Government of Canada investing in research to promote more diverse farm crop rotations

Government of Canada investing in research to promote more diverse farm crop rotations
May 14, 2024

The research aims to reduce business risk for farmers with climate change-resilient crops to provide better profit.

By Andrew Joseph, Editor; Photo by Waldemar on Unsplash

On May 13, 2024, the Canadian federal government announced up to $5,733,852 to the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) through the AgriScience program—Clusters Component, an initiative under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, to promote more diverse crop rotations on farms.

The hope is that the Cropping Systems Cluster, led by CFCRA, will develop the characteristics and practices to encourage diverse crop rotations for soybeans, corn, and oats.

Crop rotation is the practice of planting crops with diverse characteristics in sequence on the same field over time. It improves the ability of producers to manage the soil in a manner that optimizes soil health and nutrient use, prevents soil erosion, reduces pest infestations, and increases yields.

“With climate change having a direct impact on producers, crop diversity is vitally important to keeping our agriculture sector healthy, productive, and competitive. This funding will help researchers explore the benefits of crop rotations and encourage producers to integrate soybean, corn, and oat crops into their farms,” stated the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Canadian federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

The research aims to reduce business risk for farmers by developing crops that are resilient to climate change and weather stresses, protect against losses caused by diseases and insects, and are profitable for producers overall.

This will be achieved by developing oat varieties with improved traits for eastern and western Canada, as well as improving soybean varieties for short-season production environments in Canada.

Research activities will also explore how diverse crop rotations can play a central role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and how better genetics, land management, and fertilizer use can improve nitrogen use efficiency to protect the environment.

Soybean production generated $3.9 billion in farm cash receipts in 2023, making it the third-most valuable field crop in Canada.

Canadian corn production has risen incrementally since 2010, increasing export revenue to a record of $941 million in 2021–22.

In 2021–22, Canadian oat exports were valued at $558 million, with 93 percent of exports going to the US.

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