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Making cover crops work with grain cropping systems in the Canadian Prairies

  • Start date: April, 2022
  • Project Length: 3 Years
  • Project Status: In Progress


The incorporation of cover crops (CC) in grain cropping systems is seen as an important component of restoring soil health and increasing carbon sequestration in Western Canada. Potential benefits of CC include reduced soil erosion, weed suppression, increased rainfall infiltration, reduced evaporation from the soil surface, increased plant diversity for pollinators, and when legumes are included, nitrogen additions through symbiotic nitrogen fixation. CC are being used by Prairie farmers to address long-term soil health goals to improve the resiliency of crop production. However, agronomic management of CC needs to be adapted for the semiarid Prairies environment and crop rotations. Therefore, there is an urgent need for scientific evaluations of CC species, establishment methods and how these might fit in with current and widely used agronomic packages such as herbicide timing in conventional wheat and canola cropping systems. The overall objective of this project is to identify compatible CC mixtures and herbicide strategies that are compatible with the management of productive wheat and canola crops in Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The project will create collaborations across the three Prairie provinces between researchers, students, farmers and farm organizations.

This project will enable farmers to incorporate CC and their benefits into current cropping systems with equipment and resources already available to them.

  • 1: Identify cover crop species and establishment methods in canola and wheat
  • 2: Identify compatible herbicide packages (canola), or herbicides (wheat) and timings of application for cover crops
  • 3: Quantify the impact of cover crop growth on the subsequent cash crop
  • 4: Develop interprovincial collaboration between scientist, farmers and agronomists across the Prairies in the area of cover crops
  • 5: Training of three graduate students that will be able to contribute to the agriculture industry throughout their careers
Manitoba Crop Alliance Funding:


Total Funding Approved:


Funding Partners: