Farming Smarter E-News

Sign Up For E-News

Get smarter - sign up to get Bug of the Month, Weed Wisdom, events & news

AAFC Cover Crops

Project Contact: Ken Coles

2017 – current

Abstract

Cover crops are an ever-growing trend throughout Prairie Canada, but little is known about the benefits and detriments this addition to our rotation can have on our fields. This project will evaluate cover crops to discover more about their viability, impact and benefits. By the end of this project, we hope to know:

  • If cover crops can grow reliably across a range of cover crop windows, and growing environments within the prairies
  • If crops grown in rotation with and without cover crops consistently had the same or different yields with identical inputs
  • Potential agronomic, environmental and economic benefits/drawbacks of including cover crops in crop rotations
  • If cover crops can increase soil microbial activity, nitrogen cycling, soil carbon or reduce N2O fluxes in the short to medium period
  • If the benefits of cover crops outweigh the cost of seed and establishment over the short and medium term.

Objectives

  • Figure out the potential for cover crop growth across a wide range of over crop windows and environments
  • Evaluate the reliability of cover crop establishment within annual crop rotations across a range of growing environments
  • Discover the impact of cover crops in crop rotations on crop yield and quality across a range of growing environments
  • Evaluate the impact of cover crops on soil health across a range of growing environments in Prairie Canada
  • Quantify the environmental impact of cover crops on N2O fluxes in three growing environments in Prairie Canada
  • Evaluate the economic costs and benefits to including cover crops in annual crop rotations across growing environments in Prairie Canada

Method

Locations: Carman, MB, Brandon, MB, Saskatoon, SK, Reddvers, SK, Lethbridge, AB

Treatments:

  • 4 year crop rotation with cover crops (fully phased)
  • 4 year crop rotation without cover crops (fully phased)
  • 2 year wheat-canola crop rotation check (fully phased)
  • Perennial crop check

Our crop rotation will be wheat, canola, durum and then pea.

 

 

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons