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Better Farming Prairies: Research advances from long-term trials

August 30, 2020 — 

An article by Martin Entz in the July/August 2020 issue of the magazine Better Farming Prairies featured the long-term research being done at the University of Manitoba to compare conventional and organic crop production. It reads:

Glenlea contains a grain-only rotation and a forage-grain rotation, as well as three one-acre plots of restored prairie grassland.

Glenlea contains two main crop rotations: a grain-only rotation (wheat-flax-oat and soybeans or green manure) and a forage-grain rotation (alfalfa-alfalfa-wheat-flax).

We manage both rotations conventionally and organically. The organic plots are split. On one half, we apply composted cattle manure to replace exported nutrients, with a focus on phosphorus. We control weeds using new organic management tools such as interrow cultivation for all crops, and the CombCut for thistles and broadleaf weeds.

The other half of the organic plot remains without amendments.

The study also includes three one-acre plots of restored prairie grassland. These plots serve as a benchmark and allow us to study the question “Can agricultural soils be as healthy as perennial grassland soils?”

Read the full story here.

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