More tidbits on energy production in Ontario. - Two Far 2018 - Trailing through the Rust Belt - CycleBlaze

More tidbits on energy production in Ontario.

For the last couple of days we have seen lots of fairly small solar panel setups in the middle of farmers' fields. They are typically not near a house and look far to small for commercial power production. What could they be used for? Do they power irrigation systems?

What's up with these solar panels?
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When we saw a farmer next to a field of tobacco with one of the panels, we pulled over to see if he could enlighten us about the solar panels. I tend to think of tobacco as a southern crop, and this is about as far south as Canada gets, so I suppose tobacco fields should not raise any eyebrows. He said his family has been raising tobacco on this land for over 100 years. It's "black" tobacco, used for snuff or chewing, not for cigarettes. The tobacco is cured by smoking it, not by drying it.

Ontario tobacco is planted beginning in May. The government requires that it be planted no later than June 15. Harvest is around the beginning of September.

Tobacco in the deep South of Ontario.
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The farmer told us that Ontario is aggressively promoting solar power. If a farmer puts in one of these solar panels, the government buys power from the farmer at 18 cents per kw hour, then sells it at a loss at the market rate of about 12 cents per kw hour. He thought it was a misguided policy, but went ahead and took the deal.

We forgot to ask why the panels are so small. Why not put in 500 acres of panels? I guess there must be a limit on how much power an individual farmer can produce at the highly subsided rate.

We asked the farmer if he had any wind turbines on his fields. Yes, five of them. And did vibrations from the turbines cause any issues with water for his household use, or for water he used for irrigation?

He explained that each of his five turbines rested on a massive foundation of 75 truckloads of cement. Such foundations cause no vibration problems. 

A cheaper foundation can be built by driving piles into the ground. Those turbines were the ones that were thought to cause issues with water wells. The farmer added that there were none of the pile based turbine foundations near his farm, so he personally didn't know anyone with water well issues.

I guess cement manufacturers love wind energy. Ontario doesn't waste any cement or asphalt on paving the shoulders of roads, so this gives them something to do with their excess cement.

We observed a corn field in which every 5th row had tassels and none of the other rows had tassels. I assume the lucky corn with tassels got to pollinate all the other corn to create hybrid seeds.

Nearby some of the rows in a tobacco field were marked with pink flags. Were these rows of tobacco singled out to create hybrid seeds?

Not all the corn gets to keep it's tassels.
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What's so special about the rows marked with pink flags?
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We stopped for a break at an old eight sided dairy barn that had been converted into a restaurant. Today they were baking cherry pies, but they had a leftover apple/raspberry pie from yesterday for half price. I went for the vintage apple/raspberry and was not disappointed.

In the 1880s cows were coming here for meals. Now hungry cyclists are showing up.
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The roof is still solid. You would have a hard time finding lumber like that these days.
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We encountered two types of apple orchards today. One had old school style trees, the other had trees that were prunned almost like grape vines.

Old school apple trees.
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Old school apples.
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New fangled apple trees.
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Onions being harvested. The rows in front are already out of the ground.
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