Improving soil stewardship on Manitoba organic farms with the Conservation Trust
The Manitoba Organic Alliance (MOA) has received funding from the Conservation Trust to improve soil stewardship on Manitoba organic farms. We will use a suite of interrelated activities, including a consultant agronomist program, cost-share funding, and farmer education through workshops and online videos to improve soil health practices. The targeted practices include integrating livestock with cropland, minimizing tillage, planting diverse cover crops and perennial plants, and improving crop rotations.
As a part of this project, we are partnering with the Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association to build a grazing exchange website to make it easier for livestock producers to connect with grain producers. Integrating livestock with crop and pastureland is becoming increasingly adopted by climate-friendly farmers who are building their soil health and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
Canada’s first organic grain check-off regulation
The Manitoba Organic Development Fund (MODF) board is comprised of organic grain producers elected at the last MOA AGM. MODF is heading Canada’s first organic grain check-off program, which has just been approved by the Manitoba Government and came into force August 12th, 2021. The regulation designates MOA, under the Agricultural Producers Organization Funding Act, as the recipient of a 0.5% levy at source on sales of organic cereals, pulses and oilseeds grown in the province.
The regulation requires grain buyers with offices in Manitoba that purchase organic grains to remit check-off fees to MOA on a quarterly basis. Buyers that do not have offices in Manitoba are asked to voluntarily remit the fees. The check-off comes into force immediately.
This is a groundbreaking initiative that will support and expand the organic community. Fees will be collected by organic buyers and remitted to MODF on a quarterly basis. Funds from these check-off fees will be dedicated to organic research, extension, and market development initiatives along with specific organic sector development activities.
On-Farm Wheat Variety Trials
MOA is conducting wheat variety trials on three organic farms this season. The objective of this project is to quantify the impact of variety on yield and baking quality of spring wheat grown under organic management practices. Five varieties of Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS) wheat were grown in a replicated randomized plot design. These are field-scale trials conducted using the farmers own equipment, total trial size on the three farms averaged about 55 acres. The five varieties grown are: AAC Brandon, AAC Starbuck, AAC Tisdale, Redberry and Cardale. Plant populations, vigour, disease, lodging, and height were measured throughout the summer, trials will be harvested in August and subsamples will be sent to La Milanaise for baking quality assessments. Thank you to La Milanaise, SeCan and Alliance Seed for providing project funding.
A Glance Across the Prairies: A Video Series by the Manitoba Organic Alliance
In lieu of in-person farm-tours this summer (due to Covid-19 restrictions) MOA had to get creative. We decided to put together a video series titled A Glance Across the Prairies which features farmers from across the province. These videos, some filmed by MOA staff and some sent in by farmers across the province, highlighted livestock integration, perennial planting, reduced tillage, improved crop rotations, and cover crops and are being posted on the Manitoba Organic Alliance YouTube page free for everyone! These videos are great educational resources for all farmers, organic or not, as they open our eyes to new, innovative methods of farming and allow farmers to share their knowledge of these methods.
Check out our some of our first videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBvWNmZ0CxM
Submitted by the Manitoba Organic Alliance, https://manitobaorganicalliance.com/