NPARA Projects

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The Peace Region Living Lab is a strategy from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada to promote the use of best management practices in agriculture in various agricultural field zones across the country. The idea is to create a data compilation of parameters observed in growers field and use this data to compare and assess the impact of sustainable versus conventional agricultural practices.

As part of the living labs project, NPARA monitors these parameters over ten fields in total, five of them are conventionally managed and the other five follow BMP practices.

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The County of Northern Lights (the County) and the North Peace Applied Research Association (NPARA) have maintained an ongoing water quality monitoring program in the Notikewin and Keg rivers since 2011. The study was designed and implemented by Aquality Environmental Consulting Ltd. (Aquality). The purpose of the study was to gather baseline water quality information for a complete suite of parameters, for future planning of land use and environmental management activities on the two rivers, and to determine water quality for use as a drinking and agricultural water source.

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In collaboration with the Peace Region Living Lab project, we are demonstrating how different cropping systems affect growth, yield, soil health and weed control to see which BMP strategies could be successful in the Peace Region.

This trial will explore the practice of seeding ryegrass, fall rye, winter wheat and winter triticale into a newly seeded wheat crop. We will use GPS and RTK to align the drills so that the winter crops are seeded mid row. We will also look at 2 seeding rates for the winter crop. The light rate should still improve soil health but not steal moisture and nutrients from the following crop. The heavier seeding rate should improve soil health and still provide a strong crop the next year.

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In collaboration with the Peace Region Living Lab project, we are demonstrating how different cropping systems affect growth, yield, soil health and weed control to see which BMP strategies could be successful in the Peace Region.

Objectives:

1. To build off previous research in the peace and to further identify which cereal or oilseed crop performs best with the most successful legume crops currently grown in the Peace region (field peas). Economic analysis will consider crop yield, market price, input costs, labor, and seed separation.
2. To investigate the optimum amount of N fertilizer required for intercrops in the Peace region.
3. To evaluate weed control, fertility, soil health and economics.

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In collaboration with the Peace Region Living Lab project, we are demonstrating how different cropping systems affect growth, yield, soil health and weed control to see which BMP strategies could be successful in the Peace Region.

Our companion cropping trial involves seeding three different types of annual clover with either canola or wheat:

  • Crimson clover
  • White clover
  • Subterranean clover

Objectives:

1. Investigate if the establishment and growth of annual clover species sown previously to main cash crops such as wheat and canola.
2. Determine which method provides the best establishment of both annual clover species and cash crop: seed drill or broadcast.
3. To evaluate weed control, fertility, soil health and economics.

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Objective: To determine the long-term impact of HumaTerra Regenerative Ag microbial bio-inoculants (H-Start products) on soil and crop agronomic parameters as compared to conventional fertility regimes.

This trial will:

  • Demonstrate the effects of furrow applying the H-Start pelletized microbial soil bio-inoculants at seeding on a range of agronomic parameters like soil health/structure, crop yield, health and quality.
  • Demonstrate the effects of applying the H-Start pelletized microbial soil bio-inoculants compared to a typical fertilizer application at reduced (75%) and full (100%) recommended rates.
  • Test the use of new biological /soil DNA scalable methods in combination with physical/chemical analyses of the soil to assess the evolution of the health, ecological and sustainability parameters and functions of the soil.