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Sustainable farm systems focus of field day

June 25, 2015 — 

Designing productive farming systems that require fewer chemicals and incorporate compost will be the focus of a field tour hosted by NCLE (National Centre for Livestock and the Environment) at the University of Manitoba Glenlea Research Station the afternoon of July 8.

If you are interested in learning ways to farm more sustainably and reduce input costs, whether you are involved in growing crops, raising livestock or both, whether you farm organically, conventionally or somewhere in between, or even if you eat food and want to know more about its origins, there is something for you on this tour!

“We are looking at ways to make the agriculture system as a whole more sustainable, by making better use of what is already in the system, and by finding ways to reduce what is added to and lost from the system without giving up productivity,” says NCLE research coordinator Christine Rawluk.

This year’s tour features Farm Alchemy 101: how to turn waste to compost gold, alternative weed and soil management practices, and lessons learned from the 24-year-old Glenlea crop rotation study.

The compost tour stop, hosted by soil scientist Mario Tenuta and NCLE technician Trevor Fraser, will cover tools and equipment for properly composting, composting do’s and don’ts, some of the challenges of farm-scale composting, plus the many benefits of including compost in cropping systems.

Composting also converts waste into a valuable soil additive. “Partnering with Almost Urban Vegetables, we are composting different urban and farm waste materials with cattle manure to see how these different materials affect the quality of the final compost,” says Rawluk.

The 24-year-old Glenlea crop rotation study is a long running testing ground for novel ways to reduce chemical and energy inputs into growing crops without compromising overall productivity. Join host Martin Entz, the plant scientist who started and continues to run this invaluable site, for a sampling of some of the many lessons being learned at this site, which is also home to Canada’s oldest organic rotation study. Direct seeding wheat using mulches instead of herbicides, inter-row tillage for small grain production, soil health measurements, and oat variety development for organic and ecological production are some of the topics that will be covered.

With 2015 being the International Year of Soils, the critical role of healthy soils in sustaining life is sure to be addressed as well. Both Mario and Martin were featured in recent UMToday articles on soil.

At the end of the field tour, we will be offering a guided tour of the Byproducts Processing (Composting) Facility in the Glenlea Research Station yard.


When: Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 1:00 – 4:00. Tour starts at 1:15 sharp.

Where: Glenlea Research Station field, 15 min. south of Winnipeg on Hwy 75, turn west on Glenlea Rd (1 mile south of the Station) and watch for summer students to guide you to the site


For more information and to let us know if you are coming, contact:

Christine Rawluk, christine [dot] rawluk [at] umanitoba [dot] ca, 204.474.7337

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