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Building resilient soils with cover crops in Manitoba

Crop Types
  • Whole Farm
Collaborating Locations

Interest in adopting cover crops has been growing in Manitoba. Goals for growing cover crops on Prairie farms had expanded to include improving soil health, building soil carbon, adding and scavenging nitrogen, grazing, improving water infiltration, weed suppression, elevating soil carbon, and increasing biodiversity. These goals are relevant to address challenges of climate change unpredictable weather patterns. Farmers want to know how cover crops can advance their agronomic goals for resilience, efficiency, and profitability. Policy makers also want to know how cover crops can contribute to meeting Canada's climate goals and to what is the potential for adoption in the Prairies. Answering these questions requires holistic research to effectively characterize how cover crops contribute to achieving on-farm agronomic goals in the shot term while addressing long term climate change impact.


  1. Evaluate cover crop establishment and performance within commercial grain farm rotations and using commercial farm equipment using replicated on-farm research trials in Manitoba.
  2. Quantifying the impact of cover crops on crop productivity within commercial grain farm rotations in Manitoba.
  3. Evaluate the impact of fall shoulder season cover crops on soil structural and water dynamics, soil trafficability, and risk of soil compaction in on-farm experiments.
  4. Monitor for changes in soil health indicators and soil carbon fractions in response to frequent cover crop use in on-farm experiment.
  5. Quantify nutrient supply rates of soils with frequent cover crop use in on-farm experiments.
  6. Evaluate relationships between measured soil properties and crop productivity and quantify changes in production costs to assess the impact of cover crops on whole-farm profitability.

Project Details

Principal Investigator
Dr. Afua Mante
Project Status
Start Date
Completion Date
Funding Partners
MPSG, MCGA, Government of Manitoba, S-CAP
Total Project Cost
MCA Funding

Field Issues

  • Soil