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    Redwater cases the only blot on what has been an ideal spring dairy landscape – Farm Ireland - May 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The last five weeks of glorious weather remind me of the line about the merry month of May from The Rocky Road to Dublin.

    aving happy cows out grazing in fields of lush green grass makes life easier. But as someone once told me, when things are going well, thats the time to look out. I found this out for myself recently as suspected Redwater cases claimed two cows from my herd within a week.

    Redwater was common enough in cattle years ago and was associated with older, rough pastures. My two cows went down very quickly, and even though they got blood transfusions, it wasnt enough to save them.

    I havent found out what caused it and I just hope that it was an isolated case. I am watching cows very closely for any drop in milk production or any other indications that they are off form.

    Apart from that it has been a busy and productive time. Breeding kicked off on April 20 and at the end of three weeks, 90 cows and heifers were submitted. There was an 85pc submission rate for the cows and 100pc for the heifers.

    The teaser bulls with the chinballs certainly worked hard and without fail. They were in from day one.

    The teaser with the cows certainly loved milking times as he lay down outside the collecting yard for a rest until milking was over.

    It was a pleasure to work with the heifers this year as I brought them home to the milking platform for the three weeks. They were in two paddocks close to the parlour and were easily visible.

    They were all submitted within the first three weeks, including two out of the 22 receiving estrumate to bring them into heat. They all received sexed semen. This is my first time to use it. I will work hard with the April and May calvers to get them served as quickly as possible. All cows finished calving last week.

    First cut

    By the time you read this, our first-cut silage should be in the pit as it was cut last Tuesday.

    I got three grass samples tested and they all had sugar levels between 4.55. The nitrogen levels were also low at between 10 and 50. Fertiliser was on for just six weeks and the good sunshine helped to use up the nitrogen.

    Grass has really taken off in the past two weeks. Along with the first cut last week I included three paddocks (2.7ha). This brought my farm cover down to a more manageable level of 612. The cover/LU stands at 149 and I am now stocked at 4.12LU/ha. In the past month I reseeded two paddocks (2.1ha). Conditions were ideal.

    I burned off, ploughed, power-harrowed, levelled, sowed and rolled. The grass seed used was a two-variety mix of abergain and abermagic. Lime and 10-10-20 fertiliser were also applied. Dare I say it, some rain would really help reseeds in this part of the country.

    A Grass10 meeting was held on Zoom last Monday. The emphasis was to walk the farm regularly, keep covers at 1400 and take out surpluses for bales immediately. For the next month with such rapid growth, this will be the main challenge.

    The milking cows are currently producing 29 litres at 3.57pc BF, 3.23pc PR, 4.84 lactose giving 2kg MS/cow/day, TBC 4000, SCC 81, Therm. 30. Milk urea is 14. The cows are getting 14kg of grass and 4kg of a 16pc protein nut.

    The first group of heifer calves went to grass two weeks ago. They have settled in nicely and are enjoying the sunshine and the freedom. They are getting about 1kg of meal daily.

    Even though our summer months are going to be very different this year, we must continue to farm safely and well.

    We must continue to encourage our young family members to help out where they can as there are always so many jobs to be done around our farms. Start by making a list and getting through them.

    Enjoy the long days ahead!

    Online Editors

    Originally posted here:
    Redwater cases the only blot on what has been an ideal spring dairy landscape - Farm Ireland

    Chester FC sets out bold plan for five year vision of the future – Cheshire Live - May 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    City Fans United has produced a draft strategic plan setting out a five-year vision for Chester FC and is now asking members and supporters for their views to help shape the final plan.

    An initial consultation has been launched giving fans and stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback and tell the club what matters to you.

    The consultation, which runs until Monday, June 1, includes an online survey and a series of interactive virtual workshops.

    Developed in collaboration with Chester FC Community Trust, the draft plan aims to provide a blueprint for the future and establish the club as a successful, sustainable force for the long-term.

    It is based upon six strategic pillars which will enable the club to achieve its ambitions: Football Excellence; Membership and Fan Engagement; Better Facilities; People and Culture; Finance and Governance; and Community.

    Andrew Morris, City Fans United chairman, said: The final strategic plan will reflect our shared vision and ambitions for the club so the contribution of members and supporters is of vital importance.

    These are unprecedented times for football and all clubs are having to respond to overcome new challenges, but we believe our ownership model is an asset and means we are better placed than many to do this.

    Given the uncertainty about when football will resume, what it will look like when it does and whether crowds will be permitted, the board has adopted a flexible business plan model which is an ongoing process.

    The strategic plan is a high level summary that will guide the club for the next five years and enable us to move to the next level and realise the potential of the supporter-owned model.

    The plan must represent the aspirations of the membership so we are asking every supporter to take part in the consultation and tell us what is important to them.

    Did you know we offer a free email newsletter service?

    Each CheshireLive bulletin delivers the latest breaking news, what's on events and the hottest talking points straight to your inbox. For more information about how - and why - to subscribe,click here.

    To join City Fans United or renew your membership for the next 12 months, visit http://www.cityfansunited.com/join-city-fans-united. The cost remains 12 per year to be an owner of the club and in these challenging times your commitment and contribution is needed more than ever.

    A direct debit for CFU membership can be set up via email to nick.phillipson@chesterfc.com as this makes future renewals much simpler and provides further revenue for the club as well giving access to benefits as a CFU member.

    Meanwhile, work is now well under way on the annual pitch renovations at Chester FC thanks to the generous support from fans at this difficult time.

    Almost 4,000 was raised from the E-Matchdays last month and these funds have enabled the club and groundsman Mike Barrow to ensure the pitch remains in top condition for when football returns.

    With no matches scheduled and the recent good weather, work on the playing surface has been able to start earlier than normal with the expert assistance of Duncan Ross Ltd, one of the UKs leading contractors working in sportsturf, land drainage, fine turf, landscaping, agriculture and greenspace.

    Mike and his team of volunteers scarified the pitch last week in three directions to rip out any of the weaker grass in preparation for the work.

    On Monday the pitch was spread with 70 tonnes of sand which was drag-matted to level out the surface and then seeded four ways with the club grateful to Dandys for providing a fantastic deal on the grass seed.

    It is expected that with the forecasted good weather and temperatures set to remain along with some natural rain or sprinklers signs of growth will be seen in 7-10 days.

    Then, in around 5-6 weeks, the pitch will be cut regularly and returned to its usual excellent condition ready for whenever football resumes.

    Jeff Banks, director of fan engagement, praised the fans, players and management at the club for helping raise funds: To achieve a figure of nearly 4,000 from the E-Matchdays was fantastic and its great that we can visibly demonstrate where that money has been spent.

    We have always been proud of the surface at the Deva Stadium and this contribution together with the hard work of our groundsman and support from Duncan Ross will help ensure we continue to prepare the pitch for footballs return.

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    Chester FC sets out bold plan for five year vision of the future - Cheshire Live

    POC (Point of Care) Blood Gas and Electrolyte Detection Market to Surge During Coronavirus Outbreak, Spurred by Demand for abc – Cole of Duty - May 20, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The global POC (Point of Care) Blood Gas and Electrolyte Detection market study presents an all in all compilation of the historical, current and future outlook of the market as well as the factors responsible for such a growth. With SWOT analysis, the business study highlights the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of each POC (Point of Care) Blood Gas and Electrolyte Detection market player in a comprehensive way. Further, the POC (Point of Care) Blood Gas and Electrolyte Detection market report emphasizes the adoption pattern of the POC (Point of Care) Blood Gas and Electrolyte Detection across various industries.

    The POC (Point of Care) Blood Gas and Electrolyte Detection market report examines the operating pattern of each player new product launches, partnerships, and acquisitions has been examined in detail.

    The report on the POC (Point of Care) Blood Gas and Electrolyte Detection market provides a birds eye view of the current proceeding within the POC (Point of Care) Blood Gas and Electrolyte Detection market. Further, the report also takes into account the impact of the novel COVID-19 pandemic on the POC (Point of Care) Blood Gas and Electrolyte Detection market and offers a clear assessment of the projected market fluctuations during the forecast period.

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    The following manufacturers are covered:Ten CateFieldTurfCoCreation GrassPolytan GmbHDomo Sports GrassMondo S.p.A.ACT Global SportsSIS PitchesBeaulieu International GroupSaltex OyEdel Grass B.V.Condor GrassNurteksVictoria PLCGarden GrassTaishanLIMONTA SPORT S.p.A.ForestGrassWonderlawn

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    POC (Point of Care) Blood Gas and Electrolyte Detection Market to Surge During Coronavirus Outbreak, Spurred by Demand for abc - Cole of Duty

    Shellfish Seeding The Nianitc River Aims To Restore, Replenish – The Lymes, CT Patch - January 22, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    EAST LYME, CT More than 20,000 scallop seeds were placed in the Nianitc River last Thursday, the minutes from the Waterford-East Lyme Shellfish Commission meeting show.

    And according to The Day, owner of the Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm Tim Londregan and commission chairman Peter Harris, said the program to restock and refresh the Niantic, is an effort to help restore the river to its days of being home to a bountiful scallop population.

    Also last November, the commission approved a scallop season, only the third since 2011 and before that, going back a decade, no permits were issued.

    In 2006, the Niantic River Watershed Protection Plan noted that historically, the decline in the bay scallop population was related to a decrease in eel grass and at the time, said that the sharp decline in the delectable shellfish Argopecten irradians led the Commission to "no longer issue shellfishing permits for them."

    In addition to scallops, the "river at risk," long rich with shellfish, has also seen a oyster seeding.Rescue Our River seeded the Niantic in November with 10,000 oyster seeds as part of a public-private partnership with the Waterford-East Lyme Shellfish Commission.

    Read more about Rescue Our River here.

    Excerpt from:
    Shellfish Seeding The Nianitc River Aims To Restore, Replenish - The Lymes, CT Patch

    Gedney Field Renovated in White Plains – The Examiner News - January 22, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    When the new Little League baseball season opens in April in White Plains players will be competing in a newly renovated Gedney Field.

    The field is temporarily closed.

    White Plains Little League President Kevin Scully said last week the field is usually renovated every five to six years. A landscaper typically does such work as adding new infield dirt, over-seeding the infield and the outfield, aerating the grass infield and outfield areas. But Scully said the Little League Board determined major renovations were needed for the field due to all the use it receives. It was time to invest in a major renovation that would enhance the Gedney Little League Field and rival or exceed the best Little League fields in Westchester County and the surrounding areas, Scully said.

    Gedney Field is a traditional grass field, built to Little League International specifications, Scully noted. With grass infields it is critical to have the proper drainage and quality infield dirt/clay that provides a smooth surface and minimizes bad hops of baseballs and softballs, Scully said. Having a high-quality Little League field benefits our league and our city. By hosting district and sectional little league tournament games we are bringing people from all over Westchester and the surrounding area into White Plains, which benefits the immediate merchants on Gedney Way, but also other businesses in White Plains that these visitors patronize.

    For this major renovation, the entire infield, grass and dirt were scaped and removed and replaced with new grass and a special mixture of clay. Home plate and the pitchers mound were raised in order to create the proper pitch that would enable rainwater to more easily drain off the field and minimize pooling and puddles. And new grass was laid around home plate to create the feeling of a major league ballpark. New sprinklers were added to improve the even watering of both the grass and dirt areas.

    The field is scheduled to reopen with the 2020 Little League season in April. The White Plains Little League parade is slated for April 18 and the regular season will begin the week of April 20, Scully noted. Depending on the weather, we may open the field to practices in April, but as of now, the field will be closed until the regular season begins, he said.

    Scully said the entire cost of roughly $40,000 was paid for by the White Plains Little League. The City of White Plains did contribute by allowing the contractor to dump the old grass and dirt in the City recycling center, he noted. The Little League White Plains used some of its capital projects funds and is conducting a series of fundraisers to cover the renovation costs, he said.

    Scully said the Little League big fundraiser is a wine tasting scheduled for Jan. 24 at the Freebird Kitchen and Bar on Mamaroneck Avenue. The cost is $40 for individuals and $60 for couples. The Little League will hold other fundraisers throughout the year to replenish the capital projects fund, Scully said.

    The renovations began immediately following the completion of the Little League fall season in late October, Scully said. Westwood, NJ-based Field Pro Enterprises, which was also hired by the White Plains School District last fall to renovate several district ballfields was hired by the Little League, Scully said, adding the company was highly recommend by the school district.

    The contractor fell in love with Gedney Field when he saw it and knew that a renovation would really make a difference for our facility, Scully said. The contractor worked through November to get the grass laid so it could take hold. His unique supplier for the clay had equipment issues and had to wait for replacement parts from Ireland before he could mix and deliver our clay. Clay was delivered in late December and the contractor has been working around the weather to finish the project, Scully said. The contractor will return in late March to fertilize and seed the whole field and regrade the clay areas that might be affected by winter weather, he said.

    Scully said the White Plains Little League has a positive relationship with the City of White Plains, which owns and the field. The Little League is very grateful to and dependent upon the City of White Plains, particularly the Department of Public Works and the Department of Recreation and Parks, for the support they provide, he said.

    Although Gedney Field is a city field it nearly exclusively used by Little League for games and practices from April through November, Scully said. In addition, the Little League uses the field to host district and sectional tournament games in June and July, he said. The field does get used by Dads and kids when not being used by the White Plains Little League and for the most part, the community respects and takes pride in Gedney Field, he said.

    The field is officially referred to as Gedney Little League Field, Scully noted. We are celebrating our 26th season as an official little league, he said. The city created the field specifically for the Little League in 1998, he said. .

    The Little League has named a walkway within the Gedney Field complex Massaroni Way for Rich Massaroni who was a past president of White Plains Little League and instrumental in getting the City to build Gedney Field for WPLL, Scully said. He remains a valued resource for the current board to help understand the history of different issues and decisions, Scully said, noted, adding Massaronis son, Patrick, is head coach of the Stepinac High School varsity basketball team and a White Plains Little League alumnus.

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    Gedney Field Renovated in White Plains - The Examiner News

    Springstead leads 5A District 6 for Boys Basketball, but Zephyrhills is Right on their Tail – Hernando Sun - January 22, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    FHP Motorist Advisory: The Florida Forest Service will be conducting up to a 7000 acre prescribed burn Tuesday January 21, 2020 through January 23, 2020 in Goethe State Forest inLevy County. This burn will be emitting initial & residual smoke over the next several days, and the following roadways: US 19, SR 121, CR 336, CR 337; as well as surrounding roadways.Motorist in this area sould reduce their speed, use low beam headlamps at night and in theearly mornng hours, especially during variable weather conditions.

    Fertilizer or dinance in effect for Hernando County

    (Brooksville, FL) Starting January 1, 2020, a fertilizer ordinance will be in effect for Hernando County through March 31, 2020. This ordinance regulates how, where and when fertilizers can be applied to grass. During this time period, only professional applicators who are trained, certified and registered according to the terms of the ordinance may apply fertilizer. The only forms of nitrogen fertilizer that may be applied during this period are those that are labeled as slow- or controlled-release. The applicator must be able to verify the fertilizer product used and provide the verification upon request.

    Studies conducted by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection have determined that one of the primary causes of water quality issues in Weeki Wachee Springs and the Weeki Wachee River comes from inappropriate fertilizer use. When applied incorrectly, excess nutrients wash off lawns into neighboring water bodies causing excessive algae growth and stressing aquatic insects, amphibians and fish.

    Here are tips on how residents can help: Do not fertilize your lawn from January 1 through March 31 unless you hire a certified landscape professional Ask your fertilizer professional if he or she has a certificate of training through the Green IndustriesBest Management Practices Program Watch the weather and don't fertilize when the National Weather Service calls for a heavy rain, flood, tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning, or when the soil is still saturated Hold off fertilizing new plants, turf seeding or sod until at least 30 days after planting Do not fertilize within 10 feet of a water body. It is recommended to use plants that don't require fertilizer for these areas Immediately clean up fertilizer that spills on your driveway, sidewalk or street. Never allow fertilizer, grass clippings, pet waste, plant debris, gasoline or oil to be washed, swept or blown off sidewalks or roadways into stormwater drains, ditches, canals, water bodies or wetlands Follow the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences best management practices for landscapes. For information, contact the Hernando County UF Extension office at (352) 754-4433 or visitfyn.ifas.ufl.edu

    Important contact information: Call the Hernando County UF/IFAS Extension office at (352) 754-4433 for more information about the ordinance Visithttp://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/hernandoco/2018/02/01/hernando-countys-fertilizer-ordinance/to read the full ordinance Call the Hernando County Permitting office at (352) 754-4050 if you are a professional applicator who needs to register with the County

    Sergeant Lea Mills Boulevard temporary road closure

    (Brooksville, FL) The Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport will temporarily close Sergeant Lea Mills Boulevard in Brooksville from December 30, 2019 through January 17, 2020 for scheduled roadway repairs. The public is asked to use alternate routes during this time.

    Contact the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport at (352) 754-4061 for additional information on this temporary road closure.

    Read more:
    Springstead leads 5A District 6 for Boys Basketball, but Zephyrhills is Right on their Tail - Hernando Sun

    WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?: New U of Guelph institution under construction – GuelphMercury.com - January 22, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    It has been years in the making, but work is finally underway on the new Guelph Turfgrass Institute.

    The institute, which studies things like pesticide use, grass species, seeding methods and sports field construction, is managed by the University of Guelph under a partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

    The universitys board of governors approved the move from the current facility on Victoria Road to the new site back in 2015. Work had originally been slated to begin in 2017, with a fall 2018 move-in date.

    However, Rene Van Acker, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College, told the Mercury Tribune in September 2018 that the delay was due in part, because of additional environmental assessments for the new site.

    The current Victoria Road property is part of a parcel of provincially-owned land currently up for sale. That land, under city plans, will one day become the Guelph Innovation District.

    In March 2019, city council approved plans for the province to sell the land but permit the city a seat at the table for helping narrow down a buyer.

    At the time, council was told the land would be in the hands of its new owner(s) by March 2020.

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    WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?: New U of Guelph institution under construction - GuelphMercury.com

    Biggest unrestricted free agents for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020 – Hernando Sun - January 22, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    By Andy Villamarzo

    Hernando Sun sports reporter

    There were many experts surrounding the NFL heading into the 2019 season predicting that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be nothing more than a 3-13, 4-12 football team. That record mightve been nice in terms of positioning in the 2020 NFL Draft, but instead the Buccaneers took an entirely different route.

    Tampa Bay finished with a record of 7-9 and are now faced with some big decisions when it comes to their own unrestricted free agents. The Buccaneers are coming off Year No. 1 under quarterback whisperer Bruce Arians and one of the first orders of business will be to make a decision on signal caller Jameis Winston. Theres others that must be decided on like outside linebackers Shaquille Barrett and Jason Pierre Paul and wide receiver Breshard Perriman.

    Who exactly will Tampa Bay bring back and who will they left go? We take a closer look at some of the free agents that are currently slated to hit the free agent market and what Tampa Bay may end up doing with them.

    Quarterback, Jameis Winston: If you want to start up a good debate over the dinner table, talk about if the Buccaneers will be bringing back Jameis Winston in 2020. Its a debate that stirs Buccaneers fans strongly one way or another. For Winston, its been five seasons of work with only one season above the .500 mark and a whole bunch of good and bad. The problem is figuring out if he will ever swing the pendulum fully to the good side. Coming off a season after throwing for over 5,000 yards, 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions, it would seem prudent to give Winston the franchise tag here. A long term deal seems off the table.

    Outside linebacker, Shaquille Barrett: Setting records was the big theme for Tampa Bay in 2019 and Barrett broke the franchises single sack record previously held by Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Barrett ended the season with 19.5 sacks, ending up leading the entire NFL in that very category. Theres not much of a decision on whether Tampa Bay should bring Barrett back. The better question is will they apply the franchise, transition tags or sign Barrett to a long term deal?

    Outside linebacker, Jason Pierre-Paul: In just 10 games played after an off-season of recovering from a scary neck injury that nearly ended his career, JPP came back to prove something and he did. Last seasons sack leader played enough to rack up 27 total tackles and notch 8.5 sacks. Not too shabby for a guy who had an injury that nearly took away not only a season of play but maybe his career. JPP is a leader in the locker and a short term deal seems in order.

    Wide receiver, Breshard Perriman: Talk about the take of two halves in a season. Perriman went from a virtual unknown on the offensive side of the ball to being considered a viable No. 1 receiver by the end of the year. Perriman ended the season with over 30 catches for nearly 700 yards and providing Tampa Bay with a boost in the final four games. He made $4-million last season but a pay increase will be expected by Perrimans camp. Perriman could end up leaving in free agency due to the higher price tag he will demand.

    Defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh: Suh has become somewhat of a free agent mercenary when it comes to where to go. When the Los Angeles Rams offered him big money, he went to the big city. When Tampa Bay ponied up big money, Suh took his talents to the Buccaneers. It seems unlikely Tampa Bay will have the cap space to bring Suh back, but mentioned many times by head coach Bruce Arians, he wants to keep the defense intact.

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    Biggest unrestricted free agents for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020 - Hernando Sun

    The learning curve of cover crops – Manitoba Co-operator - December 17, 2019 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Its not enough to convince producers to give cover crops a shot there needs to be a game plan.

    There are plenty of reasons why. Seed can be expensive, especially if theres no livestock to help recoup that cost through their digestive systems. Many worry the fall seeding window is too narrow to give the crop time to amount to anything, but admit theyve few alternative planting dates to consider.

    In some cases experts like Lee Briese, of North Dakotas Centrol Inc., say farmers gave cover crops a shot years ago, and abandoned the practice when it didnt work that year.

    Lee Briese of Centrol Inc. discusses the advice he gives cover croppers in North Dakota during the Getting the Most Out of Every Acre event in Brandon in November.photo: Alexis Stockford

    A more deliberate approach will shift most of those arguments, Briese says. Many of those unsuccessful cover crops may have been the wrong species mix, planted at the wrong time, or did not have an end goal firmly in mind during the planning stage.

    Why it matters: Cover crops can help a farmer accomplish many things, but understanding the end goal is key to the management choices.

    Species selection is critically important, he said. So thats the first question for me. If youre planting a warm-season cover crop a little too late, its not going to do well. If youre planting a cool-season cover crop in the heat of the summer, its not going to do well.

    The end goal will also be central to species selection, plant timing and seeding rate, he added. A mix tailored to fight erosion will look very different from one planned to fight weeds, increase farm resiliency or improve soil health, he noted.

    [AUDIO ABOVE] Joe Gardiner of Clearwater, Man., talks to Alexis Stockford about how he got started with cover crops, what keeps him coming back to the practice and how hes changing up his farm management this year.

    Local experts like Yvonne Lawley of the University of Manitoba have echoed the point. Lawley has urged producers to consider the root profile of their cover crop, whether the mix leans to warm or cool season, whether those species fix or scavenge nitrogen, and how they plan to terminate the crop so they are not creating their own weed problem.

    The entire process is more art than science, she said, and will be highly individual to a farmers circumstance, equipment, work flow and end goals.

    Cover crops have grown incredibly complex on some farms, Briese noted, with some producers putting down something like 30 different species. Thats great for biodiversity, he said, but significantly less so to the producers pocketbook.

    Briese advocates the five food groups philosophy, which he says ensures a diverse species mix while potentially balancing seed cost. A balanced cover crop mix includes cool-season grasses, warm-season grasses, both warm- and cool-season broadleafs, and legumes, he said, and the addition of both warm- and cool-season crops helps ensure that something will grow out of the mix, regardless of weather conditions.

    A mix of more than five species may start to see diminishing returns on the balance sheet, he noted, particularly for producers just starting out with cover crops.

    Its a good strategy, according to Michael Thiele, co-ordinator of Manitobas Ducks Unlimited grazing club and an outspoken advocate of cover crops as a tool for biodiversity.

    I think thats simply practical, but think of that: five species versus what has been one for 100 years, he said.

    Michael Thiele is among the local experts urging producers to take up cover crops, but also to have a distinct plan before they plant.photo: Alexis Stockford

    Joe Gardiner of Clearwater is one of the producers who, self-admittedly, goes crazy, with his mixes. His cover crops run up to 15 species, which he ties to his goals of maximum biodiversity and biomass both for the sake of soil health and forage for his cattle.

    At the same time, he noted, his full-season cover crops mitigate the risk of taking on more species compared to an underseeded or post-harvest mix. Farmers who arent doing that are wise to consider less complex mixes, he said.

    That makes a lot of sense for a relay crop or a fall-seeded cover, because youre just not getting the return from the biomass to justify the seed cost, and I get that totally and I understand it, he said. From a full-season cover perspective, the goal is to stimulate biology. You cannot stimulate biology with a monoculture.

    Joe Gardiner of Clearwater outlines his cover cropping system during an event in Brandon last month.photo: Alexis Stockford

    Gardiner also sources much of his seed on his own farm, further reducing cost. His cattle also make that risk more palatable, he acknowledged. He first got into cover crops as a means to increase fall forage.

    Kevin Elmy, manager of Cover Crops Canada and a cover crops consultant with Imperial Seed, has a slightly different approach.

    Many producers interested in cover crops forget to add in rotation, he said, particularly when it comes to something like tillage radish.

    Tillage radish is a well-known compaction buster in the cover crop world. Manitoba experts, however, have recently raised concern that the brassica might create a bridge for pests like flea beetles and disease, given the local popularity of canola.

    Its one reason that Elmy has brought sugar beets into his Imperial Seed mixes. Although more expensive, the beets also fill much the same niche as tillage radish.

    I have a triangle, so it is grass, legume, broadleaf, he said. If youre looking from a grass to a brassica (in the rotation), which one are you missing? Youre missing a legume, so you want to try and introduce something like subterranean clover or Persian clover.

    Kevin Elmy, of Cover Crops Canada, says rotational considerations are too often forgotten.photo: Friendly Acre Seed Farms

    That short legume would be underseeded as a relay crop, but remain under the canopy until the cash crop is harvested and then grow through the fall, he said.

    That system depends on an early seed date, he noted, giving the legume time to bloom and set nitrogen.

    The system is a harder sell for producers without livestock, he acknowledged, but argued that a cover crop that knocks back weeds, saves a fall desiccation, or over the course of years, increases water infiltration and saves a producer from having to install tile drainage, will more than pay for itself.

    Once we set goals, then we can pick species, then we can have a strategy on how to get it done, he said.

    Soil health advocates may have biodiversity and soil structure top of mind, but Briese says many of his customers are turning to cover crops as weed control, after nothing else has worked.

    In some cases, he noted, those producers are attempting to choke out a herbicide-resistant weed a growing concern in both his home North Dakota and Manitoba he said a properly managed cover crop blend may be less expensive than a herbicide pass.

    Theyre realizing that this is a potential opportunity for them. Its not incredibly expensive if done well, he said.

    Once again, he noted, the goal will underscore the plan of attack. He pointed to one of his clients fighting herbicide-resistant kochia. As such, that customer actually needed his cover crop to overwinter to provide that early-season competition.

    Anyone planning for weed control will want to pick species that establish quickly with good ground cover, Lawley advised.

    The other thing thats really important to think about for that criteria is which weeds do you need to suppress and what is the biology of when those weeds are growing or establishing themselves, she said.

    In the case of a winter annual, she noted, the producer will want a vibrant cover crop post-harvest to interrupt the weeds life cycle.

    Cover crops fighting salinity, meanwhile, should get in the soil as early in the season as possible, Lawley noted.

    Even your cover crops may not establish where it turns white. You need to work on shrinking that white area by getting a cover crop established in that wet area immediately around it, she said.

    In many cases, that cover crop will be broadcast rather than drilling in what is essentially patch seeding, she noted. As such, Lawley advised producers to choose a small-seeded crop or an easily germinated option like barley.

    Barley may be among the most common saline-tolerant options, but Lawley argued that there are enough other options for a multi-species cover crop. Sugar beets, camelina and sorghum sudan grass to a certain extent, may also thrive, she said.

    Work flow is a challenge, cover crop experts admit, although Lawley pointed out that fall seeding might be done in the morning if a farmer has to wait until the drier afternoon to combine anyway.

    Fall seeding is often the easiest to work into a year, Gardiner said, but added that it is also the seeding window most likely to end in failure, since there is little growing time left in the season.

    For both Thiele and Briese, the key is both a realistic starting point and commitment.

    Cover cropping is a skill and we need to learn it, no different than you would learn to play an instrument, Briese said. You cant play Bach right away. You learn Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star first.

    Both Thiele and Briese urge producers to choose a limited number of acres to start, band then attack that cover crop with the best plan possible.

    Look, if youre really serious and youre committed, take a field and commit to that field for five years, Thiele said. Youre not going to see the world change in one or two or three years. You need to be committed to this and do it right and be focused and committed and, in five years, youll convince yourself that these systems can work.

    Read more:
    The learning curve of cover crops - Manitoba Co-operator

    New accessible playground is the first of its kind for Sarnia – Sarnia and Lambton County This Week - December 17, 2019 by Mr HomeBuilder

    A new accessible playground and community hub has opened at Canatara Park. Pictured left to right are Todd Murray with Rotary Sarnia-Lambton After-Hours, Rob Collie with Rotary Sarnia, Rotary Sarnia-Bluewaterland's Henry Kulik and Marie Watson, City of Sarnia recreation and planning manager Ryan Chamney, Rotary-Bluewaterland member Pat Boegelin, and Mike Elliott with Rotary Sarnia. Tyler Kula/Postmedia News

    An accessible playground, the first of its kind in Sarnia, has opened at Canatara Park.

    More than a playground, the wheelchair-accessible play structure atop a poured-in-place rubber base, also features nearby benches with built-in games tables, a stage area for theatre beside the existing picnic pavilion, and exercise equipment.

    We just wanted to create a space that, whether youre playing or a caregiver here to watch their kids play, theres something to do, said city recreation and planning manager Ryan Chamney.

    The project cost roughly $335,000, and was partly funded with $80,000 and $90,000 in total from all three of Sarnias Rotary clubs.

    We got a lot for what we spent, said Chamney.

    The Canatara Park Rotary Clubs of Sarnia Accessible Playground and Community Hub project is step one of nine in accessibility upgrades eyed for playgrounds in various city parks, he said.

    Tecumseh Park is up next. Work is planned to start there later in 2020 and likely wrap up in 2021, Chamney said.

    Accessible swings, wheelchair gliders and other upgrades are being eyed as part of the projects.

    Not all the upgrades will necessarily be as big as the hub project in Canatara, Chamney said, but theyll all be made accessible and inclusive spaces.

    The initial timeline for the accessibility projects collectively was in 2018 estimated at three to 15 years, depending on funding availability.

    Accessibility upgrades are also being worked out for the nearby Canatara bandshell.

    Rotary officials with Rotary clubs of Sarnia, Sarnia-Lambton After-Hours, and Sarnia-Bluewaterland said their contribution came from Trip of the Month lottery proceeds.

    The project was completed by Park N Play Design Company Ltd, and the design was vetted and endorsed by the clubs and the citys accessibility advisory committee.

    That design has also been awarded Playcore national designation for meeting best practices in youth fitness, and for promoting inclusive play and recreation.

    The new playground replaces one a plaque says the city and Sarnia-Bluewaterland club jointly opened in October 1994.

    That accessible structure was outdated as far as Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act standards, city officials said.

    A grand opening to celebrate the new structure and unveil a commemorative plaque is being eyed for the spring, Chamney said, thanking the Rotary clubs for helping make it possible.

    Landscaping and grass seeding in the area is also planned for the spring.

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    New accessible playground is the first of its kind for Sarnia - Sarnia and Lambton County This Week

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