One year after successful demo day draws hundreds, Huronview Demo Farm project continues to move forward
A demonstration day drew hundreds of interested people from far and wide to the Huronview Demo Farm, near Clinton, Ontario, on June 15, 2019. One year later, in 2020, the industry and community partners continue to move forward with this innovative agriculture and water quality research project.
“One year ago we introduced this important project, at the demo day, to agricultural producers, people in the drainage industry, and other interested people from the community,” said Alan Willits, President of Huron County Soil and Crop Improvement Association (HSCIA). “A year later, we are pleased to see how much has been done to keep this project on track and progressing.”
The Huronview partners completed the installation of controlled drainage, on a slope, in 2019. This is believed to be a first in Ontario. The Huronview team is continuing to implement work, at the demo farm, in 2020. They are working to find new ways to build soil health, achieve the best possible yields, and protect downstream water quality. Huron County Soil and Crop Improvement Association is leading the project along with the County of Huron, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), and other industry and community partners.
Farmers and agronomists are keeping track of the crop yields and inputs. A team from Ausable Bayfield Conservation is monitoring impacts on flow and quality of water on the surface and below the surface. Staff have monitored the site since October 2018 to document pre-installation and post-installation data. The demonstration farm site features a side-by-side-by-side plot of contoured/controlled drainage, conventional drainage, and an area that remains undrained. The site also features a plot comparing 15-foot and 30-foot tile spacing and a demonstration of surface drainage with terraces, a constructed wetland and a grassed buffer.
The team is working with the University of Waterloo to help determine the science-based actions that farmers can implement in their operations. In the meantime, the team have made some of the data (i.e., air temperature, rainfall, soil moisture, eventually tile water levels) available in real-time (https://www.huronview.net/real-time-climate).
Huron Soil and Crop members are busy in 2020 adding features to the demonstration farm including grassed buffer and pollinator strips. ABCA staff have produced and shared information videos about some recent work at the Huronview site (Visit https://www.huronview.net).
The Huronview Demonstration Farm drainage innovation project was funded and supported by dozens of partners, including the Huron County Clean Water Project, the Land Improvement Contractors of Ontario (LICO), Ducks Unlimited Canada, and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority. This project was also funded in part through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.