On-Farm Applied Research and Monitoring (ONFARM)

Building our understanding of beneficial management practices and their effect on soil health and water quality in Ontario.




Webinar: 2024 ONFARM Research Forum

Thursday, February 8th, 2024

For more information about the Forum, read the Summary Report


The On-Farm Applied Research and Monitoring (ONFARM) program is a nine-year applied research initiative that supports soil health and water quality research on farms across Ontario.

The program is currently funded by the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative. Developed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), ONFARM builds on work accomplished under the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative’s (GLASI) Priority Sub-watershed Project with an expanded emphasis on soil health. The program encompasses a range of activities, including rigorous monitoring of soil health and water quality on working farms across the province and examining the effectiveness of different agricultural beneficial management practices (BMPs) through paired trials and how they impact soil health, water quality and productivity.

With the success of ONFARM’s initial phase from 2019-2023, the program has recently been renewed for continuation through 2028.

The program’s renewal will allow for the continued collection of critical data supporting BMP outcomes from the long-term soil health trial and edge-of-field water quality monitoring sites. This will enable a deeper understanding of the impacts of BMPs, such as cover cropping and organic amendment application, and the novel soil health indicators being tested.

Additionally, the program’s extension aims to uncover insights into how these BMPs support good soil-water dynamics for crop resilience and learn more about how profitability and site-specific agronomy can support farmers’ management decisions.

Program Goals

Soil Health

Evaluate novel soil health indicators and test BMPs through continued paired plot trials at 23 sites across Ontario.

Water Quality

Study impacts of BMPs on in-field soil-water dynamics and water quality.


Engage with farmers and stakeholders to transfer knowledge on BMP implementation and impact.


Monitoring Soil Health with ONFARM

Want to take a closer look at ONFARM data?

ONFARM trial sites across Southern and Eastern Ontario are sampled yearly to monitor soil health indicators and compare the impact of BMPs, including cover cropping, organic amendment application and reduced tillage. The result is a significant dataset reflective of Ontario’s wide range of farming operations, soil types, topography, and climate.

The Data Dashboards are a public space to access the ONFARM data and results. Users can explore well-known soil health measurements such as organic matter alongside more novel indicators, like Solvita CO2-Burst and active carbon, to see how relationships between indicators may change over time or by BMP treatment. Users can also compare soil samples from their own farms to see how their soil health might compare to other farms in the region or across Ontario.

Explore the Data Dashboards

Soil Health Indicator Comparison Tool

Discover the range and variability of standard and novel soil health indicators across different operations, soil types, topography, and climates.

Cover Crop Data Comparison Tool

See how different cover crop implementations succeeded or struggled based on the results from ONFARM’s agronomic monitoring.

BMP Site and Trial Data Comparison Tool

Compare ONFARM sites and trials by operation type, tillage practices, planting method, cover crop composition and more.

Technical Reports

The ONFARM Soil Health and Water Quality Technical Reports are released at the end of each program year.  The objective of these reports was to summarize the program and the BMPs that were monitored, describe the agronomic, soil health, and water quality data collected, and highlight results from the trials.

Stay up-to-date!

Join the OSCIA Research and Knowledge Transfer mailing list for updates on ONFARM activities, events, results and more! 

Do you have questions about ONFARM?


Funding Statement

The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) is a five-year (2023-2028), $3.5-billion investment by federal‐provincial and territorial governments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation, and resiliency of the agriculture, agri‐food and agri‐based products sector. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by the provinces and territories.

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