Strategies to reduce fertility inputs and improve soil health and co-sequestration in mixed crop-livestock systems

Project Details

Status: Active
Investment: $34,655
Commodity: Multiple Livestock, Multiple Crops
Organization: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association
Investigator: Akim Omokanye

In Alberta, the recent input expense reports showed that fertilizer costs constitute up to 25% of the total variable costs in cereal production, and up to about 30% for canola.

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

Nitrogen is the most common limiting nutrient for crop production systems. In Alberta, the recent input expense reports showed that fertilizer costs constitute up to 25% of the total variable costs in cereal production, and up to about 30% for canola. The high cost of fertilizer is compelling producers to seek options for efficiency management of production systems that will improve soil nutrients and overall soil health, while reducing fertilizer input expenses, but not sacrificing the yield obtained.

This project will investigate the effects of different cropping/rotation systems, including cover crop cocktails (CCC), bale grazing and the use of manure and foliar fertilizer on soil health improvement, fertility savings and potential C-sequestration rates over a 3-year study period on two soil types using a systems analysis.

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

CCCs can be grazed in the fall to extend the grazing season, resulting in a producer saving in labour and equipment costs during extended fall grazing. Other cost-savings methods that will be tested include no-till seeding and fertilizer savings.

How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?

Findings will be shares through newsletters, annual reports, field days, presentations at industry events, and on social media.

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