The usage of cover crops is on the rise across the prairies and one of the speakers at the Thanks for Farming Tour that's stopped in Swift Current right now has experienced the benefits.

Imperial Seed's Avery Shepherd joined the blooming trend seven years ago applying cover crops to his fields near Lloydminster and since he hasn't looked back.

"It allows you to keep your soil covered after harvest, which will help feed the soil biology, help backup compaction, help with water infiltration," he said. "Some people worry about it using water but if you're building a bigger bucket to store the water, that's kind of a non-issue, it's a moot point. You can feed livestock a higher plane of nutrition. Fix nitrogen for your soil and make your nitrogen-use efficiency a lot higher."

Before he began applying cover crops to his farming operation, his organic matter in his soil was between 2 and 3 percent but since the change, that numbers climbed to over 6 percent with some years seeing gains of nearly an entire per cent.

"I'm storing a lot more water in my soil, I'm getting the rain into my soil now, I've had sloughs dry up during heavy downpours, my sloughs don't fill up like they used to," he said. "Then I'm growing mainly forage crops for my bison on my farm, so I'm seeing healthier animals, great gains on my calves, and lower inputs."

His farm has seen under four inches of rain this year to date but because of the cover crops, he knows the rain that's fallen is being absorbed by his crops instead of running off.

"Just before I came out here I'd seeded some perennials on a field and it was 38 C and I was able to move some cover back and find moisture under that soil, where I'd go to a bare spot a few feet over and there was no moisture at all," he said. "My crops are heat-stressed but they're not as drought-stressed as my neighbour's crops that aren't doing these things."

Shepherd added that any producer looking to get into cover crops, should study the subject thoroughly and reach out to neighbouring farmers that are using cover crops and see what's worked for them.

More Ag News

Airdrie welcomes newest $50 million snack facility

From left to right, Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development, Yousif Al-Ali, President and CEO, Super-Pufft Snacks Corp and Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown..captiontext…

G7 Agriculture Ministers meet in Germany

Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, meets with other G7 Agriculture Ministers in Stuttgart, Germany - Photo Credit: BMEL/Photothek.captiontext G7 Agriculture…

Seeding underway south of the border

.captiontext Seeding in the United States has ramped up over the past couple of days. Dan Basse is president of AgResource Company in Chicago. "We are finally getting at the seeding here in the last…

Canada's 2021 Census of Agriculture

File Photo.captiontext Data from the Census of Agriculture indicate that trends identified in previous census cycles, such as industry consolidation and aging of farm operators, have continued in…

Satellite changes could shutdown farmers

Photo Courtesy of Matt Yanick.captiontext There's a key change coming up next week for farmers that use WAAS - a Wide Area Augmentation System - for Precision Agriculture. Matt Yanick, President and… is Moose Jaw's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide