Cover Story

Coming Ontario's way: A climate like Kentucky's

Environment Canada is predicting that, by 2050, it will seem like we have moved 500 to 1,000 kilometres south. That will mean more heat, more bugs and winters no longer cold enough to kill off diseases and pests


While 2012 may have been what one entomologist called “the year of the insect,” it was also the year when March seemed like May. Both realities may be harbingers of things to come.

The promise – and the challenge – of Perennial Commodity Crops

Researchers are exploring how to get predictable, year-after-year yields from one-time planting of crops. But, while some farmers are experimenting with varieties such as switchgrass, miscanthus or wheatgrass, or eying the market for biomass and wood pellets, they remain skeptical about their viability


In the DuPont Pioneer Georgetown lab, rows of narrow tables are topped with genetic equipment that could just as easily be found in a police forensics lab. This $2 million facility, though, is mostly used to detect canola molecular markers.

The Growing Demand for Grass-fed Beef

Perceived health benefits, taste, the local food movement and environmental concerns are all driving interest in what one producer calls ‘the Cadillac’ of alternative meat products. But labelling issues and the lack of national standards are among the problems growers face


Mike Beretta will be watching the triathlon at the Summer Olympics in London, England, this month very closely. There’s no question who he will be cheering for.

CANCELLING THE SLOTS: A catastrophe in the making for a wide swath of Ontario agriculture

The Ontario government considers the 14-year-old program a subsidy, but horse people say it is a partnership. And killing it will decimate a multi-billion dollar agricultural industry 


When the Ontario Liberal government announced it would end the Slots at Racetracks program in March 2013, Ontario horseman John MacMillan was numb.

Seven years ago, MacMillan moved to Spencerville, south of Ottawa, where he purchased an 88-acre farm and set out to build his training operation. After investing about $250,000 in constructing a racetrack, fencing, barns and other facilities, the horseman quickly established himself as one of the leading trainers at nearby Rideau Carleton Raceway.

AGRICULTURE'S GRADUATE SHORTFALL: ‘We should be graduating three times as many students as we are now’

So says the associate dean of the Ontario Agricultural College in the wake of a report showing that industry demand for agriculturally-savvy graduates is substantially greater than the number of students it is producing


After four years studying at the University of Guelph and a steady stream of summer-time employment, Rebecca Hannam and Eric Martin barely had time to draw a deep breath before being thrust out into the working world.

Their studies wrapped up in April. Within days, they started the jobs they had agreed to accept months earlier – Hannam with the Royal Bank in Fergus, north of Guelph, as an agriculture account manager trainee and Martin as a western Ontario sales agent for Purina Feeds.

Planting Season: Advice from the front lines on eliminating those costly and time-consuming bottlenecks

Three Ontario farmers offer their solutions to avoiding those frustrating glitches, holdups and inefficiencies that can result in you missing those all-important windows for planting


Weeks of rain were over. The corn hybrids were shuffled. The 16-row planter was in the field ready to go. That’s when Chris Burkholder’s GPS satellite signal failed.

“Our planter was sitting still for three hours,” says the sturdy Stouffville area farmer, remembering one final glitch in last spring’s long delayed planting season.

Cover crops take their place in mainstream agriculture

As more and more farmers embrace the practice, appreciation is building for the sometimes surprising ability of these shoulder-season plantings to enhance the performance of cash crops


Last year, after Kim Lennox’s daughter earned the Queen of the Furrow title at the Normanby Plowmen’s Association’s annual match in southern Grey County, she asked her dad a question: the only attraction at the plowing match was plowing. Had they ever thought of adding something else?

Do-it-yourself drainage tilers plow their own course on Ontario farms

With contract operators heavily booked after a busy year in 2011, many farmers are taking on the job themselves – and saving money in the process


The Fournies, Joe Sr., his wife Karen, and Joe Jr., work as a team when they install tile drains on their heavy clay farms.

Karen Fournie drives the 150 h.p. 7120 Magnum front-wheel-assist with duals all around. It pulls a “Persall mini-tile plow” for installing the four- inch drains. Joe Sr. digs the starter holes with a backhoe, while Joe Jr. runs the tile cart and makes “the taps” (connections) into the mains.

COVER STORY: The growing trend to on-farm grain storage

For some farmers, it’s simply something they’ve always wanted to do and now can afford. For others, there are clear advantages in cost and ability to time the market


When Dave Brock built his first grain storage bins at the family farm in the southwestern corner of Perth County in 1978, he was starting something that is still a work in progress more than 30 years later.

Brock began with two, 10,000-bushel bins, one of them a drying bin. Now, with his son Mark and Mark’s wife Sandi running their 1,500-acre cash crop operation, they are at 90,000 bushels of storage and counting. “We seem to be updating every five to 10 years,” Mark says, “by adding storage or changing how our drying system works.”

COVER STORY: The cash-crunch woes of rural municipalities

Rural councils had to reinvent themselves after the massive municipal and property tax reforms of the 1990s. Today, they are still struggling to cope with rising service costs and less available cash to pay them, and are looking to Queen’s Park for help


Last September, in Middlesex County’s Municipality of Thames Centre, there erupted a dispute about council’s decision to explore centralizing its road works in one main garage.