A weekly press release prepared by the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  If you require further information, regarding this press release, please call the Fergus Resource Centre at 519-846-0941.  Office hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  For technical information, call the Agri­cultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or visit the OMAFRA



by John C. Benham, EFP Program Rep.

Good News!  The new application and new 2008 Cost Share Project Eligibility Guidelines for the new Cost Share Program have arrived.  The program is continuing for 2008 with a few changes but in some cases the change may be significant.  Please dispose of the former applications and guidelines.  If old application forms are submitted they will be returned to you and will delay the process.  Please call me at 519-846-3384 if you are interested in learning more about this new program and I would be happy to send out the material. 



Keith Reid, Soil Fertility Specialist

Soil test accreditation provides assurance to the farmers of Ontario, and to the public, that soil test labs are providing accurate analytical results to farmers.

This provides the basis for responsible management of nutrients on agricultural land, so that applications of fertilizers and manure are both agronomically and environmentally sound.   Accreditation covers soil tests for nitrate nitrogen, plant available phosphorus (sodium bicarbonate extractable), plant available potassium and magnesium (ammonium acetate extractable), zinc and manganese indexes, and soil pH and buffer pH.

To be accredited, labs must demonstrate that they can correctly analyze a series of nine samples over three months, and then continue to provide the correct analyses on quarterly exchange samples.  In addition, they must have an acceptable internal quality control system, as well as adequate facilities and equipment to handle and analyze samples. 

Accreditation does not cover the fertilizer recommendations made by agronomists working for the lab.  However, with the accredited test you can use the tables in OMAFRA publications to determine your own fertilizer recommendations, if you so wish.

Forest Resources and Soil Testing (FoReST) Laboratory of Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, has met the requirements of the OMAFRA Soil Test Lab Accreditation Program, and joins the six soil test laboratories that are currently accredited by OMAFRA:  Accutest Labs in Nepean; Agrifood Labs in Guelph; A&L Canada Laboratories in London; Brookside Laboratories in New Knoxville, Ohio; Stratford Agri Analysis in Stratford; and University of Guelph Laboratory Services. 


by Robert Wright, OMAFRA

♦ The number of horses identified as clinically infected with West Nile virus (WNv) in Ontario during 2006 and 2007 was zero.  Complacency easily sets in with owners and they begin to question whether to continue vaccinating for West Nile.

A study of the West-Nile-virus outbreak of 2003 in Saskatchewan reports that non-vaccinated horses were 23 times more likely to develop clinical disease than those that were vaccinated.  The efficiency of the vaccine was reported to be 96%.  The study demonstrates that vaccination was associated with prevention of clinical disease.  (Ref: Waldner ET, Townsend HGG. Equine Vet J 2007; 39:498-503).

The low incidence of WNv in Ontario horses is probably associated with the high level of protection to the virus that has been achieved in Ontario’s horse population, as well as that acquired by the wild-bird population.  However, this virus is still present in the environment and vaccination is still highly recommended.

♦ The 6th revised edition of Nutrient Requirements of Horses, published in 2007 by the National Research Council, is now available from, by fax (202) 334-2451, or by contacting your local bookstore and requesting ISBN 10: 0-309-10212-X or ISBN 13: 978-0-309-10212-4 hardcover.  The list price is $99.95.  The 341 pages provide the most up-to-date summary and recommendations on equine nutrition.  A free computer program for determining the nutrient requirements of horses was developed as a companion to the book and is available at



April 29  The Eramosa 4-H Dairy Calf Club is holding their first meeting at Walkerbrae Farms at 7041 Wellington Road 31. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. and we welcome all returning members and invite any interested young people to join our exciting club.  If you require further information then please contact Jason French 519-843-7800, Steve Fraser 519-787-7735 or Roger Turner 519-827-1572.

April 30  OSMA District 5 will meet at 8:00 p.m. in the boardroom at Holmes Agro, Orangeville.  If you ever wonder about the services offered by the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency and what your check-off supports, or what the Canadian Sheep Federation is about, come out to hear Norma Collett, OSMA’s General Manager and Jennifer Fleming, the Executive Director of the Can. Sheep. Federation, reveal the inner workings of these two organizations.  A great evening planned, especially for those who are new to sheep.  All interested parties are welcome.  For directions call Daina Hunter 519 843-5441 or e-mail: