This project will provide insights that will benefit the implementation of new paradigms (such as regenerative agriculture) in the potato sector of southern Alberta.
How will this research impact Alberta’s agriculture industry?
Researchers on this project will work to quantify how the timing of soil preparation, winter cover cropping, and irrigation management impact nutrient use efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion, and potato yield. Their work will bridge a gap that currently exists with respect to tillage practices, GHG emissions, soil health, and irrigation methods; and is the first step towards understanding limiting factors causing reduced nutrient and water use efficiency in potato production in Southern Alberta.
Why did RDAR invest in this research project?
Leading potato manufacturer McCain Foods announced regenerative farming practices will be used on all of the potato acres it contracts (130 farms in Canada, of which 30 in Alberta, 36 in Manitoba and 64 in New Brunswick) by 2030, the term of regenerative agriculture has found a place in the agricultural conversation in southern Alberta.
Regenerative agriculture system designed to minimize external inputs or external impacts of agronomy from outside the farm, is meant to improve crop yield and food production to meet the needs of the increasing global population. The basic principles of the regenerative agriculture system focus on climate mitigation, soil restoration, economic sustainability, and water resource protection.
Researchers will investigate bedding and irrigation treatments that are based on current agricultural practices but include adjustments that may make them more robust from a regenerative agriculture perspective.
Through researcher investigation of both CO2 emissions and soil organic carbon and inclusion of winter cover crop in cropping sequences, this project will provide insights that will benefit the implementation of new paradigms (such as regenerative agriculture) in the potato sector of southern Alberta.
How will research knowledge be transferred and shared with producers?
This project will share knowledge and data in a number of ways:
- Field workshop for producers at the Technology Demonstration Days
- News release presenting the results from the study, distributed by the marketing department of Lethbridge College to local news outlets (e.g. The Western Producer, RealAgriculture, Lethbridge Herald).
- Conference presentation at the local agronomic conference (Irrigated Crop Production Update in Lethbridge)