I am the Research Project's Manager for the Peace River Organic
Producers Association. The organization certifies 29 farms in the
Alberta/British Columbia area (Canada). I am currently involved in two
projects that are funded by Green plan Canada and two projects that are
funded by the Industrial Research Assistance Program ( an arm of the
National Research Council). Following are the project titles and their
High-Density, Short-Duration Rotational Grazing to Control Canada
In our study we are comparing the effectiveness of rotational grazing when
the forage crop is established in the spring on land where thistle
populations are high to that when the forage crop is established in August
after a partial year of fallow to reduce thistle populations. As well,
these two methods will be compared to the conventional approach of a full
year of summerfallow (with intensive tillage) followed by annual cereal
crops. Excluding the control plots, the remaining spring and fall-seeded
plots will have the following treatments applied: rotational grazing by
cattle, rotational grazing by cattle plus mowing and rotational grazing by
cattle plus mowing plus organic seaweed fertilizer.
Subsoiling to Control Canada Thistle
One of the main reasons for the aggressiveness of Canada thistle relates to
its root syustem. Its root system has a tremendous regenerative and food
storing capacity and is deep penetrating with up to 90% of the roots below
the plow layer. The idea behind this project is that when the subsoiler is
used in the fall of the year (after harvest) and is set to rip to a depth
below the transverse root of the thistle plants in the patch, the roots are
ripped up and the frost and moisture are able to penetrate deeper in the
fall and winter. These factors will all contribute to killing the Canada
thistle roots and thus plants. We have gotten fairly positive results from
this type of method so far.
Cultural Control of Wild Oats with Fall Rye
This project will determine if the know allelopathic effects of fall rye on
wild oats are quantifiable in the B.C. Peace Region. Under field conditions
plants compete with one another for resources such as space, light, water
and nutrients. They may also have the ability to chemically interfere with
other plants. This type of interaction is termed allelopathy and it occurs
when the compounds released by a living or decomposing plant either
stimulate or suppress a neighboring plant.
We are trying to determine the most active part of the plant in terms of
allelopathic effects. In some plots we are letting the fall rye grow to
harvest, others are being shredded throughout the summer (green manure), and
others are having the top growth removed and spread onto summerfallow plots.
Tomslake Grazing Demonstration
This project was set up to demonstrate the economic and agronomic benefits
of incorporating periodic rotational grazing practices into land which has
been used for continuous grain prouction. Legumes are an important crop for
organic producers, however plowdown and the associated summerfallow can lead
to erosion problems. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate to
producers the ease with which cattle could graze their legume fields using
portable electric fencing and solar water pumping equipment. We also want
to determine if grazing the land has any detrimental or beneficial effects
on the land in terms of the next cropping year.
I am interested in finding out if any other research or demonstration work
is being done in the field of organics. Does anyone out there know of any
or know where the best places to look for this type of information are?
If anyone is interested in the work that I am doing and/or you would like to
receive more information about the results of the projects or about the
Association, please contact me.
Thanks in advance.
#4223 9601 - 82 Avenue
Grande Prairie, AB.