Soil test workshop a success!
Farms at Work hosted a successful EFO soils workshop in Warkworth on Saturday January 15, 2011. The workshop was led by long-time farmer Ken Laing. Twenty-four people attended, representing farms in Peterborough, Northumberland, City of Kawartha Lakes, Frontenac, and Prince Edward Counties. Interestingly, when soil tests were compared among farms over this wide geographical area, a combination of extremely high calcium levels, mediocre potassium and phosphorus levels and neutral pH gave an unreliable cation exchange capacity (CEC) value for all farms. This reflects the limestone origins of the soils in the region. To correct low phosphorus and potassium levels, Ken recommended the application of compost to most of these soils, but warned against over-application because the resulting high nitrogen levels would cause weed problems. Work needs to be done to develop a regional strategy to maximize the health and capabilities of the soils in the region using sustainable inputs.