- A. Hayes, OMAF, Ridgetown, Ont.; L. Cruickshank, OMAF, Brantford,
Ont.; B. Kennedy, T. Taylor, OMAF, Guelph, Ont.; H. Lammers-Helps,
Soil and Water Conservation Information Bureau, University of Guelph,
Guelph, Ont.; B. Lovell, OMAF, Woodstock, Ont.; K. Reid, OMAF, Walkerton,
Download / View Final Report [339 KB pdf]
Completed: March, 1993
The Soil and Water Environmental Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
To reduce phosphorous loading in the Lake Erie basin by 200
tonnes per year by 1990, from non-point agricultural cropland
To maintain or improve the productivity of southwestern Ontario
agriculture by reducing or arresting soil erosion and degradation.
The impetus for the program was the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water
Quality Agreement, calling for a reduction in phosphorous pollution
in the Lake Erie basin of 2000 tonnes per year.
Canada agreed to reduce phosphorous run-off by 300 tonnes per
year - 200 from agricultural cropland sources and 100 from industrial
and municipal sources by 1990.
The achievement of these reductions over five years would improve
water quality for drinking, recreation and fishing. Improved soil
conservation practices to reduce phosphorous run-off would benefit
farmers greatly in crop yield increases and in cost savings from
more efficient soil management.
In order to accomplish the program objectives, Canada and Ontario
carried out five year programs of co-ordinated and complementary
activities with farmers, farm and other organizations. These programs
were intended to build up a stock of technology that could be extended
to farmers now and in the future.
Technology Assessment Panel, Conservation Information Bureau
and Socio-Economic Evaluation
Technology Assessment Panel
Made up of leading soil and water specialists and farm community
representatives, the technology assessment panel was responsible
for assessing the suitability of soil conservation equipment
and cropping methods for Ontario farmers. The panel also assessed
research results from federal, provincial, university and private
Soil and Water Conservation Information
The Soil and Water Conservation Information Bureau was set
up to collect, catalogue, store and distribute technical data
on soil conservation. The bureau produced a newsletter for farmers,
set up several databases of soil and water information and helped
to organize the Innovative Farmers of Ontario - No-till, Ridge
till Workshop for four years.
Studies were funded to examine the impact of current programs
on the adoption of conservation technologies, and how these
programs could be improved.
Technology Evaluation and Development
Centred at Agriculture Canada's Harrow, Ontario, Research
Station, this project provided funding for the development,
adaption, evaluation and the opportunity for validation of new
or untested technology related to soil productivity and to phosphorus
and chemical movement from cropland to water systems. The areas
covered under soil productivity included soil and water conservation
cropping, conservation planting, conservation tillage equipment,
and soil drainage. Where possible, it was conducted with the
co-operation of farmers under commercial farm conditions.
Pilot Watershed Study
This program looked at the effectiveness of introducing comprehensive
soil and water conservation practices to the farms in a small
test watershed and comparing them to a control watershed. The
three paired watersheds were located in southwestern Ontario:
Kettle Creek, between St. Thomas and London; Pittock, north
of Woodstock; and Essex, just east of the town of Essex. Water
quantities were monitored by the
federal and provincial Environment ministries.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) enhanced
its existing soil and water program capability using SWEEP in three
ways: through local demonstrations, through technical assistance
and through soil and water conservation management incentives.
To promote wider adoption of proven soil and water conservation
technology, many soil and crop management demonstrations were implemented.
These demonstrations were mostly side-by-side
plots, comparing cropping rotations, and various tillage and
An additional demonstration project, called
Tillage 2000, was established on 30-40
farm sites for five years to examine the effects of conservation
tillage practices and crop rotations and provide data to shape these
practices for the year 2000.
Field level professional conservation advice was provided to
farmers by ministry staff with expertise in soils and crops, soil
conservation, soil and water engineering and farm management. OMAF
also assisted farmers in organizing field days demonstrating soil
and water conservation management practices, and workshops to discuss
A number of factsheets, videos and brochures were produced on
erosion control structures and conservation tillage.
To reduce phosphorous loading of water systems, financial incentives
were directed toward controlling the movement of water and sediment
from lands that are intensively cropped. Soil erosion in ditches
and on stream banks delivers sediment and phosphorous to the streams.
The five-year $25.5 million Ontario Soil
Conservation and Environmental Protection Assistance Program
(OSCEPAP) was made part of SWEEP and extended for two years to 1990
to operate for the full five years of the joint agreement. OSCEPAP
provided advice, demonstrations and grants to farmers on manure
management, erosion control and alternative cropping practices.
Future Research: ( ) indicates reviewers suggestion for priority, A - high, C - low.
The Technology Transfer Committee Research often provides information
which helps us to further our understanding of a particular situation.
Rarely is a large amount of money spent in one area of study. The
Soil and Water Environmental Enhancement Program (SWEEP) was able
to devote a sizeable amount of money to further our understanding
in the areas of soil movement/loss, soil conservation and water
The research components of SWEEP produced close to a hundred
reports. To most people that amount of paper is overwhelming. Often
research is written up in a report that sits on someone's shelf
and is not used because it takes too much time to read through the
report to find the useful information. The Technology Transfer Committee
(TTC) was formed to try to sift through the SWEEP reports and pull
out the useful information.
The TTC was formed by combining the staff resources of the Resources
Management Branch and the Plant Industry Branch of the Ontario Ministry
of Agriculture and Food (OMAF), then adding the Soil and Water Conservation
Information Bureau (SWCIB), the secretary of the Technology Assessment
Panel (TAP) and the Scientific Authority of the Technology Evaluation
and Development (TED) component of SWEEP. The goal of the committee
was to summarize each of the SWEEP reports and put them in a format
that was useful for extension staff, researchers and agribusiness.
Included on the format chosen were key words so the summaries
could be included in the SWCIB database. In addition to the summary
section a comments section was included to give the reviewer an
opportunity to combine his/her knowledge and experience with the
results of the study. It also allowed the reviewer to indicate what
parts of the study have direct practical application in the field.
Associated SWEEP and Land Stewardship Program Research were included
to direct the reader to other sources of information on the topic.
Future research was added because the committee thought that the
person reviewing a report would have a good idea if further research
was warranted in that area.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 11:33:10 AM