Increase crop diversity, reduce risk by intercropping

Natural systems are diverse and include a variety of plants, animals, microbes and fungi. This diversity is considered a key to their resilience and stability. Intercrops are one way to bring some of this diversity to agro-ecosystem structures, accessing different portions of the soil volume. Crop diversity allows a more diverse community of soil and […] Read more

Stinkweed has a smell that masks the odour of the crop, thereby protecting it.  |  File photo

Weeds are a few of my favourite things and have role to play

There seems to be a common observation made by farmers who are asked if they’ve ever considered organic production. “I could never go organic; just imagine all the weeds I’d have.” Like many stereotypes, there is some truth to this, and some unfairness. However, for someone considering organic production, there is a definite look at […] Read more

Bins must be maintained so grain stays dry to prevent spoilage.  |  Michael Raine photo

Tips to retain organic quality throughout the year

Growing a quality organic crop takes skilful management of the farm ecosystem, including soil, rotations, crops and weeds. Maintaining the quality after harvest is the key to successful marketing, to pleasing customers and to gaining top dollar for top quality. According to Bruce Roskens, director of Crop Sciences for Grain Millers in Naperville, Illinois, farmers […] Read more

Introducing cattle to a grain farm can increase weed management options.  |  Brenda Frick photo

Organic grain, cattle production can make good partners

Grain and livestock production go well together. It works both ways: introducing organic grain production onto the ranch can provide a valuable market stream. Integration of cattle into grain farming can improve sustainability. For a livestock producer considering pasture renovation, or re-seeding of hay land, organic grain production can be a valuable interlude between hay […] Read more

Steps involved to obtain organic logo ensures it’s the real thing

I’ve heard people suggest that the “organic” designation is just another scam. This frustrates me because the organic standard is clearly laid out in legislation and the rules are available online for anyone to see. A lot of people put a lot of care and effort into organic production. They develop farm plans that meet […] Read more

Ecologist wants end to ‘violent tools’ that poison biodiversity

We need a new food system, according to scientist Vandana Shiva, an agro-ecology and food democracy champion. We are at a crucial time when we must act to save our planet and our food system. Shiva is highly critical of large-scale industrial agriculture, accusing it of causing: Seventy-five percent of the ecological devastation on the […] Read more

Organic agriculture examines ways to tackle food waste

The good people of Brussels were literally fed up with food waste. A meal was provided in the city centre, completely free of charge for 6,000 people. The labour was volunteered. The food was rescued on its path to the landfill. Supplies included leeks that were deemed unfit for market because they grew too large, […] Read more

The presence of genetically modified canola in an organic crop makes it unmarketable, even as organic feed.  |  File photo

What’s worse: wild mustard in canola, canola in organics?

July on the Canadian Prairies is a vision of beauty. A great many fields are ablaze with the golden yellow of canola in full flower. It seems at times that this brilliant colour is the dominant feature of the landscape, so strong is its visual presence. Of course it’s not all canola out there. Some […] Read more

New organic production manual updates science details

The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate has released its new production manual, Organic Farming on the Prairies, second edition. The original edition focused on organic grain production and combined practical how-to information with principles and research. It was incredibly popular, a text for introductory workshops and courses and a reference for practitioners. The second edition retains the […] Read more