Projects & Trials

Rapid Build Soil Carbon

Rapid gain in soil carbon have be shown to occur when the fungal:bacteria ratios shift in favour of fungi.

This can be achieved when a diversity of plants feed a diverse array of soil microbes. Grazing cattle in this system adds another layer of diversity and can speed up the process.

We are trying to figure out a cost effective way to establish these diverse mixes and how to capitalize on the soil improvements and potential increased gains on livestock.

Challenges have been trying to figure out how to do this in a no till system and keeping the weeds at bay with minimal chemical control.


Pea / Canola intercropping has been practiced successfully in western Canada for well over a decade.

We have been growing peas with canola for several years and are still honing this system which allows us to grow peas in an environment that is conducive to high levels of disease pressure.

Another intercrop that we are experimenting with is peas, winter wheat, hairy vetch. The main focus of this intercrop was to harvest hairy vetch seed.

Fall planted winter wheat with spring seeded peas has also shown good promise for a profitable low input crop.

Relay Cropping

Small scales experiments where done in 2017 showcasing the potential to grow a relay crop of annual forage or soybean within wide row cereal grains (winter wheat, oats, spring wheat.)

This experiment showed potential initially but a dry summer limited the late season growth of relay crop.

Cover Cropping

Winter cereals are planted whenever possible to provide late fall and early spring growth to keep soil biology fed.

It is challenging in our short growing season to establish a cover crop post harvest or prior to seeding in spring but winter cereals have shown value.

Mob Grazing

Mob grazing, or short-duration, high-intensity grazing, improves pasture while increasing stocking rate.

Typical grazing densities are around 40,000 pounds of beef per acre but we have grazed as high as 1,000,000 pounds of beef per acre which has shown rapid improvements to the pasture when coupled with long recovery periods.

Low Disturbance Zero Till

A John Deere 1890 seeder is used in conjunction with a Shelbourne Reynolds stripper header to minimize the soil disturbance in the field and spread residue evenly in the field.

The goal is that seeding and harvesting are the only field operations other than grazing done on an annual basis.

Corn Grazing

Corn grazing has proven to be the most cost effective way to winter cattle on our farm. Corn is left standing and sectioned off with temporary electric fence.

Corn is strip grazed so that cattle are given between 0.5 and 1.5 acres of corn per day depending on herd size and corn yield. This keeps the cattle from overloading on corn cobs and gives much better utilization of the entire corn plant.

Straw is provide free choice in a bale graze scenario and protein is supplemented with high protein hay as needed.

We are experimenting with different mixtures of annual forages that could potentially be used to replace corn as a cost effective winter long grazing option.  As we are focused on developing a cow herd that thrives on forage only, the corn grazing will be phased out of the production system in the near future.

Bale Grazing

Bale grazing is utilized as a means to bring in fertility to our system and dramatically increased forage production in subsequent years.

We have bale grazed moving cattle every two days and moved as infrequently as one month.

Success had been achieved with all classes of cattle bale grazing.