Exploring the merits of intercropping canola and field pea in south-east Saskatchewan and fine-tuning management practices for maximum yield and profit

  • Faba Beans
  • Peas
  • Soil Health
  • Sustainability

Lead Investigator(s)

Chris Holzapfel

Lead Investigator(s) Institution

Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation

Objective

To gain experience with intercropping canola and field pea and canola and faba bean to demonstrate the potential agronomic and economic merits of this practice on the Prairies. To compare alternating rows of field pea and canola, as well as faba bean and canola. To mixed-rows of these crops. To optimize nitrogen (N) fertilizer management in canola-field pea intercrops and assess whether the optimum levels are affected by row-crop configuration.

Outcome

On a heavy clay soil north of Indian Head, yield advantages of 294-435 kg ha-1, or 15-19% were observed with intercropping. Significant over yielding in field pea - canola intercrops was also observed on loam soils south of Indian Head and near Melita, Manitoba. Canola generally tended to perform better when grown in alternating rows with field pea and all N fertilizer was directed to the canola rows, however, field pea yields and total seed yields were highest when canola and field pea were planted together in mixed rows. Intercropped canola and faba bean was also evaluated at Indian Head in 2012 and, while this mix did not perform as well as intercropped field pea and canola, we speculate that increasing faba bean seeding rates may improve the relative yields of this crop without having a serious negative impact on canola yields. While there are some minor costs associated with intercropping, the major impediments to adoption going forward are more likely to be due to logistic challenges rather than financial restraints. Previous profit analysis of intercropping yield data has shown that the cost of cleaning is relatively inconsequential and profits closely mimic total yields of the treatments. This project has shown that intercropping can result in significant yield benefits relative to monocropping and this is consistent with the majority of past research trial results and producer testimonials.

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Agronomy

SPG Contribution

$15,500.00

Project Status

Complete

Duration/Timeline of Project (Year to Year)

2011 - 2013