Farmers create self-guided soil health tour

WELLINGTON COUNTY – This year, farmers have a new app –Soil Road Trip– to explore fields across the province with cover crops, min-till, amendments, and innovation for soil health.

This free app is now available at both Apple and Google’s app stores (link also at and features videos and photos of about 100 fields across the province, with driving directions right to the field for those who want to see for themselves.

“I learn most from other farmers,” says Reuben Stone. “With another summer of no field meetings, I hope this self-guided tour will keep us learning from each other, at a safe distance.”

Stone is a seed producer in the Ottawa Valley and a member of the Ontario Soil Network (OSN)’s 2021 cohort, which dreamed up the app. He hopes it will also create new connections to farmers from other parts of the province.

Closer to home for the Wellington Advertiser readers, you’ll find Brett Israel on this app. Brett farms with his dad and grandfather at 3GEN Organics.

They are demonstrating different approaches to growing low-till organic soybeans after cereals.

In one field, they harvested rye as a green crop, disked and drilled in soybeans.

Beside it, they roller crimped the rye and planted beans into it and on another field, they harvested winter barley, then disked and drilled in beans.

This trial is part of the Living Lab–Ontario initiative. Funded by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC), this initiative has farmers and federal scientists from AAFC and Environment and Climate Change Canada studying water quality and soil health on real farms.

These researchers are trying to determine the soil health benefits and profitability of the various systems.    

The Ontario Soil Network offers farmer-to-farmer learning and support for cover crops, min-till and amendments, with the goal to improve Ontario’s soils.

Founded in 2017, the group now hosts regular #LetsTalkSoil discussions online and all are welcome to join. Find them on Twitter: @SoilNetwork or sign up for updates at