Today's date: Sunday February 25, 2018
   
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OMAFRA Report

A weekly report prepared by the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). If you require further information, regarding this report, call the Elora Resource Centre at 519-846-0941. Office hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm. For technical information, call the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or visit the OMAFRA website: www.ontario.ca/omafra.

UNDERSTANDING PRECISION AGRICULTURE: WHERE DO MANAGEMENT ZONES MAKE SENSE?

Growers might know from experience that they have areas in their fields that consistently deliver high yields season after season — and other parts that just aren’t very productive at all.

But is having that knowledge enough for growers to optimize inputs and yield potential in each area of a field so that their overall profitability is higher and their environmental impact is lower?

This, say researchers from the Precision Agriculture Advancement for Ontario (PAAO) project team, is where creating management zones can help.

Management zones are areas within a field that have similar yield potential. However, this similar performance can be due to a variety of different reasons, including soil type, elevation and weather conditions within or between years.

Ian McDonald, Applied Research Coordinator with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), says that management zones form the backbone of a precision agriculture site specific management approach to production, and serve as the foundation for optimizing profitability through other tools, such as prescription maps to tailor crop inputs.

The PAAO team is trying to better understand how growers should go about creating management zones, which types of data they need to collect, and how it should all fit together.

Creating zones:

Nicole Rabe, OMAFRA Land Resource Specialist, explains that creating a management zone is based on three main buckets: what growers see — the knolls, depressions, and wet spots in their field landscape — what they can measure (soil texture, nutrients, and organic matter), and what they achieved in terms of high, average, or low crop yields. All this information is then taken together and mapped out to produce a management zone.

So where can growers get started? The first thing they may already be doing is collecting both yield and elevation data off of equipment.

McDonald says having multiple “layers” of data may help create a management zone that’s more accurate and reliable.

However, crunching the yield and elevation numbers and then performing the integrated analysis of the different layers to create a management zone can be complicated.

According to Rabe, there are no fully automated, easy-to-use methods for integrating all of the data layers together into a management zone map.

Often, multiple software tools need to be used, and then the grower must work with their agronomist or consultant to carefully look over the maps that were produced and decide on how to form their management zone.

Another problem is that the approaches aren’t transparent and don’t give growers a sense of what type of math or process is being used to analyze and integrate each data layer.

The PAAO team has also found that the same data layers aren’t always used to perform an integrated analysis of a field, as some layers may be more important than others depending on a given year’s weather and agronomic conditions.

For full article and more information, visit website - fieldcropnews.com/2017/01/understanding-precision-agriculture-where-do-management-zones-make-sense.

COMPOSTED PACK DAIRY BARN WORKSHOPS

Ontario has seen the emergence of a niche dairy housing system using a composted bedding pack, in many cases having transitioned from traditional tie-stall barns.  

The composted pack barns may offer a lower capital cost barn design (in part because there is no need to purchase stalls) than free-stall barns and significant animal welfare advantages over conventional tie-stall barns.  The OMAFRA dairy team has planned 3 workshops to be held in Alma, Durham Region (Solina) and Richmond in February and March 2018.

The AICC is prepared to take phone inquiries at 1-877-424-1300.  Registration is through Progressive Dairy Operators via http://www.pdo-ontario.ca/

COMING EVENTS:

Feb. 14 - Dufferin Soil and Crop Improvement Association Annual Seed and Feed show and annual meeting. Amaranth Township Hall, 374028 6th Line, Amaranth. For more information, contact Jim Irvine at 1-519-835-9929.

Feb. 15 - Composted Pack Barn Workshops. Alma Community Centre, 51 Simpson Street, Alma. To register and for more information go to www.pdo-ontario.ca or call the AICC 1-877-424-1300.

Mar. 3 - Managing trees on your property Workshop – GRCA Admin Office, 400 Clyde Road, Cambridge. To register, visit managingtrees.eventbrite.ca or email ruralwater@grandriver.ca or call Sue Brocklebank at 1-866-900-4722 x2278.

 

February 9, 2018

 
 

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