The economic value of growing cover crops

Not all of the economic benefits of cover crops can be measured easily, but it’s worth a try

The first question that comes up when cover crops are discussed is “Do they pay?” Net returns from cover crops will be determined by what goals were set, what species were grown and other intrinsic benefits from the cover crop. In any business, net profit is the difference between costs and revenue. The two ways […] Read more


Soybeans

On the farm: the 2016 crop year in review

Every year is different on Kevin Elmy's farm. This year: cover crops, soybeans and rain

The good thing about farming is two years are rarely alike. 2016 started out a bit on the dry side, with close to ideal subsoil moisture. The occasional May shower did not delay seeding much. About 20 per cent of our acres were seeded in the fall of 2015 to Luoma winter triticale, which helped reduce the spring […] Read more



Cover crops for better soil health

Cover crops can help build the “livestock” that lives in the soil and improves productivity

It appears that the idea of farmers improving the soil is starting to take hold. The Western Canadian Soil Health Conference was held in Edmonton, Alberta, the first part of December 2015. Nora Paulovich and Tom Fromme, co-chairs on the organizing committee, did a wonderful job pulling speakers together and organizing it. It started at […] Read more


tractor working a field

Cover cropping basics

There are lots of reasons to plant cover crops. 
Here’s some practical information to get yours started

With the decline of grain prices and the rising profit in livestock markets, there are more questions on using cover crops in both grain and livestock operations. What species to use? What seeding rates? Fertilizer requirements? When to seed? How to manage? How to terminate? Is there anything to “harvest”? 1. Setting a goal The first […] Read more



flooded farmland

Friendly Acres’ 2014 wrap up

Regular Grainews contributor Kevin Elmy sums up 2014 at his east-central Saskatchewan farm

I am tired of rubber boots. This was Year 5 of well-above-growing-season rainfall. May started off with lots of water. The plan was to seed soybeans, grazing corn, a grain corn trial, brown mustard, spring triticale and cover crops. By the end of May, we had seeded 600 acres of soybeans, 1/3 of an acre […] Read more


3-D fence graphic

Defend against deer with a 3-D fence

When tried and true methods just don’t work, a 3-D fence can keep deer out

With the increasing number of grain bags in the countryside, deer have learned that there is a feast waiting for them in grain bags. Once a bag is opened, other animals join the buffet. Never mind what gets eaten, but storage losses from moisture entering the bags, excreta, downgrading factors and foreign material add up […] Read more



Our corn grazing in 2013

Kevin Elmy’s been experimenting with varieties for corn grazing

Like the last few years, our 2013 corn year started behind the eight ball. The winter of 2012 posed some seed logistics challenges. Some varieties had seed supply issues, seed size options were limited, new varieties were available but without local trials. These issues added to seasonal stress. Then, for us, snow and rain delayed […] Read more


Cover crops becoming more popular

With our short growing season, we have several options for cover crops in Western Canada. Kevin Elmy’s been trying some new ones on his farm

Across the United States, cover crops have been increasing in popularity. Between drought, delayed seeding, the high cost of putting the crop in, long growing season, high levels of inputs and leaching concerns, cover crops are taking hold. 
 Most farmers planting cover crops are finding fewer nutrients in water run off, less erosion, less […] Read more



Planters for corn grazing

When we started growing corn for grazing, we used our airseeder. We thought, “It’s just corn seed for grazing.” 
 Basically, at first we were just trying to see if corn grazing was something that fit for us. After five years of successful corn production, the question we started asking was, “Is a planter necessary?” […] Read more


2012 in review

One could almost call the 2012 production year a swing of extremes. From excess rainfall early in the season to nothing in the second half, each provided its own challenges. As the saying goes, we are only six weeks away from a drought.
 Spring seeding
 We did get seeding a bit earlier than last year. […] Read more