Scott Chalmers, Melita, Manitoba – Day 2 – 3rd June 2015

So today was a field trip around Southern Manitoba looking at various intercrops in the fields.

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This field is organic and last year had an intercrop of barley, mustard, peas plus clover. Apparently it was a very good crop and the picture above is the re growth which he was ploughing in today for some reason. We noticed that the clovers did not look very happy.

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So we dug around and could not find one single legume that had nodulated! I have never seen this before, there must be a serious problem out there. Apparently it has been flooded a few times recently so this could be a reason.The crop apparently was very good and had few weeds.

The second field was a pea and canola intercrop.

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Well actually it was now more a pea crop. Apart from some of the low places the rest was killed by a late frost that killed a million acres of Canola in Manitoba.

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He though has a very good crop of peas which is an upside of intercropping that you spread your risk. The down side in Manitoba is that it confuses the insurance companies so they won’t insure it.

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We found excellent nodulation out here and good rooting. This is a conventional crop. below is a picture of the two crop intertwined and growing well together

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The Canola is holding up the peas. The roots below were intertwined too with large amount of nodules next to the rape roots

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The third field we went to was an organic field of peas. It was not the field we were supposed to be in! The peas looked terrible and had poor rooting. The soil was very compacted.

Then we went to a field of Cameoina and Peas.

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This field was organic a looked like a bit of a disaster. It was full of Lambsquarter and French Stinkweed. Not only will these crops compete with the main crop they will possibly taint the Camelina oil as they are a similar size seed.

The next field we went to was organic too and the same farmer as above and just so you don’t think I am downing organics it looked very well.

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It was a field of mustard, peas and alfalfa. He will harvest the mustard and peas and then will have a stand of alfalfa. I think adding the Alfalfa is a great idea and helps keep weeds down and again spreads your risk even more. The mustard was short of nitrogen though and this is because the field needs a fertility break. It was also very compacted.

We then went to another field of the same farmer. It was organic mustard after 5 years of alfalfa.

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This crop was excellent and was virtually weed free apart from some alfalfa coming back. You could tell the difference in the mustard compared to the other field. It was not short of anything. Organic mustard is very sort after so he is a happy farmer.

His field next door was sweet clover and he was taking this to seed.

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I have never seen so many bees and insect in one field. It was alive. His friend the bee keeper was very happy!

I had a good couple of days with Scott and saw lots out in the field which was great. Thank you Scott for giving me your time.

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