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Dr. Laura Van Eerd

Sustainable Soil Management


Ph.D. Plant Protection - University of Guelph
M.Sc. Plant Protection - University of Guelph
B.Sc. (Env.) Environmental Protection - University of Guelph

Research Interests:

My research program focuses on vegetable crop production systems looking at soil fertility, crop rotation, and cover crops. This research has the potential to benefit:

  1. the growers by maximizing economic returns,
  2. the government by insuring that current, accurate Ontario vegetable data are used in developing regulations, and
  3. the public by developing best management practices that reduce the detrimental environmental impact.

Complementary to this research and a minor component of my research program is evaluating the environmental impact of pest control products. Based on this research, growers can use this information in their decision making process to select pesticides with reduced environmental risk.

Recent or current projects include:

  • Minimizing nitrogen losses after harvest by applying high carbon soil amendments
  • Fall cover crops on processing tomato/snap beans/sweet corn yield, quality, pest pressure, nitrogen availability, and profit margins
  • Remote sensing imagery to detect N deficiency in vegetable production
  • Environmental impact of weed management
  • Influence of winter wheat management practices on subsequent processing tomato yield and quality

Cover Crop Selector Tool

Ontario has worked with the Midwest Cover Crop Council (MCCC) to develop a Cover Crop Decision Tool. Dr. Van Eerd was part of a team of cover crop experts including farmers, university researchers, Extension educators, crop advisors, and seed suppliers from Ontario to provide growers and agribusiness personnel with cover crop options for Ontario. The tool is designed to assist farmers and agribusiness personnel in selecting cover crops for field crop rotations based on their soil type, heat units and objectives (i.e. weed fighter, nitrogen builder, erosion control, etc.). Each cover crop has a profile, specific to Ontario conditions and management systems. The profile gives cover crop management information such as seeding rate and also outlines potential benefits and limitations, so growers can make informed decisions based on their operation.

Research Associates:

Sean Vink
Phone: 519-674-1500 x63607

Graduate Students & Post-Doc:

Mitchell MacFarlane
MSc Student
School of Environmental Sciences
Phone: 519-674-1500 x63133
Inderjot Chahal
Post-Doctoral Fellow
School of Environmental Sciences
Phone: 519-674-1500 x63296
SM Sayem
PhD Student
School of Environmental Sciences
Phone: 519-674-1500 x63296
Jessica Awrey
MSc Student
School of Environmental Sciences
Phone: 519-674-1500 x63296


I teach in the Environmental Management Diploma program at Ridgetown Campus. Courses include:

Recent Publications and Reports:

Edamame snap beans 2015 Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Two Ontario Legume Crops - Edamame snap beans

2015 Legume cover crops – minimizing nitrogen loss in the fall - red clover crimson clover alfalfa

2015 Cornell Soil Health Assessment as a possible soil health standard for Ontario. - long-term tillage and crop rotation

2013 Research Report 2014 Impact of Cover Crops and Field Corn Stover Removal on Squash Yield

2013 Long-term effects of tillage system and crop rotation on soil physical and chemical properties in a Brookston clay loam at Ridgetown, ON - Poster presented at the Soil Science Society of America AGM 2013

View the complete list of Dr. Laura Van Eerd's research reports on the Ridgetown Campus Research Reports page or scienttific publications on her Google Scholar page.

Page reviewed 11/11/2019