2019 Organic Agriculture Research Forum

Video presentations from 2019 Organic Agriculture Research Forum. Topics include cover crops, farm resilience, soil health, tillage, and more!

Tags: Production Practices, Research

Saskatchewan Provincial Survey Organic Agriculture Research Priorities

Regina (November 12, 2019) SaskOrganics surveyed its members to learn basic information about organic producers in Saskatchewan and their research needs in order to enhance their organic production. The Saskatchewan Provincial Organic Agriculture Research Priorities Report describes the most pressing research needs from organic producers’ perspective and makes recommendations regarding the future research focus in organic production.Dunling Wang PhD PAg, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture’s Alternative Cropping Systems Specialist and Chair of the SaskOrganics’ Research Committee said “the survey was a very successful joint venture between SaskOrganics and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. Close to twenty per cent (20%) of the organic producers in the province participated in the survey demonstrating their support for the initiative.”

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Organic Standards, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices, Research

Manitoba Organic Regulations and Resources

Organic farming is an integrated system of farming based on ecological principles. Whether you're new to farming or are planning to transition from conventional production, there is a steep learning curve. Give yourself plenty of time to learn about building soil fertility and alternative methods for managing weeds and pests. The resources in the sections that follow will help you get started, but be prepared to do lots of reading and talking to organic farmers as you build your confidence and skills.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Organic Standards

Spring Seeding: Starting the Growing Season Off Right

Anne Kirk presents 'Starting the Season Off Right' at the Manitoba Organic Alliance's Spring Seeding Workshop on April 2nd, 2019. Presentation includes variety selection, seeding dates, seeding rates and early season weed control.

Tags: Production Practices

Organic Food Processing In Canada – State of the Industry 2018

This report published by COTA examines for the first time, the health of the Canadian organic food and beverage processing sector. It provides detailed analysis of the key food subsectors including sales, trends and key players while outlining the challenges that food processors face that are related to organic standards.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices, Research

Cover Crop in Organic Systems

This document provides an overview of how the NRCS Cover Crop (340) conservation practice can be implemented on organic operations. It discusses different purposes for the practice's use, design considerations, and how installation might differ in organic systems. Specifically, it outlines techniques and specifications to help NRCS conservationists and partners meet the requirements of the NRCS Cover Crop (340) practice standard and comply with USDA National Organic Program regulations.

Tags: Production Practices

On-Farm Trials

Jordan Karpinchik presents ‘On-Farm Trials’ at the Manitoba Organic Alliance’s Spring Seeding Workshop on April 2nd, 2019. Presentation includes considerations for setting up on-farm trials, data collection and tools to help farmers set up their own trials.

Tags: Production Practices

Designing Rotations to Feed Organic Crops

Dr. Martin Entz presents ‘Designing Rotations to Feed Organic Crops’ at the Manitoba Organic Alliance’s Spring Seeding Workshop on April 2nd, 2019. Presentation includes understanding nutrient management, reducing tillage, green manures and livestock integration.

Tags: Production Practices

Prairie Organic Grain Initiative Final Evaluation

With the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative coming to a close, an evaluation of the program and it's effectiveness has been released.

Tags: Research

Organic Agriculture by the Numbers 2018 Data

Every year the Canada Organic Trade Association releases estimates of the number of Canadian organic operations and the amount of certified acreage across the country. In 2018, there were nearly 7, 300 certified organic operations in Canada!

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices, Research

Organic Agriculture in the Prairies: 2018 Data

Canada Organic Trade Association’s latest report shows continued growth of Prairie organic acreage and operations in 2018. This is the fifth report on Prairie organic operations and acreage published by the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) and commissioned by the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative.

Tags: Research

Fact Sheet: Do You Have Questions?

Organic farmers, those transitioning to organic production, and those who are just curious: a resource is available to answer questions and to help you explore options. Pivot and Grow's 'Ask and Expert' phone line (1-800-245-8341) offers farmers and opportunity to ask questions about everything from organic certification requirements to green manure options, from how to find local organic farmers to how to control Canada thistle, from designing rotations to finding a certifier.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Organic Standards, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices

Alberta Organic Products Regulations

As of April 1, 2019, any product sold or labeled as organic must be certified through a third-part certification body. This website will give you information on the Supporting Alberta's Local Food Sector Act and the Alberta organic certification regulations.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Organic Standards

British Columbia Organic Certification

As of September 1, 2018, the term “organic” is now a protected label within British Columbia for agricultural products that have been produced or processed in British Columbia, and for which certified organic programs exist. Learn about organic certification and marketing in British Columbia with this resource.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Organic Standards

Organic No-Till: Rural Routes to Climate Solutions Podcast

Organic no-till crop production is a bit of a holy grail in agriculture. If you are an organic crop producer, you usually have to till to fight off weeds. If you are a no-till crop producer, you usually have to spray because of weed pressure. But what if you could have the best of both worlds: build soil carbon and not have to spray? It may seem like a pipe dream, but there are producers and researchers working on this right now. Listen to Keith Bamford of the University of Manitoba and grain producers Justin Duban of Lethbridge and James Bozarth of Sexsmith as they discuss their experiments with organic no-till crop production.

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Canadian Organic Growers Guide to the Canadian Organic Standards

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Organic Standards, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices, Research

10 Tips to Avoid a Barn Fire

Learn how you can avoid a barn fire with these tips.

Tags: Business Management, Processing & Distribution

OFRF-funded Research Supports the Creation of a Nutrient Budget Tool for Organic Grain Farmers

This report outlines how the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative and the University of Manitoba educated farmers on the proper use of green manures and developed a tool specifically designed to measure the nutrient needs of organic farms. In addition, the project addressed the lack of robust organic extension services in the region by training local agronomists in organic green manure practices.

Tags: Business Management, Production Practices, Research

The State of Organics: Federal-Provincial-Territorial Performance Report 2018

Following up on COTA's highly touted The State of Organics: Federal-Provincial-Territorial Performance Report 2017, we released our second State of Organics report, with important updates from our benchmark study.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices, Research

Organic Transition and Production Web Tool (French)

This Web tool was produced by the Union des producteurs agricoles, in collaboration with the Quebec Reference Center for Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Center for Expertise and Transfer in Organic and Local Agriculture, to inform agricultural producers on the transition to organic farming. The development of the content of this tool was carried out with the collaboration of the members and partners of the Organic Production Development Table, experienced farmers in organic farming, agricultural professionals, representatives of organizations and companies with an expertise in organic farming. VirageBio is a complementary tool to those that already exist and does not replace the professional coaching services offered by counselors. VirageBio makes no agronomic recommendation, but aims to enlighten agricultural producers in this growing sector in Quebec.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Production Practices

Rural Routes to Climate Solutions Podcast

Podcast topics include: - Cows and Climate Change - On Farm Solar Alberta - Farming with Biodiversity - Farmer Co-ops 101 - How Organics Fight Climate Change - and more!

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices, Research

Organic Agriculture in Alberta: 2017 Statistics

Organic Alberta is pleased to announce the release of the 2017 Organic Agriculture in Alberta Statistics Report. With data provided by certification bodies and the Canada Organic Trade Association, this report shows an increase in organic operations and acreage in Alberta.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices, Research

Free the Seed! Podcast

This podcast is for anyone interested in the plants we eat – farmers, gardeners, and food-curious folks – who want to dig deeper into the story of where their food comes from. It’s about how new crop varieties make it into your seed catalogues, and onto your tables.

Tags: Production Practices

Organic Agriculture in the Prairies: 2017 Data

The Prairie Organic Grain Initiative (POGI) is pleased to announce the release of the 2017 Organic Agriculture in the Prairies Report. Organic certification bodies across Canada provided 2017 operation and acreage data to the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA), who in turn compiled, analyzed, and produced the report, with support and insights from POGI and sector experts.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices, Research

ATTRA Biosecurity Basics Tipsheet for Pastured Poultry

By Kevin Ellis, Agriculture Specialist By implementing simple biosecurity measures on their farms, producers can reduce the risk of disease outbreaks dramatically. What Is Biosecurity and Why Is It Important? Promoting Health in the Brooder Maintaining Health on Pasture Managing Feed and Contact with Wildlife Controlling Foot Traffic Environmental Factors to Prevent Disease What to Do If the Flock Gets Sick Further Resources

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ATTRA Biosecurity for Pasture and Organic Poultry Webinar

Recording of webinar with NCAT/ATTRA Poultry Specialist Kevin Ellis to learn about proactive steps you can take to increase biosecurity on your farm by planning ahead of your chicks' arrival and through day-to-day management. Topics to be covered in this webinar include biosecurity, setting goals, flock sourcing, equipment, housing designs, and poultry health.

Tags: Production Practices

Organic Agriculture in the Prairies: 2016 Data

The Prairie Organic Grain Initiative (POGI) is pleased to announce the release of the 2016 Organic Agriculture in the Prairies Report. Organic certification bodies across Canada provided 2016 operation and acreage data to the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA), who in turn compiled, analyzed, and produced the report, with support and insights from POGI and sector experts.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices, Research

Canadian Organic Standards – General Principles and Management Standards

Organic production is a holistic system designed to optimize the productivity and fitness of diverse communities within the agro-ecosystem, including soil organisms, plants, livestock and people. The principal goal of organic production is to develop operations that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.This document describes the principles and management standard of organic production systems.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Organic Standards, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices, Research

Canadian Organic Standards – Permitted Substances List

This document provides lists of substances that are allowed for use in organic production systems. As is the case for all products sold in Canada, organic inputs—such as, but not limited to, fertilizers, feed supplements, pesticides, soil amendments, veterinary treatments, processing additives or aids, sanitizing and cleaning material—and products derived from organic agriculture, such as, but not limited to, feed and food, should comply with all applicable regulatory requirements.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Organic Standards, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices, Research

Filing a complaint on CFIA website

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has added a section to the website of the Canada Organic Regime OR Standards– File a complaint related to the Canada Organic Regime (COR). For any product sold in Canada with a suspected fraudulent organic claim, complaints can be filed against the operator (company) holding certification under the COR scope, CFIA-designated Conformity Verification Bodies (CVB), CFIA-accredited Certification Bodies (CB), and the Canada Organic Regime (COR) team.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Organic Standards

Manitoba Organic Seed Cleaners

A list of custom seed cleaning and grain drying services for organic growers in Manitoba. Updated April, 2018.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices

Assuring Crop Quality

Cleaning your grain can go a long way to improving your crop for sale by removing weeds, off colours and any other material. It improves its storage life and can also be beneficial in storing your grain for use as seed. Learn how to maintain food quality in storage.

Tags: Production Practices

Managing Weeds

It’s true that weed management is probably the biggest challenge faced by organic producers. While an organic field will never be 100% weed-free, the organic approach involves a suite of techniques to prevent weeds from adversely affecting crop yields. Learn how to live with weeds!

Tags: Production Practices

Building Soil Fertility

It all starts with building healthy soil. Successful organic farming is based on using carefully planned multi-year crop rotations and boosting soil organic matter with green manuring and adding compost. Learn how to build the fertility of your soil.

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Designing Crop Rotations for Weed and Fertility Management

Planning multi-year crop rotations is part of effectively managing weeds and building soil fertility in an organic system. Learn how to design a system that works for you.

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Green Manure Tool Kit

A one stop resource for everything on Green Manures. From choosing a green manure to management strategies to weed management. Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada, 2017.

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Fact Sheet: Intercropping

Fact sheet by Brenda Frick and Joanna MacKenzie on how to increase diversity through intercropping. English and French documents available.

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Fact Sheet: Rotations

Fact sheet by Brenda Frick on designing a system that works for you. English and French documents available.

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Fact Sheet: Cultural Practices

Fact sheet by Brenda Frick on giving the crop the advantage including choosing a cultivar and seeding rates. English and French documents available.

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Fact Sheet: Living with Weeds

Fact Sheet by Brenda Frick on putting weeds into an ecological context. English and French documents available.

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Biotic potential can be used to control grasshoppers

By paying careful attention to our plant selections in grasshopper-prone areas, we can reduce grasshopper populations without relying on insecticides. Brenda Frick, Western Producer. 2003

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Organic methods for tackling grasshoppers

This article provides information on the grasshopper cycle, and offers solutions to keep organic farmers one step ahead. Brenda Frick, Western Producer. 2003

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Making a case for perennial grains

Learn about the development of perennial grains in North America. Brenda Frick, Western Producer. 2008

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Seeds of Diversity

Canadian charitable organization dedicated to the conservation, documentation and use of public-domain non-hybrid plants of Canadian significance.

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Breeding for Organic Production

Breeding efforts specifically targeting organic conditions are likely to benefit organic producers, offering them varieties that better suit their needs. Brenda Frick, Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. 2008

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Hairy Vetch for Cover Cropping in Organic Farming

Learn how to incorporate hairy vetch into organic production for the benefit of weed suppression and soil conditioning. Adapted from: Clark, A. (ed.) 2007. Managing cover crops profitably. 3rd ed. National SARE Outreach Handbook Series

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Rodale Institute: Roller Crimper

This site demonstrates the potential for a front-mounted roller-crimper to save time, lower costs and improve sustainability.

Tags: Production Practices

What is “Organic No-till,” and Is It Practical?

Since the advent of no-till in conventional row crop production, soil conservation and improvement aspects of no-tillage systems have attracted the interest of some organic farmers. The big question, of course, is how to do it without synthetic herbicides. Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming. 2010

Tags: Production Practices

Design of an organic farming crop rotation experiment

A Danish field experiment is conducted which focuses on crop rotations for cereal production in organic farming. The objective of the experiment is to explore the possibilities for both short-term and long-term increases in organic cereal production through manipulation of crop rotation design on different soil types. Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, 2004

Tags: Production Practices

OACC Website – Field Crops – Weed Control

Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada's up-to-date database on weed management articles.

Tags: Production Practices

Twelve Steps Toward Ecological Weed Management in Organic Vegetables

Ecological weed management begins with careful planning of the cropping system to minimize weed problems, and seeks to utilize biological and ecological processes in the field and throughout the farm ecosystem to give crops the advantage over weeds. Article by Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming

Tags: Production Practices

Mulching for Weed Management in Organic Vegetable Production

This article examines uses, advantages, and limitations of different mulching systems for weed control in organic vegetable production. Extension 2015.

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Beyond Black Plastic: Cover crops and organic no-till for vegetable production

This report addresses the impacts of different mulch systems on soil quality and fertility, weed control, yields and waste production, and profitability for small to mid-size vegetable operations. Rodale Institute, June 2014.

Tags: Production Practices

Organic Weed Management Topics

A list of online articles on organic weed management compiled by USA land-grant universities.

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Organic Grain Buyers

A list of Prairie organic grain buyers.

Tags: Marketing

Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada

The accurate identification of pests, the damage they cause, and their natural enemies is one of six elements of a sound Integrated Pest Management approach to manage pest populations. This field guide from Ag and Agrifood Canada is designed to help you apply this element to make more informed decisions to control important harmful insects and mites of field and forage crops in Western Canada.

Tags: Production Practices

MSU organic farming study finds diverse benefits using sheep

Using sheep, rather than traditional farming equipment to manage fallow and terminate cover crops may enable organic farmers to save money, reduce tillage, manage weeds and pests, and reduce the risk of soil erosion, according to Montana State University and North Dakota State University researchers. 2015

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Relocation of Livestock Facilities Planning Guide

This publication was developed to assist producers in identifying the environmental risks associated with their current livestock facilities, helping them determine how to mitigate the risks and steps to consider when relocating facilities. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. 2015

Tags: Processing & Distribution, Production Practices

Drought Management for Beef Producers

The Beef Cattle Research Council has pulled together a very extensive list of resources to help beef producers and their herds get through the drought

Tags: Production Practices

Organic Dairy Production Extension Resources

Topics include: Introduction to Organic Dairy Farming, Transition to Organic Dairy, Organic Dairy Cropping Systems, Grazing Management on Organic Farms, Herd Health on Organic Dairy Farms, Milk Quality on Organic Dairy Farms and Organic Dairy Producer Profiles.

Tags: Processing & Distribution, Production Practices

Evaluation of Herbal Remedies as Alternatives to Antibiotic Therapy in Dairy Cattle

A report from a Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education project demonstrates that organic medicinal treatments for livestock can be just as effective as conventional treatments.

Tags: Production Practices

Organic Poultry Production: A Good Fit for Your Farm?

Article on organic poultry production by Tracy Salisbury and Brenda Frick. Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. 2010

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Organic Livestock Handbook 2nd Edition (book)

Authors Laura Telford and Anne Macey, have fully revised the 2nd edition of the Organic Livestock Handbook to reflect the Canadian Organic Standards and latest research on organic livestock production. You will find details on production practices as well as tips and techniques for transitioning to organic. Contact Organic Alberta to order a copy.

Tags: Business Management, Production Practices

Processing Organic Meat

If processing is performed as a service to an organic livestock producer, there are two options for maintaining organic integrity. Organic Value Chain Round Table. Revised July 2014

Tags: Processing & Distribution

It’s Not Too Early to Think of Seed Cleaning

The Western Producer. 2009 By Tracy Salisbury and Brenda Frick

Tags: Processing & Distribution, Production Practices

Fact Sheet – From Harvest to Storage: Maintaining food quality in storage

Article focuses on strategies producers take to ensure food quality. English and French documents available.

Tags: Processing & Distribution, Production Practices

With the Grain: A closer look at the nutrient quality of grain, grain-based products, and the role of organic agriculture

An in depth study on organic grain quality. The Organic Centre. 2012

Tags: Processing & Distribution, Production Practices

Intercropping Webpage – Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada

Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC) provides scientific and practical articles on intercropping.

Tags: Production Practices

Chickpea Flax Intercropping. Saskatchewan Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies, Final Report

The objective is to determine if flax can stress chickpeas enough to hasten seed set and maturity and/or act as a barrier to disease spread in chickpea. This demonstration compared desi and kabuli chickpea and flax as a monocrop to chickpea and flax as an intercrop. Wheatland Conservation Area Inc. 2015

Tags: Production Practices

Ecological Farming Systems on the Canadian Prairies: A Path to Profitability, Sustainability and Resilience.

The objective of this paper is to evaluate a wide range of ecologically-based farming practices and systems for their potential role in enhancing the profitability, environmental sustainability, and resilience of cropping systems in the Canadian prairie provinces. Joanne Thiessen Martens, Martin Entz and Mark Wonneck. University of Manitoba. 2013

Tags: Production Practices

Availability of late-season heat and water resources for relay and double cropping with winter wheat in prairie Canada

Long-term weather data for 21 sites across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta were analyzed to evaluate the availability of late-season heat and water resources between time of winter wheat maturity and freeze-up. Article by: Joanne R. Thiessen Martens, Martin H. Entz. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 2005

Tags: Production Practices

Intercropping Field Pea Varieties for Organic Production.

The overall objective of this research was to establish the optimum ratio of leafed and semi-leafless field pea varietal mixtures for organic and conventional crop production. Saskatchewan Agriculture Development. 2013

Tags: Production Practices

Intercropping Chickpea with Flax. Saskatchewan Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies Research Report.

The objective of this project is to demonstrate that chickpeas can be grown in a non-traditional chickpea growing area, either in monocrop or when intercropped with flax. Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation. 2015.

Tags: Production Practices

Soil microbial communities and grain quality as affected by spring wheat cultivar and grain mixtures

Studies were carried out in 2005-2007 to evaluate the impact of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivar choice and crop polycultures on soil microbial communities in organic and conventional systems, and subsequent wheat quality. Thesis by Alison Gail Nelson, University of Alberta. 2011

Tags: Production Practices

Weed Management In Organic Crop Systems

Successful weed management in organic crop production systems requires an understanding of plant characteristics in relation to specific field conditions. This article serves to provide producers with a reference point from which they can plan crop rotations that are best suited for their individual situations. Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.

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How to make organic no-till work for field crops in Southern Manitoba?

Research article by Caroline Halde, Natural Systems Agriculture. 2013

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Agronomic Benefits of Intercropping Annual Crops in Manitoba

The objective of this study was to grow several important annual crops (wheat, canola, and field peas) as intercrops and to evaluate the benefits of growing these crops as intercrops as compared to monocrops. Systems Agriculture, University of Manitoba. 2004

Tags: Production Practices

Cultivar Mixtures, Cover Crops, and Intercropping with Organic Spring Wheat

This study evaluated wheat cultivar mixtures and intercrops with wheat to determine whether these added elements of diversity would provide benefits to organic wheat production and reduce levels of weeds and diseases. Natural Systems Agriculture. University of Manitoba. 2006

Tags: Production Practices

Organic food: what’s behind certification and organic logo?

Western Producer article on the organic food logo, labelling and certification.

Tags: Marketing

What’s in a label: for organics, the sky’s the limit

Western Producer article on the use of the term organic and labeling.

Tags: Marketing

Pasture cropping: An integrated approach to grain and pasture production

Pasture cropping is a farmer-initiated land management system that seamlessly integrates cropping with pasture production, and allows grain growing to function as part of a truly perennial agriculture. Permaculture Research Institute. 2012

Tags: Production Practices

Interest in Intercropping Increasing

Farmers and researchers finding success with intecropping. Brenda Frick, Western Producer. 2003

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OACC – Consumer Research: Behaviour and Marketing

OACC compiled list of consumer behaviour and marketing research in organics.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing

Understanding the Values and Beliefs of Canadian Organic Food Consumers

OACC article on a study of values and beliefs of organic food consumers.

Tags: Marketing

Do Mixed Variety Crops Have To Be A “Dog’s Breakfast”?

Learn how carefully planned mixture, with good harvestability and a good market can be an ideal crop for an unpredictable and variable environment. Article by Brenda Frick, featured in The Western Producer. 2005

Tags: Production Practices

Alberta Faba Bean Producers Manual

A manual providing current and tested information to growers about the production of fababeans. University of Alberta. 2013

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Optimizing the nitrogen supply of prairie organic agriculture with green manures and grazing

From 2008 to 2012 a series of field experiments were established to identify green manure species and management options to maximize N benefit to cash crops and explore the opportunities to reduce tillage during the green manure phase of an organic rotation. University of Manitoba. 2014

Tags: Production Practices

Pick Green Manures for Energy Efficient Nitrogen

Article by Brenda Frick the impact of green manures on soil nitrogen. Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. 2007

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Legume Green Manuring

An overview of using green manures including examples of use in different soil zones. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

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Green Manuring with Legumes

The benefits and draw backs of using legumes as a green manure. Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

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Soil Improvements With Legumes

Techniques and management strategies for using legumes in organic systems. Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

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Cover Cropping in Organic Systems webpage (eOgranic)

eOrganic maintains a list of research-based information on cover crops from America's land-grant universities.

Tags: Production Practices

Cover Crops and Green Manures in Organic Production (OACC webpage)

Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC) maintains up-to-date, online information (both scientific and practical) on cover crops and green manures in organic production.

Tags: Production Practices

Cover Crops in Canada Website

Cover Crops Canada "observes the rotational, biological, nutritional, and economical benefits of using of cover cropping in grain and livestock operations to reduce production and financial risk to producers".

Tags: Marketing, Production Practices

Cover Crops & Green Manures – Natural Systems Agriculture (webpage)

Website features articles and videos on Green Manures and Cover Crops, from Natural Systems Agriculture researchers with the University of Manitoba.

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Radishes – A New Cover Crop for Organic Farming Systems

After reading this article, you'll be able to make an informed decision about whether cover crop radishes are worth a try on your farm. E-Organic. 2016

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Seeded Legume Cover Crops for Late Season Production

A research trial was conducted at two locations to determine the feasibility of cover cropping in Manitoba. In this experiment, red clover and alfalfa were relay cropped with winter wheat and fall rye. Chickling vetch and black lentil were double cropped with winter wheat and fall rye. Natural Systems Agriculture. University of Manitoba, 2004

Tags: Production Practices

Legume cover crops with winter cereals in southern Manitoba: Fertilizer replacement values for oat

The objective of this study was to evaluate the fertilizer replacement values (FRV) of relay-cropped alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) and double-cropped chickling vetch (Lathryus sativus L.) and black lentil (Lens culinaris Medik. subsp. culinaris) to a subsequent oat (Avena sativa L.) crop. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 2001

Tags: Production Practices

Redesigning Canadian prairie cropping systems for profitability, sustainability, and resilience

Academic review of a wide variety of ecologically based crop production practices, including crop varieties and genetic diversity, crop selection and rotation, cover crops, annual polyculture, perennial forages, perennial grains, agroforestry systems, reducing tillage, use of animal manures and green manures, soil biological fertility, organic production systems, integrated croplivestock systems, and purposeful design of farm landscapes (farmscaping), and discuss their potential role in enhancing the profitability, environmental sustainability, and resilience of Canadian prairie cropping systems. University of Manitoba. 2015

Tags: Production Practices

Research in Weed Control for Organic Field Crops (OACC)

Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada compiled list of research in weed control in Organic field crops including: general weed management, cultural management, mechanized weed control, mowing & grazing, biological control, etc.

Tags: Production Practices

Improving Organic Weed Management

Dr. Eric Gallant, Weed Ecologist, of the University of Maine presents strategies for weed control at the Western Canadian Organic Webinar Series in 2014.

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Exploring Direct Seeding Options for Organic Grains

Research report comparing weed density in spelt fall-seeded on flax with mixed crop stubble into tilled or direct seeded plots. OACC. 2007

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Variety and Seeding Rate Effects on Competition in Organically Grown Spring Cereals

Research results comparing seeding rates of direct crop varieties on weed control. OACC. 2007

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Using Multiple Methods Key to Weed Control Success

Article discusses combining weed control strategies for maximum effectiveness. Western Producer. 2008

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Weed Management in Organic Crop Systems

Resource provides multiple weed management and avoidance techniques. Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.

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The Not So Lowly Carrot: Import Replacement Opportunities for Canadian Organic Producers

Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada article. Canada produces a lot of carrots and we also import a significant amount throughout the year, particularly from January to June before our own production is in full swing.

Tags: Marketing

Organic Vegetable Production Systems Topics

An eOrganic compliation of resources on vegetable production from certification to marketing to weed management and more.

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Manual: How to Breed Tomatoes for Organic Agriculture

This manual teaches farmers how to breed tomatoes for organic production systems, including step-by-step instruction for developing breeding goals, identifying breeding material, performing breeding methods, and maintaining a new variety for quality and uniformity.

Tags: Production Practices

Manual: How to Breed Sweet Corn for Organic Agriculture

This manual teaches farmers how to breed sweet corn for organic production systems, including step-by-step instruction for developing breeding goals, identifying breeding material, performing breeding methods, and maintaining a new variety for quality and uniformity.

Tags: Production Practices

Manual: How to Breed Carrots for Organic Agriculture

This manual teaches farmers how to breed carrots for organic production systems, including step-by-step instruction for developing breeding goals, identifying breeding material, performing breeding methods, and maintaining a new variety for quality and uniformity.

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Manual: Introduction to On-farm Organic Plant Breeding

This manual provides an overview of on-farm organic plant breeding methods, including an overview of basic genetics, farm-based experimental design, and appropriate breeding techniques for organic farms, among other useful background and instruction.

Tags: Production Practices

Webinar: Keeping your Seed Crops Healthy

Listen to this recorded webinar put on by the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security about keeping your Vegetable Seed Crops Healthy.

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Commercial Vegetable Production on the Prairies

A comprehensive resource and reference tool for new and experienced vegetable growers at all scales of commercial production. $20.00 To order, call 1-800-292-5697 (toll free in Canada) or 780-427-0391 (Edmonton area). Email: publications.office@gov.ab.ca. Website: www.agriculture.alberta.ca\publications

Tags: Business Management, Marketing, Processing & Distribution, Production Practices

Weed Management for Organic Producers

The purpose of the literature review was to summarize weed control literature relevant to organic producers, as a baseline for future research efforts. Report by Brenda Frick. Saskatchewan Organic Directorate. 1998

Tags: Production Practices

Book: Growing Strawberries Organically

Book published by the Canadian Organic Growers. Learn how to grow them with organic methods, building soil fertility and rotating with other crops to overcome pest, disease and weed challenges.

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Organic Fruit Production Systems

eOrganic compilation of research resources on fruit production. Includes articles, webinars and video clips.

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Canada CSA Farmer Discussion Group

Facebook group specifically for Canadian CSA farmers to share information on these topics and more.

Tags: Business Management, Marketing

OACC Research Resource – Organic Horticulture Production

Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada resources on: fruits, vegetables, potatoes, greenhouse production, ornamentals, pest and disease management, weed management, and economics.

Tags: Production Practices

The Plant’s Role in Soil Fertility

Dr. Diane Knight o the University of Saskatchewan presents material on the plant and soil relationship in this recorded webinar in 2014.

Tags: Production Practices

Soil microbial communities and grain quality as affected by spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivar and grain mixtures in organic and conventional management systems

Alison, Gail Nelson, University of Alberta. 2011

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Soil Microbial Interactions and Organic Farming

This resource explores the role of microorganisms, like bacteria, in creating healthy soil ecosystems that benefit organic farms. Organic Farming Research Foundation, 2016

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Natural Systems Agriculture Organic Crops Field Laboratory

The Organic Crops Field Laboratory was established in 2004 to provide a long-term site for plot-scale organic field crops research. The Laboratory is located at Carman Manitoba on the University of Manitoba's Carman Research Station

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Crop Rotations on Organic Farms: A Planning Manual

This manual provides an in-depth review of the applications of crop rotation-including improving soil quality and health, and managing pests, diseases, and weeds. SARE, 2009

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Designing Prairie Organic Farming Systems Using Nature’s Processes

A recorded webinar with Dr. Martin Entz on strategies for designing your organic farming system for Canadian Prairies. Recorded for the Western Canadian Organic Webinar Series in 2013.

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Systems Design for Organic Weed Management

A presentation given by Brenda Frick as part of the Organic Transition Workshop at the Manitoba Ag Days 2016

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Systems Design for Soil Fertility

Joanne Thiessen Martens, part of the Natural Systems Farming team at the University of Manitoba tells us what can be done to manage nutrients and soil fertility on organic farms in Manitoba. Presentation delivered Brandon, MB - January 21, 2016

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OACC – Extension Resources on Soil

Articles, factsheets and infosheets on composting, soil fertility and soil health.

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Crop rotation: the 19 year Glenlea study, MB

Article by Stuart McMillan the provides an overview of a long-term study on organic production Canadian Organic Growers. 2012

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Crop rotation key to increasing nutrient content of grains

Article by Joanne Thiessen Martens on benefits of crop rotation on nutrient content in organic grains. Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. 2008

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Increasing Soil Organic Matter in Organic Cropping Systems

Recorded webinar from 2015 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium with Stuart Grandy and Cynthia Kallenbach of the University of New Hampshire.

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Soil and Fertility Management in Organic Farming Systems

This article provides an overview of key concepts in organic fertility management, a review of essential macro and micronutrients, and a listing of nutrient amendments approved for use in organic farming systems. It summarizes strategies used to build and manage fertility on organic farms and provides tips on soil testing and use of nutrient budgets.

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Measures of Soil Biology and Biological Activity

Organic management focuses on soil management with the intent to maintain and enhance soil biological activity. There are a variety of ways that biological activity is measured in soils. Few, if any, of these measures are used routinely to test soils in the way that standard chemical assays are used.

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Design the Cropping System to Minimize Niches for Weed Growth

Article describes management practices that can minimize weed pressure in cereal and vegetable crops. Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming. 2011.

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Fertility status of organically managed fields

For modern organic farmers, particularly those involved in large scale operations, balancing the nutrients that leave the farm with those that are returned to the soil is an ongoing challenge. Recognizing this, Dr. Diane Knight and a team of researchers from the University of Saskatchewan, in partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, worked with 39 of Saskatchewan’s organic producers on 60 individual fields to determine which of four pre-determined organic management styles had the least impact on soil nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous and sulphur levels.

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Bacteria, fungi more numerous in organic soil systems

Western Producer article by Brenda Frick on soil biology.

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Mowing introduces reduced till to sweet clover termination

Farmers who want the benefits of sweet clover in a conservation tillage system will be encouraged by a new study from the Lethbridge Research Centre. Bob Blackshaw and his colleagues show that mowing can be an effective alternative to tillage for sweet clover termination.

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Organic producers eager for Canadian thistle control

Canada thistle has long been a thorn in the side of organic growers. In this article, producers discuss different strategies, as well as challenges. Article by Sean Pratt, Western Producer. 2010

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Suitability of legume cover crop-winter wheat intercrops on the semi-arid Canadian Prairies

R E Blackshaw, L J Molnar, J R Moyer, Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 2010

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Reducing tillage in organic agriculture on the Prairies

Researchers at the University of Manitoba are exploring the roller crimper as a way to reduce tillage in organic agriculture. Iris Vaisman, Western Producer. 2009

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As Above, So Below: Building Community in the Soil and in Agriculture

Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada article by Janine Gibson on soil communities.

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Keys to Phosphorus Management are Cycling and Recycling

Effective phosphorus (P) management on organic farms is based on two complementary approaches – recycling exported nutrients back into the system and helping crops access soil P and then cycling it back into the soil.

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Reducing Tillage with Sweetclover Green Manure

Producers may be able to “manage weeds with sweetclover in a reduced tillage system”, according to a new study out of the Lethbridge Research Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Article by Brenda Frick, Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. 2008

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Using multiple methods key to weed control success

In weed control, combining different strategies can bring excellent results. Organic producers rely on a variety of control techniques, such as varied rotations, heavy seeding rates and competitive crops. Research suggests that combining these techniques can pack an extra wallop. Western Producer, 2008

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Organic Pig Production

Article by Brenda Frick and Bert Dening, Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. 2009

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More seeds help controls weeds

Article explains the role of seed rate on weed pressure. Western Producer. 2008

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Where has all the phosphorus gone?

Phosphorus (P) is an essential nutrient for crop growth. Studies from western Canada and around the world tell us that in many cases soil on organic farms is deficient in available P. Is this a serious problem, or are low levels simply a reflection of the way we measure P?

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Building Community To Support Agriculture

OACC article on marketing through CSA.

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Organic fertility: are green manures enough?

Every crop carries a package of nutrients that had been removed from the soil. When the crop is sold off farm, these nutrients are lost. To maintain soil fertility and to be sustainable in the long term, these nutrients must be replaced. Finding acceptable methods of replacing lost nutrients is crucial to the long term success of organic farming.

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Plant larger seeds for more competitive crop

This article discusses the importance of using accessible techniques to manage weeds. Brenda Frick, Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. 2007

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Seeding: To till or not to till

Jennifer Bromm interviewed many organic farmers in Saskatchewan about their tillage practices. She found that judicious spring tillage was often a part of their management systems. Tillage was used more often if fields were weedy, intended crops were weak competitors or soils were cold and wet. Article by Brenda Frick, Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. 2007

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Alternatives in Animal Care for Dairy

By Shelly Juurlink, Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. 2007

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Going With The Grains

General article on organic grain research on cropping and cereal varieties. Canadian Organic Growers. 2007

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Weed, disease and grain yield effects of cultivar mixtures in organically managed spring wheat

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Haskap Research Bears Fruit with Organic Potential

OACC article by Brenda Frick on organic Haskap production.

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Microbes show benefits of green manure

Western producer article by Brenda Frick on soil biology and green manures.

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Are No-Till and Organic Converging?

Organic producers are exploring ways of reducing tillage in their production, such as using roller crimpers, direct seeding, avoiding fall tillage or introducing planned grazing. Article by Brenda Frick, Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. 2006

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The effect of intercropping systems and cultivar mixtures on weed and disease suppression in organically managed spring wheat

Thesis by J.C. Pridham. University of Manitoba. 2006

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Do Wheat Cultivar Mixtures Maintain Yield and Suppress Weeds Under Organic Management

Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. 2006

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Cultivar Mixtures, Cover Crops, and Intercropping with Organic Spring Wheat

This study evaluated wheat cultivar mixtures and intercrops with wheat to determine whether these added elements of diversity would provide benefits to organic wheat production and reduce levels of weeds and diseases. Natural Systems Agriculture. University of Manitoba, 2006

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Mycorrhizae can unlock plants’ potential – Organic Matters

Western Producer article by Brenda Frick on mycorrhizae and soil fungi.

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Benefits of Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety of living organisms in an area. It is greater if there are many types of organisms. Agricultural systems tend to limit biodiversity. As researchers take a broader view of farming systems, they discover advantages in biodiversity that go beyond simple explanations.

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Organic Agriculture and biodiversity: Is there a link?

Organic farming can increase the diversity of plants and animals, according to a recent analysis of over 180 studies. The analysis showed that on average, the number of species increased about 30% in organic systems and the number of individual plants and animals was 50% greater on organic farms.

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Elaine Ingham at Organic Matters conference grounded in soil biology

Western Producer article by Brenda Frick highlights talk by Elaine Ingham on soil biology and the soil food web.

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Weeds can be valuable as livestock feed

Article explores weed variety options for livestock feed. Brenda Frick, Western Producer 2005

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Will mobile abattoirs help small-scale livestock farmers? PART 1

This is the first of two articles that discusses the potential for mobile abattoirs in Canada. Article by Jane Morrigan. Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. 2005

Tags: Processing & Distribution

Mobile abattoirs: Benefits and Challenges (part 2)

This is the second of two articles that discusses the potential for mobile abattoirs in Canada. Part 1 appears elsewhere on this website. Article by Jane Morrigan. Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. 2005

Tags: Processing & Distribution

Six things to consider when intercropping

Intercropping can boost profits and provide agronomic benefits. 
But before jumping in feet first, farmers need to think through the process. Grainews article by Lisa Guenther. 2013

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Phosphate deficiency can be overcome

Western Producer article by Brenda Frick on farm surveys in Saskatchewan show that soil on organic farms is deficient in available phosphorus.

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Are higher seeding rates warranted?

On farm and national research explores the relationship between seeding rate and weed pressure in select cereal crops. Brenda Frick, Western Producer. 2004

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Capturing the potential of alfalfa

Article by Matthew Wiens and Brenda Frick explores the use of alfalfa as a cover crop. Western Producer. 2004

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Consider green manure in crop rotation

Article by Yvonne Lawley on the role of green manures and types of crops that can be used. Western Producer. 2004

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Long-term crop rotation research yields results

Article by Brenda Frick summarizing long-term studies on crop rotation in the prairies. Western Producer, 2004

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Reducing erosion potential on organic farms

Western Producer article by Brenda Frick on soil erosion and mitigation practices.

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The many benefits of biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety of organisms living in an area. The more types of organisms, not just the number of individual creatures, means the greater the biodiversity. Agricultural systems tend to limit biodiversity. As researchers take a broader view of farming systems, they discover advantages in biodiversity that go beyond simple explanations.

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Planning for Next Year’s Crop of Weeds

Now is the time to consider which weeds will be problems in the coming year. This article will help you devise a strategy to deal with them this spring. Brenda Frick, Western Producer, 2003.

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Cover Crops can Protect all the Bases

Article by Brenda Frick provides an introduction to the benefits of crop crops and strategies to begin to integrate them into your system. Western Producer. 2003

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Weed Control can be Harrowing Experience

Article covers post-emergence harrowing as a weed management technique. Western Producer. 2003

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Making Good Use of Organic Crop Rotations

Article by Brenda Frick on the effectiveness of crop rotation on weed management and soil fertility. Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada.

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