The best pairs of combined crops – the experience of a Canadian farmer (Google Translate)
What to plant rapeseed with and why flax loves, said the export of regenerative agriculture from Canada
Mark Hallsall writes about this in an article published by the Canadian agricultural publication www.grainews.ca.
“Combining cultural ages is being used by farmers around the world as a way to increase overall production. Now that monocultures predominate on farms, green couples are rarely seen.
However, this may change as regenerative farming practices, such as intercropping, continue to intensify in Canada.
Colin Rosengren is an avid cross-crop importer and sustainable farmer in general, and for almost 20 years has identified the impact of various crops on his farm near Midale in southeast Saskatchewan. During this time, he got a good idea of how beneficial intercropping can be and what mixes are acceptable in his fields.
Rosengren shared his experience of blending crops at the Farm Forum Event 2021. Here’s what he had to say about two crop blends: rapeseed, field peas, chickpeas and flax that have become the basis of his production.
Rapeseed and field peas
It was the first multicultural mix that Rosengren started working with in 2004. He says he chose a mix of canola and field peas as an easy way to go. Growing the two crops together causes a 20-30 percent yield increase, and there are a few other things he likes about rapeseed and pea boosts – a simple mix, and germination and growth are usually generally amicable.
“Straight cutting with a mix is a dream,” Rosengren says. – The peas even help hold the rapeseed together so it doesn’t break in the wind. Here are a couple more tricks. One of them includes steps to balance the use of each crop, which is due to the use of the juxtaposition feature. Peas are probably a little more nutritious than rapeseed, but here’s what we can do to increase the yield towards rapeseed and decrease towards peas, change the crop yield. Especially at the beginning of the year when the soil is cool, if you plant peas at 5-7 cm, the soil will be colder than at a depth of one centimeter. By changing the sowing in this way, the two crops can be sown together, but the rapeseed sprouts a few days earlier. This start gives canola a little more profitability and will shift your crop towards a little more canola production at the expense of peas.”
Rosengren found some more management tricks to control plant populations in the canola and pea mix. For example, he determined that increasing the amount of nitrogen fertilizers on a large scale would increase the population of rapeseed at the expense of peas. “We’re trying to get results for the crop, but sometimes we’re pushing a little more nitrogen fertilizer one way or the other depending on the economics of the year.”
Last year, Rosengren tried an unusual tactic, which was to apply the Odyssey herbicide a little later than usual. “If you process a little later, you can show a little peas, but not rapeseed, which will eventually put on weight,” he says.
Rosengren offers the following advice to farmers who want to try a canola/pea mix on their farms: “Start with about two-thirds of your canola and pea seed and try to get the amount of available nitrogen in the soil (a combination of what you already have and what you in carrier) is 18 kg per 0.4 ha. This is more than enough to feed the peas, but not too much to prevent them from gaining a foothold in rhizobia and fixing nitrogen for themselves.”
Chickpeas and years
Another productive pair that the farmer sows for the problems he has with each crop upon detection.
Phosphorus is needed for growth, but there isn’t much in the soil at Rosengren’s farm. “Linen is not good at absorbing phosphorus from the region, especially the one you ask for quality in the year of production. The likelihood of a consistent increase in yield from year to year,” he explains.
Rosengren’s problem with chickpeas on his farm was that ascochitosis became a bane in wet years: “You end up looking at chickpeas multiple times like crazy. Keep spraying, spraying, spraying fungicide four or five, six, seven times a year and the disease comes back, again and again.”
What Rosengren did was to sow the mixture of chickpeas and flax in alternating pair rows, that is, two rows of chickpeas, then two rows of flax, and so on. To do this, he had to make some changes to his landing equipment. He adds that, depending on the type of equipment, farmers can modify seeding units to suit their work.
Rosengren found that with this arrangement of crops, flax created a barrier that helped prevent the rapid spread of ascochyta blight in chickpeas.
“We cannot stop the incidence or initial foci of infection in the field, but in the state, by way of linen barriers, we significantly slow down the spread of the disease by limiting it in the field. This means that you can spray pointwise, which is very important. Reception also provides a solution for phosphorus deficient flax. Chickpea is the best storage crop because it extracts nutrients from the soil and finds more phosphorus than any other crop,” notes the farmer.
What happened in Rosengren’s field was that chickpeas were able to transfer some of the phosphorus to flax through their root system with the help of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in the soil, which act as a supplier.
When the farmer started growing a mixture of chickpeas and flax, flax really took off and outperformed chickpeas, so he tried different seeding rates and nitrogen rates to solve the problem. What he is doing now is planting about 6.8 kg of flax per 0.4 ha in the crop mix and does not apply nitrogen. The flax harvest is consistently high. “We found that flax needs chickpeas and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to really thrive, and chickpeas also need flax to get rid of this disease and feel good. The combination of chickpea and flax has performed remarkably well with high yields and lower costs, since the crop should only be sprayed when the environmental conditions are really wet and there is a high incidence of disease. We see it as a successful story with a promising sequel,” he concluded. (Google Translate).