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Agri-food innovations recognized
The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence recognizes and celebrates the agri-food producers, processors, organizations, and rural communities who through their innovative ideas and projects are helping strengthen Ontario communities, support a sustainable environment, create jobs, and boost the provincial economy. In 2015, 50 award recipients were recognized, including the regional award recipients which were announced in November.
Among the recipients from Leeds & Grenville County, Prescott & Russell County, and Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry County was Derks Elevator Inc. in Chesterville. For decades, Martin and Gary Derks ran a successful soybean processing business. In 2014, however, a fire destroyed their soybean roaster and oil expeller. The company invested in a new roaster and designed a better steeping process. The result is better soybean meal. While standard soybean meal is 44 per cent soluble protein, the Derks have achieved 49 per cent. The new system also uses less water and eliminates the need for solvents to extract oil. Finally, it can handle multiple streams of soybeans, which allows Derks to process identity preserved beans; for example, high oleic soybeans. As a result, the Derks have found new markets, boosted their revenue, and added two full-time jobs.
In Brant, Chatham-Kent, Norfolk, and Oxford County, 971082 Ontario Inc. in Merlin was recognized with a regional award. For several decades, E. Blake Vince underseeded red clover into his winter wheat; however he was inspired by the results he saw touring the world on a 2013 farming scholarship to expand the variety of cover crops he uses. Vince now plants a mix of up to 15 different species into his harvested wheat field. They regulate nitrogen levels, reducing the need for fertilizer, and they out-compete weeds, reducing the need for herbicides. Their root structure also holds the soil in place and increases its ability to hold water. Finally, the cover crops provide habitat for a host of organisms that promote healthy, fertile soil.
KLS Farms in Dunnville was among the regional award recipients from Haldimand County, Hamilton Region, Muskoka District, Niagara Region, Peel Region, Toronto, and York Region. Growing up on the farm, Dean Glenney noticed that corn planted in former fencerows grew two feet taller than the rest. And when he examined the soil there, he noticed clumps with a distinctively cubic shape — a telltale sign of ideal soil structure. As an adult, Glenney put that knowledge to work. Conventional tillage can destroy soil structure and create a hardpan layer that corn roots can’t penetrate. So he set about simulating a fencerow environment across his field, planting on the same row year after year. Over the course of 17 years of experimentation, he developed a no-till strip cropping system that reduces inputs, increases drought resistance, reduces runoff, builds long-term soil health and fertility, and produces 270 bushels of corn per acre.
The work of Glenney and Vince has been profiled in previous issues of the Ontario Grain Farmer magazine. If you are interested in learning more, go to ontariograinfarmer.ca. •
Case IH new 2000 series Early Riser® planter
Case IH has announced a new 2000 series Early Riser planter featuring an all-new row unit. These rugged new planters have been engineered to operate at higher speeds to deliver fast and uniform emergence. The new planter has already been recognized with the agricultural engineering community’s prestigious AE50 award for 2016.
The planter includes factory installed Precision Planting components, a 26-inch toolbar clearance, larger and heavier blades, trailed gauge wheels, and larger inverted closing disks.
The first of the new 2000 series Early Riser planter models, the Early Riser 2150 model, will debut at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky in February. Producers attending Commodity Classic in New Orleans, Louisiana in March will also be able to see the new planter and discuss features with Case IH representatives. First models, which include 12-, 16-, and 24-row 30-inch front fold machines, will be available for the 2017 planting season. •