GFM Network News

Researcher Lana Shaw says intercrop researchers are finding 
crop combinations that are economically beneficial.

Intercropping research catching up

Researchers are taking a look at the intercropping combinations farmers are trying at home

When most farmers think about intercropping, peas and canola come to mind, which has to date probably been the most common pairing for an intercrop system. But research by Lana Shaw at the South East Research Farm (SERF) in Redvers, Sask., has shown that other combinations — like chickpeas and flax or mustard and lentils […] Read more

Some researchers have found that the land equivalent ratio is greater with crops grown together than with crops grown individually.

The science behind intercropping

When plants can share nutrients, they can yield higher together than separately

Just as the adoption of no-till agriculture on the Prairies several decades ago was farmer-driven, the current shift to ecological (sometimes called regenerative) agricultural practices is no different, says Dr. Martin Entz of the University of Manitoba. “In this fascinating carbon world, we’re now moving beyond just crop rotation and beyond just grazing management all […] Read more

Cover crop growing after harvest.

Why didn’t my cover crop work?

Kevin Elmy lists nine potential causes of things that could go wrong when you try growing cover crops on your farm

Ever try something and it didn’t work the first time? What’s the next step? Try again doing the same thing, modify the approach or give up? Ideally, getting a mentor or someone with experience to find out what went wrong will help create a successful situation. Or maybe it just doesn’t work. Cover cropping is […] Read more

Insuring intercrops in Manitoba

Manitoba farmers can now insure intercrops and also get incentives to grow them

In response to requests from producers for some kind of insurance on unconventional crops such as quinoa or multi-species crops like intercrops, Manitoba Agricultural Insurance Corporation (MASC) has introduced a new insurance product for what it calls ‘novel crops.’ At a recent intercropping workshop at Brandon in November, Robert Manastyr spoke on behalf of MASC […] Read more

Research plots in 2017 looking at nitrogen and phosphorus interactions.

Worried about pea disease? Try peaola

Intercropping peas and canola can minimize disease and lower production costs

With international pea processor Roquette opening a plant in Portage la Prairie, Man., in 2020, many growers will be thinking about taking advantage of the opportunity. Some, however, will be worried about one of the biggest challenges of growing peas: disease. There may be a solution, though. Researchers and experimental farmers are finding answers in […] Read more

Soybean and flax intercrop example.

Reducing inputs through intercropping

In Part 2 of a 2-part series, a panel of farmers discuss the benefits of intercropping

Many producers who adopt intercrops and cover crops are looking to increase soil and plant health and reduce the need for inputs such as synthetic fertilizers. That effect often becomes clearer the longer they manage the system. The three producers on a panel at an Intercropping Workshop in Brandon, Man., last November shared how they […] Read more

Is it possible to do a better job with less land?

Intercropping lets farmers do more with less

Intercropping helps farmers increase profits on fewer acres. Part 1 of a 2-part series

It’s interesting how many farmers adopting regenerative agricultural practices, like intercropping and cover crops, are either downsizing their operations, thinking about downsizing or have taken the pressure off in terms of looking for more high-priced land to expand (either to buy or rent). The three producers on a panel at an Intercropping Workshop in Brandon, […] Read more

Four ways to increase your organic matter

A question that I hear a lot is, “How do cover crops fit into a grain operation?” Lots of grain farmers have no desire to get into the livestock business and no interest in producing hay. But many have some soil issues that need to be addressed. This can be done by buying more iron […] Read more

The green crop on the left is a chickpea monocrop still flowering on August 31. On the right is intercrop that is more ripe and not flowering.

Ins and outs of intercropping

Intercropping researcher Lana Shaw shares tips and tricks for successful intercropping

You can’t convince farmers to use long rotations if they are losing money on some of those crops, says Lana Shaw, research manager of South East Research Farm at Redvers, Sask. Nor is it good enough to only have one or two profitable crops in a region. The industry needs to find a way to […] Read more