The Government of Ontario, Beef Farmers of Ontario and Northeastern Ontario municipalities are investing in new research on three sustainability areas.
Research will focus on the environmental, social, and economic impacts of northern livestock expansion:
- Model greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation strategies for a Northern Ontario cow/calf beef farm (OMAFRA)
- Understand how soil and water dynamics change through land conversion from forest to pastures (OMAFRA)
- Understand the changes in soil carbon and greenhouse gas dynamics through land conversion from forest to pastures (OMAFRA)
- Identify Barriers to establishing livestock farms in the Great Clay Belt (OMAFRA)
- Land access and Crown land policy research (BFO)
- Benchmarking study on cow and calf production efficiency in Northern Ontario and Quebec (OMAFRA)
- Dairy-Beef recommendations for Northern Ontario (BFO)
- Bale grazing and windbreaks demonstration project (BFO)
- Lead-follow sheep and heifer grazing demonstration project (BFO)
- Agricultural Workforce Development Study (Municipalities)
- Private Land Inventory (Municipalities)
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Lifecycle Analysis and Mitigation Research: This one-year, Growing Forward 2 funded research project, launched in January 2017 will model the GHG emissions from establishing a cow/calf beef operation in the Great Clay Belt and identify what practices or mitigations could reduce these GHG impacts. This project is being led by the University of Guelph.
This research is funded under Growing Forward 2. Growing Forward 2 is a federal-provincial-territorial initiative that encourages innovation, competitiveness, market development, adaptability and industry sustainability in Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors.
Research on Baseline Soil and Water Data and How Dynamics Change Through Land Conversion: This research will advance the understanding of the physical, biological and chemical processes of soil, soil and water chemistry, and predictive water modelling resulting from land use changes in the Great Clay Belt. A call for proposals was issued in May 2017 through OMAFRA's New Directions program. Research activities will begin in early 2018 and take up to 36 months to complete.
Research on Changes in Soil Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Dynamics Through Land Conversion: This research will examine how soil carbon, nutrient dynamics and greenhouse gas emissions will change when land is converted from forest to agriculture along the Highway 11 North corridor. In addition, the soil types found in the Northern Ontario forests may shift in uncertain ways that should be explored. A call for proposals was issued in May 2017 through OMAFRA's New Directions program with proposals. Research will begin in early 2018 and take up to 36 months to complete.
Research on Barriers to Establishment of Livestock Farms in the Great Clay Belt: This research will identify the barriers which impede individuals from becoming involved in livestock production along the Highway 11 North corridor and how they can be addressed. A call for proposals was issued in May 2017 through OMAFRA's New Directions program. Research activities are expected to begin in early 2018 and will take up to 18 months to complete.
Land Access and Crown Land Policy Research: BFO-funded policy research on obstacles and opportunities for accessing Crown land for agricultural use in Ontario, including a jurisdictional scan of other policies in Canada. This work was completed in fall 2017.
Northern Ontario and Quebec Cow/Calf Benchmarking Study: This research project aims to collect data for the development of key performance indicators for Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec beef operations. Results of the study, which are expected in early 2018, will provide direction on what information should be disseminated through technology transfer workshops and areas of greatest opportunity to increase knowledge of beef farming. This study is being conducted in partnership with the Government of Ontario, the Government of Quebec and the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT). This research is being jointly funded by UQAT, ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec and Ontario. Ontario's portion is funded under Growing Forward 2. Results of this research will be presented at the Beef Production in the North Symposium in February 2018.
Dairy-Beef Recommendations for Northern Ontario: A report published by BFO on using a dairy-beef model in Northern Ontario, with recommendations for best practices and economic considerations. Key findings and recommendations will be provided to producers as part of a collection of resources and models that they can consider for diversifying and strengthening their own operations in the North. This work commenced in November 2016 and concluded in October 2017.
Demonstration Project: Bale Grazing and Windbreaks: An applied research project that will demonstrate bale grazing and windbreak systems for beef cattle, in order to observe and report on implications for labour, economics, efficiency, animal health, and production gains. Key findings and recommendations will be provided to producers as part of a collection of resources and models that they can consider for diversifying and strengthening their own operations in the North. Research commenced in May 2017 and was completed in fall 2017 under BFO's leadership.
Demonstration Project: Lead-Follow Sheep and Heifer Grazing: This BFO-led research project will demonstrate a lead-follow grazing system involving heifers and sheep, in order to observe and report on implications for labour, economics, efficiency, animal health, and production gains. Key findings and recommendations will be provided to producers as part of a collection of resources and models that they can consider for diversifying and strengthening their own operations in the North. Research commenced in May 2017 and concluded in October 2017.
Agricultural Workforce Development Study: This project led by the Great Clay Belt Partnership examined the existing training and workforce development resources available to support agriculture producers in the Great Clay Belt region in 2016 in support of OMAFRA's Northern Ontario Agri-Food Strategy.
Private Land Inventory: Building on existing land inventory studies conducted by Cochrane and the municipalities along the Highway 11 corridor from Opasatika to Fauquier-Strickland, these communities are working to identify, promote, and develop private land suitable for agriculture. Other municipalities in the Cochrane District are also conducting their own internal studies by following the models set out by the previous two studies. Another key project will be to amalgamate all available private land inventory data collected to date for developing a database with the ownership status, disposition availability, and management of agricultural land.
For more information:
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