Cover crops combat soil erosion while improving soil quality.
Use of cover crops has been increasing throughout the Prairies, but little is known about their benefits & detriments.
A Farming Smarter project is investigating how to incorporate cover crops in the fall season. Our strategy is to implement them within crop rotations.
We're using a variety of crops such as canola, peas, durum, and spring wheat. This week, we will harvest the durum plots to make way for radish plots!
Our peas have been harvested; we will plant winter peas and wild oats in their place.
The canola & spring wheat are almost ready for harvest. Once harvested, we'll be planting lentils in place of our canola and red clovers to replace the spring wheat.
"There was trouble establishing some of these cover crops due to moisture-limited conditions earlier this year," said Dr. Gurbir Dhillon, Farming Smarter Research Scientist. "This year's heat will provide us with valuable data into how cover crops establish & perform in these conditions."
This project compares the cover crop rotations with plots without cover crops. The study, led by Dr. Yvonne Lawley at the University of Manitoba, looks at the use of cover crops on the prairies.
Our Lethbridge cover crop trial is one of five sites. The study has two in Saskatchewan and two in Manitoba. By the end of this project, we hope to know if cover crops can reliably grow across the prairies in a variety of growing environments and windows. Additionally, we would like to know if crops grown in rotation with and without cover crops had any difference in yield with identical inputs.
If you would like to learn more about the cover crop project, check out:
Our Cover Crop Project Page
Dr. Gurbir Dhillon's Plot Hop Presentation