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The dawn of a new era: Engineer to design new tilling and seeding system to increase yields. // PHOTO: KAREN NIEDZWIECKI

Creating sustainable food systems

NSERC supports conservation agriculture study

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced new funding today for a University of Manitoba study that aims to increase the efficiency of farm fields by a factor of two.

Through NSERC’s Strategic Partnerships Grants Project, biosystems engineering professor Ying Chen will receive $369,642 over three years for her project investigating conservation agriculture, specifically, new ways to till and seed soil.

Conservation agriculture is a practice that protects soil’s integrity and it is key to sustainable food production. (Read more on soil’s wonder here.) In conservation agriculture, 30-100 per cent of crop residue is left in the fields to provide benefits such as halting erosion, boosting soil fertility, and minimizing nutrient runoff. This practice, however, plugs up traditional tillage and seeding equipment – hindering yields.

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