feed (Bernard Proulx), Cambrian Insurance (Gaetan Beaudry), R.L. Equipment, Caisse Populaire de Verner Ltee, Pioneer Seed (Murray Jantzi), Banque National, WNES Milk Committe.


On Farm Research– 2007

It is said that for a farmer to be successful in the long term, he can greatly improve his chances by running at least three production experiments on his farm EVERY year. Yes, it does take extra time, but the potential benefits are considerable! There are also a number of community minded farmers who are willing to share these results with their fellow farmers. This year in the North-east will be a banner year for farm community-oriented field research, many of them funded in part by the OSCIA. Consider the following!

In Algoma we have a corn variety demonstration plot at Terry Brason’s farm near Richards Landing. Sean Cochrane (Dekalb) supplied seeds in heat range from 2150 to 2650. Paul Oikari has demo’s for Canola and high moisture grain near Desbarats, working with Sean Cochrane and Terry Phillips.

A three year project to study the sustainability of Reed Canary Grass is taking place on Dave Wolgemuth’s farm at Sowerby, with a second plot on the D-line road at Sailor’s Encampment on St. Joseph island.

Hemp production and variety trials will be done by Ken McLeod of poplar Dale and Jason Koivisto on the Gordon Lake Road. Seed was provided by John bakerof Upper Canada Hemp. The project will determine the suitability of the area for fibre hemp production.

Elswhere in Algoma are flax and soybean tests, and even farm-forest research into the production of Eastern Canadian Yew and hybrid willows. In the Cochrane District, Darrel Becker of Val Gagne is under taking an 11variety oat trial. Seed is provided by Labonte Seed, La Coop Federee, SeCan, PRO Seeds, Belterre Seeds, Hyland Seeds, Bonis & Company Ltd., and Hendrick Seeds.

Temiskaming has an extensive set of corn plots running on the farms of Basil Loranger, Lee Laframboise and Raymond Plante. Corn varieties in the 2175 to 2425 Corn Heat Unit range are being tested. This includes material from Pickseed, Elite, Pioneer, Pride, NK, Dekalb, and Speare Seeds. Extensive labour on the research is provided bt Dan Tasse and summer student Jay Labonte of OMAFRA.

In Nipissing, Steven Roberge is evaluating winter wheat while Jean-Guy Seguin has a field project on Canola. John Rowsell of NLARS is also active in developing new research plots in the Verner area.

Meanwhile, NEOSCIA is completing its 3 year study into the relationship between canola yields and Sulphur fertilization in Nipissing and Temiskaming. This year the primary tests are being run on the farms of Janet Parsons (Hwy #17, just east of Verner) as well as on the farms of Darren Gray, Harold Leaton, Bill Muggler and Clair Simpkin in Temiskaming. Funding for these projects comes from OSCIA, Agri-Food Laboratories of Guelph, and the “Northern Heritage” grants from OMNDM.

These sites are available for all farmers to see. Make a point of viewing the ones in your area at the very least. All results will be listed in the upcoming issues of Breaking Ground. Now isn’t that a good reason to support your local Soil and Crop Association? Membership is $10 for the year. Make out a cheque to NEOSCIA and send it to Morley Shepherdson, Treasurer.


Nipissing/Parry Sound/ Muskoka SCIA News

Janet Parsons– Director

The West Nipissing Forage and Seed Fair and Conference was held on March 28th at the Verner arena. John Rowsell and Graham Gambles spoke about research results. Other topics included the future of commodity prices and growing spring wheat. There was an extensive seed and forage show with over $700 worth of prizes awarded. Look forthe winners in the next issue.

The Lake Nipissing Stewardship Council is in the initial stages of developing a tree planting program in West Nipissing. The West Nipissing Soil and Crop Improvement Association is acting as a liaison/communication vehicle for the project. Bill Hagborg of the Council says the objective of the project is to plant trees on private property along water courses in West Nipissing to reduce erosion and replace trees lost in the 2006 wind storm. The proposal will have an onsite visit to determine the best species of tree or shrub to plant. The Council hopes to provide the trees and planting free of charge using funding agencies and the Junior Ranger Program. The farmer would be responsible for site preparation and follow-up care of the trees as their share. There will be a water course site stop on our summer tour with Bill Hagborg explaining species selection, site preparation and other aspects of the proposed program. While the project is in its early stages, the Council needs to know the extent of interest as soon as possible. To date we have 6 farmers representing 25 acres. If interested, please contact Janet Parsons at or call 705-753-0730. The planting would start in 2008.

There are a number of research projects planned for the summer of 2007. In West Nipissing, the regional canola project will continue, this year focusing on the effects of adding sulphur. To enhance this project, a more detailed sulphur and nitrogen project has been applied for under the OSCIA Fertilizer BMP trials grant program. In Muskoka, the lime project will continue for its third year.

The Verner site of the University of Guelph research plots is changing location this year. The new site is just south of Verner on Hwy 64. Thanks to Dan Olivier for providing the site and to Gerald Beaudry for acting as a liaison for the project. White beans will be one of the featured crops this year. I’d like to thank Rene and Roger Leblanc for hosting the plots for the past 13 years.

Klaus Wand reported that at the Parry Sound Soil and Crop Improvement Association annual meeting it was agreed to include East Nipissing in their membership.

Good luck with your spring seeding.

FALL 2006

Nipissing/Parry Sound/Muskoka SCIA News

Janet Parsons–Director

The 2006 Wind Storm wrecked havoc across this area. Dozens of barns and sheds were demolished or severely damaged. Silos collapsed or were moved on their foundation. Thousands of trees were toppled or decapitated. Many crops were blown over, especially the canola. Everyone has a story to tell of their 5 minutes in the middle of this bout of natures fury. No one’s property escaped unscathed yet no one was injured and that is what really matters.

The West Nipising summer Soil and Crop Improvement Association tour was held shortly after the storm and included a variety of stops. After visiting the research plots in Verner the bus stopped at a hard red winter wheat crop (a new crop for the area), a red clover stand that was to be used as plough down and for seed production, round-up ready and liberty link canola plots, flax and organic buckwheat fields, and the biodiesel research project. Thanks to John Rowsell and Gerald Beaudry for making this event such a success.

Maurice Beaudry is the project participant for the OSCIA biodiesel project and reports that he has seen no power performance difference with up to 10% canola based blend. The big difference has been in the performance of his older tractors. They run better on the blended fuel.

The crops in West Nipissing were very good this year and there was a very nice weather window to harvest both grains and beans. The weather was not good for making hay! Reported yield for the winter wheat crop on the summer tour was excellent at 2.88 tonnes per acre. Reported yields for soybeans were from 37 to 45 bushels per acre. The grain crops averaged 1.25 to more than 2 tonnes per acre. Canola was good with some fields averaging more than a tonne per acre.

Congratulations to our Forage Masters winners… Murray Jantzi, James Parsons, and France Beaudry.

Steve Roberge of Verner likes to experiment with ‘new to us’ crops and this year planted winter canola and white beans. He reports that the winter canola didn’t survive and he speculates it was because of a lack of growth last fall. The white bean crop was excellent and he intends to try them again next year. They were ready to harvest by mid September but wet weather put it off until the beginning of October. He ended up with 19 cwt per acre (after dockage and pick) and the provincial average is between 15 and 20. The pick was 3.6% and the average is between 3 and 7. Dockage was 1.1% and the average is from 1 to 10. The moisture was 21.5% and dry is 18. The price varies but is above $20 per cwt. Growing white beans is by contract with the elevator. This crop was contracted to Hensall Co-op. There may be an opportunity for West Nipissing farmers to work with Hensall to growspecialty beans due to our isolated location which is insulated from diseases and pests prevalent in the south. Watch for developments.

Klaus Wand reports that the Parry Sound area had miserable weather for haying this summer but it did result in a first! It’s the first time in his farming career that he baled dry hay in October…on thanksgiving weekend. Poor haying weather makes for good pasture weather. The pastures around Powassan held up pretty good this summer due to the constant intermittent rains and high humidity.

The Parry Sound Soil and Crop Improvement Association are having their annual meeting in December. One item of business will be a discussion on the concept of an enlarged association which would include both East Nipissing and Parry Sound. All farmers from East Nipissing are encouraged to attend to be part of this discussion. Look for the date in the upcoming events.

In the last Breaking Ground I commented on a request being made to the municipality and Ministry of Transport for SMV warning signs. The municipality of West Nipissing is supportive and will be erecting signs. The Ministry of Transport is not!

Finally, I hope most of you are members of your local Soil and Crop Improvement Associations and took advantage of your free pass and brunch at the Outdoor Farm Show last September. Bayer Crop Science and the Outdoor Farm Show were pleased with the turnout and hope to do it again next year. Make sure you get your Soil and Crop membership for 2007 to participate.The Outdoor Farm Show entry is just one of the many benefits




The Muskoka Lime Trial funded by OSCIA Major Grant:

Six farms have now applied lime at specific rates after taking soil samples. The trial will continue for 3 years in order to see whether higher than recommended rates can be beneficial over a longer period.

Three Mile Lake (excerpts taken from minutes of last district working group meeting):

Susan Pryke (Mayor of Township of Muskoka Lakes)reported that it was her understanding that various people in the farming community were upset with the presentation given at the Soil and Crop AGM, late winter regarding nutrient sources to Three Mile Lake. It was agreed that we (the Working Group) would have a better understanding of phosphorus sources once the Ministry of the Environment completed their study. A refinement to the Muskoka model would be made at that time to more accurately reflect nutrient sources. Susan also read an e-mail from Les Snell that detailed the farm activity in the Raymond area.

Ministry of the Environment Dorset Environmental Science Centre

Andrew Paterson outlined the study he will be heading up this summer.  The study will consist of three parts including:

a. A full chemistry analysis based on bi-weekly sampling for nutrients among other parameters.

b. An analysis of phosphorus sources based on a sub-watershed level. Andrew will also look at internal nutrient loading.

c. Paleo analyses to better understand the long-term history of the lake from its sediment.

Brad Allen requested that Andrew also look at the out flow of the lake to Clarke’s Pond so that there is some understanding of the nutrient load flowing out of Three Mile Lake.

Town of Huntsville

Terry Sararas attended the meeting to provide the support of the Town in whatever way was needed. He recognized that a large portion of the headwater of Three Mile Lake is in Huntsville and would like to work with the group to ensure that appropriate controls are also placed on development activity in his municipality. Terry did note that Huntsville is also preparing revised site plan guidelines to address shoreline development and that the Town was looking at a Tree Conservation By-law.

Three Mile Lake Association

Cindy Watson presented the key elements of the Association’s proposed Stewardship program. They have now assembled over 400 names of lake front residents and are working on an awareness campaign. They have launched a new website at and have sent out their first newsletter. The annual meeting in on June 4 and they will be looking for volunteers to help with the Dock to Dock program they are developing.

Muskoka Federation of Agriculture:

The first directors meetings of the Muskoka Federation of Agriculture (MOFA) was held on May 24, 2006. Many interesting issues were discussed. Members can look forward to the first MOFA meeting and potluck dinner in October.

Environmental Farm Plans (EFP):

30 EFP’s have been completed in Muskoka and farmers have started to apply for project funding on their farms. Farmers are encouraged to complete the latest version of the EFP and access funding to implement BMP’s wherever remedial action is warranted.


Nipissing/Parry Sound/ Muskoka News

Janet Parsons– Director

The West Nipissing Seed Fair and Conference held in March at the Verner arena was a big success again this year with Steve Roberge the overall champion showman in the seed fair. Clement Rainville won the award for champion forage. Special thanks goes out to the many sponsors of prizes and awards: Leisure Farms and Coverall Buildings, Groulx Garage, Verner Ag Center (Coop), Brouillette Builders, Gerald Beaudry, Spectrum Feeds (Bernard Proulx), Cambrian Insurance (Gaetan Beaudry), G.J. Mechanical, Western Dream Riding Supply, R.L. Equipment, Caisse Populaire de Verner Ltee, Pioneer Seed (Murray Jantzi), Banque National, Syngenta, and Meekers Green House.

At the Northeastern Ontario Seed Fair, West Nipissing farmers once again won the Golden Pitchfork Award for most points by a local SCIA.

Hats off to Muskoka farmers, again! They have convinced the Huntsville town council to enact a Farmers Market By-law which restricts the market to ‘primary producers/vendors’ who produce 70% or more of the goods themselves. For more information go to

Klaus Wand reports that the Parry Sound Soil and Crop sponsored a pasture walk and fencing demonstration on June 10, 2006. Jack Kyle of OMAFRA was the guest speaker. There was a discussion on pastures followed by a barbeque at noon and the fencing demonstration in the afternoon.

Preliminary talks with producers in East Nipissing and Parry Sound support the concept of an enlarged East Nipissing Parry Sound Soil and Crop Improvement Association. We’ll continue to work on this….watch for developments.

The Verner test plots have been planted once again at the farm of Rene Leblanc thanks to John Rowsell, his staff, and Gerald Beaudry. Please take the time to check them out this summer.

There are a number of OSCIA farm projects under way in the district: Maurice and Hubert Beaudry are well into the major biodiesel research project. Muskoka farmers are continuing with their lime project and Graham Gambles is continuing the canola project.

In this part of northern Ontario the farming communities are quite spread out. Motorists on our highways can travel hundreds of miles without seeing one farm and then suddenly they are in a farming community with tractors and equipment sharing their space. We are in the process of asking the Ministry of Transport to erect signs to warn motorists. In some parts of Ontario the words “ACTIVE FARMING AREA” is added below the sign.

So far the crops are looking great in this area. The West Nipissing summer tour will be in late July….watch for it. Have a safe and bountiful cropping season.

* A number of farmers are grouping together to hire a drainage contractor to install tile drains in Nipissing/Sudbury East. Contact Jean-Guy Sequin (705 594 9058) to have your farm added to the list.


Nipissing/Parry Sound/Muskoka SCIA News

Janet Parsons– Director

The West Nipissing Seed Fair and Conference is being held on March 29th at 10 a.m. at the Verner arena. John Rowsell will once again be on hand to share research results and there will be a discussion on saving money on fertilizer. For information on seed and forage classes please call Gilles Renaud at 753-1977. The traditional hot dinner is available at noon. Everyone is welcome.

Claire Venne continues to hold Environmental Farm Plan sessions and anyone interested should call 705-594-9194. There’s money available for cost share projects.

The Lake Nipissing Rural Water Quality Project under Healthy Futures is complete and final payments are being disbursed. Over $100,000 of projects were carried out under the program. The Soil and Crop Improvement Associations of Sudbury and West Nipissing were two of the sponsors of the program.

Congratulations to Normand Delorme for winning the Nipissing West Forage Masters Competition. Second was Jean Guy Seguin followed by James Parsons. Special thanks to the sponsors – Pickseed, NK Seeds, Agri-Food Labs, and International Stock Food.

Maurice and Hubert Beaudry will be carrying out a major biodiesel research project during the summer of 2006 at their farm in Cache Bay. The project will evaluate the use of biodiesel blends and will be showcased during our summer tour.

Hats off to Muskoka farmers. They are in the process of organizing a Muskoka Federation of Agriculture. Donald Mills has been elected president and Katya Riley is the secretary. Call 764-1695 for details.

The Muskoka Soil and Crop continue to be active submitting a lime trial proposal as a OSCIA major project for summer 2006.

Parry Sound have just recently held a Farm Symposium where an OPP officer reviewed the rules for ATV and an MPAC representative discussed land assessments.

Klaus Wand reported that the ‘pasture walk ’ their soil and crop held last summer was well attended and Jack Kyle was an excellent resource. Forages are the mainstay of the Powassan production area.

OSCIA is the only farm organization that has East Nipissing as a separate entity. All others use the production area of East Nipissing / Parry Sound as the physical area for representation. To the farmers in East Nipissing and Parry Sound… ”Would you be willing to consider an enlarged East Nipissing Parry Sound Soil and Crop Improvement Association? Would it be more effective?”

I’ve just listened to my first ‘webinar’ on the internet. It was a first class learning session. If you would like to try out this free service from the Canadian Farm Business Management Council go to You can participate in a live session or choose from a large list in the archives. The speakers are exceptional. You need 20 KPS transmission speed. It’s an excellent return on time invested and there is no travel required.



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