Tillage

Clearydale started using no-till techniques in 1987, one of the first farms in Ontario to implement this practice on a large scale. Since then we have implemented a hybrid of no-till and minimum till cropping systems.

Detailed Information

Implementation of no-till techniques has become very beneficial over the years; erosion is minimalized, labour and fuel costs are lowered, and soil structure has improved.

Crop rotation choices are also very important in reducing erosion. Growing corn on corn does not generally yield sustainability. We use rotations based on feed requirement, soil characteristics, and proximity of the main facilities. Corn silage is not grown more than 3km away for example. Cover crops are not often used, but, in late 2012 we planted ryegrass in a few fields. It over-wintered and was harvested in the spring, with corn planted post-harvest.

We do not use buffer strips (not on purpose, anyway) in our fields. This is something we can and may include in our management practices. Buffer strips would reduce soil runoff, reduce the hazards of pesticides reaching water sources, and help curb weed infestations.

The majority of our fields have tile drainage. Some of the fields that are not tiled are not used. Most of our fields are on a variety of slopes, and have at least one ditch. We have not done any land levelling, except where fence rows have been removed. There is a long ditch behind our property that affects a number of fields that we recently cleaned out and deepened.

There are a couple of sinkholes in fields with older tile. This is not a huge priority to fix, however it will have to be done soon. Some ditches we have are going to be tiled and filled in to improve field efficiency. New culverts could improve ditch flow as well.

Clearydale Field Map