From FCC Express
By Owen Roberts
Ontario is the latest province to officially designate an official provincial soil and, of the nearly 300 groups of soils available, the historically significant Guelph soil series has been awarded the title.
Jeff Leal, the province’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, made the recent announcement as a send-off to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s International Year of Soils. Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015 marked World Soil Day.
The announcement took place Woodrill Farms, a progressive Guelph-area farm that has grown and prospered atop productive Guelph soils since 1929.
Stormont County farmer Alan Kruszel, president of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association and vice-chair of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada, says when it comes to the foundation of farming, soil has no peer.
“A tablespoon of soil contains more organisms than the number of people on the entire planet,” Kruszel says. “Soil health has been our research focus, and designating a provincial soil during the International Year of Soils is a great way to raise awareness of the importance of soil to all Ontarians.”
The province considers the Guelph soil series one of Ontario’s best, producing corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and other forages and legumes. It comprises a wide range of glacial till-derived loams, sandy loams and silt loams, and covers more than 70,000 acres of highly productive farmland in Brant, Dufferin, Oxford, Perth, Lambton and Wellington Counties, Waterloo and Halton Regions and the City of Hamilton.
Dr. Stewart Sweeney, senior soil scientist for the province, says other soil series were worthy candidates for the consideration, but the Guelph series stood out for its designation as one of the first group of soils described by the Ontario Soil Survey, dating back to 1914, and for its contribution to research and training.
“It is upon these soils that the Ontario Agricultural College was established at Guelph, in 1874,” he wrote in a background piece, noting the ensuing soil research and soil science training at the college “ranks at the world-class level.”
Seven other provinces have designated a provincial soil: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.