NutrientSmart 2.0: Optimizing the Use & Value of Organic Amendments

Brought to you by FarmSmart, in partnership with Golden Horseshoe Soil & Crop Improvement Association, Heartland Soil & Crop Improvement Association, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Ontario Professional
Agri Contractors Association (OPACA).

Thank you to our sponsors

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NutrientSmart 2.0 Presentations

Program pdf


Date:  Friday March 23, 2018
Time: 8:30am registration; 9am – 4pm program
Location: RIM Park, Manulife Financial Sportsplex
2001 University Ave East, Waterloo


$90.00 OSCIA/OPACA members
$125.00 regular fee
$90.00 government/university staff

Registration is still open.  Walk-ins are welcome (hot meal subject to availability)

CCA Credits:  2.5 Nutrient Management; 2.5 Soil and Water

Join us for an informative day of technical information and discussion about making best use of manure and organic amendments in the farm operation. Picking up where NutrientSmart left off, we will delve into the details of nutrient analysis and availability in manure and organic amendments, incorporating their use into a cropping system, with and without inorganic fertilizer, and in field crop and livestock operations. Benefits of organic amendments beyond the fertilizer value will be discussed and evaluated, particularly relating to soil health. Equipment logistics and considerations, costs to manage materials, and impacts of compaction will be explored.

Tradeshow Opportunity

Topics & Speakers:

Keynote – Past, Current and Future Roles of Organic Amendments In Ontario AgricultureDon Hilborn OMAFRA Retired, and Dale Cowan, Senior Agronomist for AGRIS and Wanstead Farmers Cooperatives
The use of organic amendments in agriculture includes manures, composts, green bin compost, biosolids, and others. These materials have traditionally been undervalued and not used to their full potential, sometimes resulting in poor application practices, which has lead to regulations around their use. Our knowledge of the value and importance of organic amendments in agriculture is much more advanced today, leading to better use and opportunities for farmers now and into the future.

Don Hilborn obtained his B.Sc.(Eng), and his M.Sc.(Eng) from the University of Guelph. From 1991 to 2015 Don work for OMAFRA as the By-product Management Engineer. His area of responsibility was the development, support and governance of manure management systems. Since his retirement Don has been involved in many organizations working on manure management, water management and biogas and digestates systems.

Dale Cowan is the Senior Agronomist and Sales Manager with AGRIS and Wanstead Cooperatives. He started with the cooperatives in 2008. He received his CCA designation in 1997 and his 4R NMS in 2016. In the same year he received the International Certified Crop Advisor of the Year Award.

Dale has been instrumental in the development and promotion of sustainable agronomy and precision farming practices throughout Ontario since 1992. He has been with the AGRIS and Wanstead Cooperatives for the past 8 years. Prior to that he owned Agri-Food Laboratories an agricultural testing laboratory from 1990 to 2008. Having reviewing over 1 million samples during that tenure has offered great insight into the condition of agriculture in Ontario.

Cowan’s career includes involvement in many industry association boards and in many different capacities over the years. The Ontario Agri-Business Association (OABA) as a board representative, a former President, active on the Crops Input Committee and Agriculture Research and Education Committee. Currently sitting on the 4 R Technical committee of the Ontario 4 R Stewardship Initiative.

A former chair of the Ontario CCA Board and recently re- elected; the vice chair of the former Provincial Nutrient Management Advisory Committee; member of the former Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Advisory Committee on Funding; He is currently the CCA representative to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs – Soil Health Working Group advising the government on a Soil Health Policy. He also is a member of the Ontario CCA Exam Committee and participates as a trainer in offering pre-exam workshops for candidates interested in obtaining their 4 R Nutrient Management Specialty.

Sources of Organic Amendments & Analysis of Nutrients – Christine Brown, OMAFRA
What are the various materials available and how do they measure up? Chris will compare data on nutrient concentrations across materials, relative value of nutrients, contributions to building soil organic matter, and availability of materials. Neighbourhood nutrient management planning and manure trading will be discussed as an option to making best use of available materials.

Christine is the Nutrient Management Field Crops Program Lead for OMAFRA. Her areas of focus include manure management for field crops, tools for nutrient management planning, and best management practices for and principals of nutrient/manure management. Christine is also editor of Publications 811, Agronomy Guide for Field Crops.

Nutrient Sources are not all Equal – John Lauzon, University of Guelph
Organic and inorganic sources of nutrients are equal pound for pound, but what are the considerations for availability, timing and other benefits? Dr. Lauzon will discuss how to read lab nutrient analysis reports, compare value of materials, and make best use of organic amendments for N, P, K & S values in a cropping system.

JohnLauzon2018John Lauzon has been a soil science professor at University of Guelph since 2000. Research interests focus on crop nutrient management strategies to maximize the agronomic use of plant nutrients and minimize losses. Current teaching include introductory soil science courses, 4th year courses in soil and nutrient management as well as graduate level instruction in soil nutrient management.


Value of Organic Amendments Beyond the Fertilizer Element – Deb Campbell, Agronomist
While N is N, the added value of manure and organic amendments is in the nutrient mix, organic matter and living biology. Deb will discuss the relative value and cost of materials, accounting for soil health economic benefits and present a case study demonstrating how to calculate what nutrients you are getting and how to balance with fertilizer application and timing. (ie. Do I need starter?)

2016_deb_campbell_jpgDeb obtained her BSc Agronomy with emphasis in soil management from the University of Guelph. She then went on to complete her Certified Crop Adviser certification in 2000. Recently Deb completed Licensed Seed Crop Inspection training and is now certified. She also served on Certified Crop Adviser Board of Directors from 2009-2011. Deb has a wide variety of experience from working for Cargill and Syngenta in an array of positions. From Agronomist to Territory Sales Manager to Account Manager, she understands all aspects of growing a successful crop both in the field and in the chequebook. She has production expertise in corn, soybeans (including IP), cereals, canola, edible beans, alfalfa, and cover crops. Deb owns and operates Agronomy Advantage.

New Advances in Nutrient Application Equipment – Sonke Claussen, Claussen Farms
Sonke will discuss some new technologies in nutrient application presented at Agritechnica 2017, the world’s leading fair in agricultural technology.

sonke-claussen-jgreigSonke and his brothers Hauke with their wives Anne and Susanne are farming 3300 ac in Brucefield Huron County. A Pioneer seed dealership, customwork services and asphalt road pulverizing are additional parts of the business. Claussen Farms is using shallow tillage and notill practices. They grow corn, soybeans and winterwheat with the integration of covercrops in between crops where possible. The fertility program consists of banding all P and K mineral fertilizers, broadcasting and banding N and S fertilizer with Greenseeker technology and the complementary use of solid manure and Greenbin compost with covercrops. Sonke is currently the president of the Ontario Professional Agri Contractors Association – OPACA.

Conquering Compaction in Managing Organic Nutrients – Peter Johnson, Real Agriculture & Alex Barrie, OMAFRA
Compaction, the silent yield robber! Using data from IFAO’s Compaction Action day, Peter and Alex will apply key learnings in using manure and organic amendments on your farm while preventing or minimizing compaction. In particular, balancing high volume/low nutrient materials like digestate, application uniformity, application timing in the crop system, fuel and transportation costs, equipment needs and implications for full field application of nutrients will be covered.

A2018_Alex_Barrielex Barrie is a Project Engineer in Training at OMAFRA in the Environmental Management Branch where he assists on a number of projects related to soil health, climate change and nutrient management. He grew up on a dairy farm in Bowmanville, Ontario. He received a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Guelph. During university he worked as a coop student at two Canadian ag equipment manufacturers. In addition to working at OMAFRA he is completing a MASc in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Guelph focusing on vibration control for off-road vehicles.

2016_Peter%20Johnson_Agronomist_jpgPeter is the resident agronomist with Real Agriculture, where he posts a weekly podcast “Wheat Pete’s Word”. He is a regular on “Agronomy Monday’s” on Real Ag radio, Siruis Satellite Radio 147. He is the research lead for the Veritas strip till project, as well as Middlesex Soil and Crop Improvement Association projects. He is enthusiastic and passionate about agriculture, and loves to be challenged by growers.

Producer Experiences Integrating Organic & Inorganic Nutrients in the Farm Operation: Ontario Farmer Panel – Steve Sickle, St. George, Mike Buis, Chatham, Mike Lishman, Jarvis
In this lively farmer panel, we will hear from farmers incorporating various types of organic amendments and manure into field crop systems, livestock grazing, producing cover crops and maximizing value. Experiences with various materials, systems and types of equipment will be discussed, with ample time for Q&A and discussion to follow.

Steve Sickle farms 900 acres with in the north end of Brant Cty with rolling hills and lots of stones. His typical soil type is sandy loam and slopes up to 20%. Steve has 20 beef cows that are rotationally grazed and outside 10 months of the year. Steve been no tilling since the mid 80’s and has lately adopted a never till policy unless levelling tile runs. This never till includes the use of manure but manure is only applied on green living crops or those that are about to emerge so living roots are ready to hold onto manures nutrients. All acres are being attempted to be green year round.

Mike is a third generation cattle rancher from Chatham Ontario. The family raises cattle to supply their on farm retail store and several speciality markets with farm raised local beef. Their cropland produces speciality crops of sweetcorn, seed corn and seed beans as well as a number of commercial cash crops. Farm tours, demonstration sites and speaking engagements allow Mike to share his strategic use of cover crops following intensive field crop production that make cattle farming sustainable on this premium farmland.

Mike Lishman, Arlington Farms, near Jarvis, ON runs a cash crop farm and custom manure application. Mike has been using Green bin compost for over ten years. He also work with bio solid Pellets and enviro. Soil health is a priority on his farm.

Speaker Panel – Q&A
The day’s speakers will assemble to “field” audience questions and comments.

Key Learnings Reviewed