Organic Production Resources

 

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Crops and Irrigation Branch has compiled valuable resources on various aspects of organic production:

Pivot & Grow

From fact sheets, to production videos, to podcasts, this site has lots of helpful info to assist organic producers, or producers who are thinking about transitioning to organic production. https://www.pivotandgrow.com/

*Click on the images below to download these Pivot & Grow fact sheets.

Abundance ‘Sustain’ Articles

Abundance Magazine, SaskOrganics’ quarterly publication features a ‘Sustain’ article in each issue, highlighting different agronomic topics with Dr. Dunling Wang, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture’s Provincial Specialist of Alternative Cropping Systems. We have compiled each Sustain article here, latest to oldest:

University of Manitoba’s Natural Systems Agriculture Department

The Natural Systems Agriculture website is produced by a team of researchers and students in the Plant Science Department at the University of Manitoba. This team includes professors, graduate students, undergraduate students, technicians, research associates and a very helpful group of collaborating farmers. The research work conducted by their team includes both long-term and short-term studies. Their field studies include the Glenlea crop rotation study, Canada’s oldest organic vs conventional study and the Organic Crops Field Laboratory at Carman, Manitoba.

Visit their website for studies on a number of topics in organic production, or their YouTube page where you can watch field tours, coffee shop talks with an agronomist, equipment demos and more!

Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada

OACC facilitates and leads research and education supporting organic producers, consumers and other organic stakeholders to foster sustainable communities.

The Organic Science Clusters are industry-supported research and development endeavors initiated by the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada at Dalhousie University in collaboration with the Organic Federation of Canada. The Organic Science Clusters are supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and many organic sector partners.

There have been two completed Organic Science Clusters, the first running from 2009-2013 and Organic Science Cluster II running from 2013-2018. Organic Science Cluster III is in progress from 2018- 2023.

AAC Oravena oat variety was developed through the Organic Science Cluster program. AAC Oravena is a white-hulled spring oat (Avena sativa L.) cultivar selected and developed under organic management. AAC Oravena yields well under organic and conventional production systems, compared to check cultivars. AAC Oravena has good milling quality. AAC Oravena was registered (Reg. No. 7561) by the Variety Registration Office, Canada Food Inspection Agency, on 3 July, 2014. Access to the published paper can be found here. It should be available from Fedoruk Seeds in 2021 or 2022.

Organic Science Canada Magazine

Resources for Organic Agriculture in Canada

Green Manure Factsheets from Eastern Canada: View here and here.

Swift Current Research & Development Centre-AAFC Research

Proceedings of the 2018 Organic and Low-Input Agricultural Systems Field Day

Proceedings from a field day at the Swift Current Research & Development Centre, with field presentations on various organic and low-input trials including intercropping, cover cropping, water and soil conserving tillage, allelopathic cover crops and more.

Some combos work better than others

Source: Glacier Farm Media GrowPro Magazine Fall 2019 Issue

While often seen as an option for organic farmers to control pests and increase productivity, conventional farmers are also showing interest.

Perennial weed control in Organic Rotations

Source: Top Crop Manager West, Mid-March 2020

Soil quality improves with reduced tillage, but there are trade-offs.

Economic Analysis of Organic Cropping Systems under Different Tillage Intensities and Crop Rotations

Organic crop production has been shifting to the use of legume green manure, diversified crop rotations and reduced tillage, rather than relying on summerfallow and mechanical tillage for nutrient and pest management in the semi-arid region of the Prairies. Different agronomic practices, such as crop rotation and tillage intensity, can affect the economics of production systems.

Science seeks to solve FHB…ASAP

Source: Alberta Wheat Commission Spotlight publication

When it comes to protecting crop health, disease is as welcome as an early frost, and equally chilling to the bottom line. Diseases such as fusarium head blight (FHB) are even more challenging for organic growers who avoid many commercial pesticides. As a result, the use of biological control agents (BCAs) has become increasingly common and accepted in both organic crop production and by conventional farmers as a pest control method. Harnessing the power of BCAs is thus a key research focus and the theme of “Biological control and management of fusarium head blight and associated diseases in organic grain production”. This project is part of the Organic Cluster under Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP).

 

Other Resources

Inherent P Supplying Ability of Organically Managed Soils

Prepared by the University of Saskatchewan, Funded by the Agriculture Development Fund

Principal Investigator Dr. J.D Knight’s  overall objective of this study was to perform soil-based and plant-based
measurements of nutrient availability on soils from organic and conventional farms to identify which measurements are best suited for each system and identify which measurements best represent the overall fertility of the soil for crop growth.

Intercropping Field Pea Varieties for Organic Production

Prepared by the University of Saskatchewan, Funded by the Agriculture Development Fund

Researchers Lena Syrovy and Steven Shirtliffe: Semi-leafless field pea varieties which have tendrils instead of auxiliary leafs have less lodging than leafed peas. Because of this semi-leafless pea varieties usually have reduced plant diseases, higher yields and much easier harvestability. However, because of reduced light interception, semi-leafless peas are usually less competitive with weeds than leafed peas. Varietal mixtures of leafed and semi-leafless field pea varieties may offer the benefits of both semi-leafless and leafed peas. However this hypothesis has not been tested. The overall objective of this research was to establish the optimum ratio of leafed and semi-leafless field pea
varietal mixtures for organic and conventional crop production.

Evaluation of Novel Crops as Green Manures in Organic Agriculture

Prepared by the University of Saskatchewan, funded by the Agriculture Development Fund

Principle Investigator Dr. JD Knight expands on research conducted by Dr. Steve Shirtliffe (Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Organic Chair, Dept. Plant Science, U of S). Dr. Shirtliffe’s group is evaluating methods of termination and timing of termination of field pea (cv. 40-10) and a small seeded faba bean (cv. CDC SSNS1) on productivity and weed growth in organic systems. A main focus of the project is to evaluate the effectiveness of the roller-crimper as a termination method to reduce tillage in organic systems.

Evaluation of Soil Amendments for Increasing Nutrients in Organic Farming

Prepared by the University of Saskatchewan, funded by the Agriculture Development Fund

Principle Investigator: Dr. JD Knight seeks to evaluate potential soil amendments for their ability to supply P and N to wheat and lentil crops grown under organic management.

 

Organic/Pesticide-free Higher Value Vegetable Crops: Sustainable Production, Maintain Quality and Extend Shelf-life

Prepared by Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, Funded by the Agriculture Development Fund

The organic fresh vegetable and fruit production is believed to be the most rapidly expanding sector in Organic Agriculture. This project is an initial attempt to (i) screen suitable vegetable crops for organic production under irrigation in Saskatchewan, and (ii) determine suitable storage and handling practices to extend the shelf life of organic vegetables.

Weed Management for Organic Farmers
Literature review by Brenda Frick

This literature review was requested by the Saskatchewan Organic Development Council (now SaskOrganics).  The document summarizes the weed control literature relevant to organic farmers and provides a baseline for future research efforts.  The document may be useful in determining research priorities, assessing the tools available for weed control in organic production and to organic farmers conducting their own research.

Enviroscan – Research & Extension Resources for Organic Farmers
Prepared for the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative (POGI)

The EnviroScan identifies and analyzes the research and extension resources available to guide organic producers, enabling them to improve their production practices. We examined the scientific and extension literature for the Canadian Prairies and adjacent USA states, over the last 35 years, with a focus on nutrient and weed management, grain quality and cultivars adapted to organic production. In our data collection, we also identified systems based research. A full listing of projects included in this resource can be downloaded here.

Pollinator Resources

Beelines-Spring 2020

This publication of the Government of Saskatchewan is a combination of annual survey results collected from Saskatchewan beekeepers on data such as total number of colonies, total honey produced, average honey per colony etc., as well as more general information on pollinator plants and planting in Saskatchewan and the
why, where and how of preserving, maintaining and creating pollinator habitats.

The Bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea, Apiformes) of the Prairies Ecozone with Comparisons to other Grasslands of Canada

Sheffield, Frier and Dumesh

A full taxonomic review of the bees of the prairie grasslands is presented, including bionomic summaries.

Native Pollinators and Agriculture in Canada

Publication of Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

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