GFM Network News


A blend of cover crops — like this mix of proso millet, crimson clover, and tillage radish — will bring a variety of benefits to the soil.

Pick the right tool for the job when creating cover crop blends

Using a diverse blend of cover crops — including cool- and warm-season grasses and broadleaf crops — covers the bases while targeting soil issues

When it comes to choosing the right cover crops for your farm, one size definitely doesn’t fit all. “Growers need to have an objective in mind in terms of what they want to get out of a cover crop,” said Bob Blackshaw, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “You have to choose the […] Read more

The North Peace Applied Research Association’s annual field day in July attracted producers from all across the North Peace and others interested in seeing its cocktail cover crop trials.

Cover crops come with a long list of benefits

Restoring tired soils isn’t a quick process, but cover crop 
proponents say it’s well worth the effort

Are you looking to improve soil nitrogen? Prevent soil erosion? Reduce soil compaction, improve water infiltration, and even suppress weeds? Cover crops have got you covered. And as understanding of their benefits spreads, interest is growing. “I think producers are realizing the cost of inputs is getting very, very high and the soil has become […] Read more


The rule in creating cocktail cover crops is: The more diversity in the roots and leaves, the better. Shown in this photo are sorghum/sudangrass, millet, turnip, hairy vetch, soybeans, crimson clover, berseem clover, greenfix peas, faba beans, and tillage radish.

Building a ‘cover crop cocktail’

The more diversity in the roots and leaves, the better

In the U.S., fields left bare after corn or soybean harvest are prone to erosions and so ‘cover crops’ (such as rye, winter wheat or tillage radish ) live up to their name by covering and protecting soil. In more northerly climes, including the Prairies, interest is focused on ‘cover crop cocktails.’ More on the […] Read more

Two decades ago, the soils at Brown's farm near Bismarck had organic content levels below two per cent and years of tillage had destroyed the soil’s structure.


American soil health guru plants seeds in Alberta

In-demand speaker barnstorms province to talk about building better soil with ‘cocktail’ 
cover crops and integrated crops/livestock system

Gabe Brown found some fertile Alberta soil for his message that diversity builds soil health and boosts profitability. The North Dakota farmer and soil health guru did a barnstorm tour of the province in the last week of October, starting in the Peace Country community of Grimshaw, swinging through Legal and Vermilion, and then zigging […] Read more


These cover crops, grown by Jack Stahl, have done well despite a dry growing season.  

Cover crops and soil health guru winning converts in Alberta

Gabe Brown’s methods of using a ‘cocktail’ of cover crops to rebuild soil, 
lower input costs and boost yields are attracting serious attention

Like many farmers, Gabe Brown hates the term “sustainable agriculture.” But his beef is that it doesn’t go far enough. “For us to have the resources that will be truly sustainable for future generations, we have to regenerate our degraded soil,” said the North Dakota rancher and farmer, an internationally renowned speaker who has toured […] Read more

Looking below the surface for sustainable agriculture

Increasing world food production means having healthy 
soil able to effectively deliver water and nutrients

Some of the world’s top soil scientists and conservation agriculture exponents convened for the sixth World Congress on Conservation Agriculture in Winnipeg last month. The message from speakers was on one hand sobering, if not frightening — massive soil erosion continues around the world, and in both developed and undeveloped countries. The good news is […] Read more