Author: Kevin Elmy, PAg
What is soil health and why is it so important? In short, healthy soil allows farmers to continue to produce our food safely and inexpensively, so it is vitally important to all of us and generations to come. Cover Cropping in Western Canada provides essential information for farmers who want to increase the fertility of their fields for increased production. While cover cropping is, as the author states, “not a silver bullet,” it is an important part of a whole system approach that can play a central part in bringing agricultural fields renewed health. For those who haven’t considered cover cropping, this easy-to-read reference guide offers basic information about the common issues that impact agricultural land and some strategies to improve its health. For those who are ready to consider cover cropping options, this compact reference guide provides detailed data about sixty-one species that can be planted to fulfill the producer’s goals. To complement goals and species selection, Cover Cropping in Western Canada discusses options for grain farming, benefits of grazing and generating hay and silage, the role cover crops can play in erosion control, nutrient building, nitrogen fixation, weed suppression, and more.
Cover Cropping in Western Canada will help producers incorporate cover cropping into their production systems with confidence. The references discussed are observations from Western Canada but can be applied anywhere. Producers will understand how to set goals, pick appropriate species to meet those goals, and create a management plan to effectively integrate cover crops into their rotations. This is a must-have reference for producers who want to increase soil health and to help control greenhouse gas emissions.
Kevin Elmy, PAg is a third-generation farmer who started researching better ways to farm in 1999. In 2000, he and his family started using soil health principles on their farm, and in 2009, they started using cover crops. By building healthy soil, they have been able to reduce synthetic inputs to the land dramatically while maintaining yields. Based on his personal experience and much research, Mr. Elmy offers Cover Cropping in Western Canada to his peers with the hope that they will find it useful in their agricultural production and management.
Mr. Elmy lives on his family’s farm near Saltcoats, Saskatchewan, with his wife, Christina.