Will Bailey-Elkin wants to find out if intercropping is an economically viable practice
By Diego Flammini
A master’s student at the University of Manitoba is looking for Prairie farmers to participate in a study about intercropping.
Will Bailey-Elkin has done pea intercropping trials with barley, mustard and oats over the last few years and now wants to take his research one step further.
“I wanted to do an economic analysis on these different mixtures of peas and their associated companion crop,” he told Farms.com. “I want to attempt to use realistic values from farmers when it comes to the costs they might endure when they practice intercropping and make sure those values are represented when I complete the economic analysis.”
Bailey-Elkin is looking to answer specific questions with this research.
“What are the differences in net profits between a pea monocrop and a pea intercrop that has maybe a high rate of barley,” he said. “There’s going to be some competition that may lead to decreased yields in the peas. But a lot of the intercropping research shows total grain yield in the barley might compensate for any yield losses in the peas.”
Once Bailey-Elkin has had the opportunity to study the complete dataset, he plans to make his results public for producers who are interested in intercropping.
Demand for peas is likely to increase in the coming years, so farmers should have accurate information if they wish to begin growing them, he said.
“We’re hoping the research provides good agronomic data for organic farmers who want to practice intercropping,” he said. “We know demand for field peas is going to go up with plant-based protein products. This data can also lend itself to extension services.”
To participate in the study, a farmer must be certified organic and located in Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta. He or she should be intercropping on a field of 40 acres or larger and have practiced intercropping within the last two to three years.
Any producers interested in being a part of the study can email Bailey-Elkin.