March 14, 2019 9:10 pm

Southern Alberta farmers learn about soil health to improve crop quality

WATCH ABOVE: A group of southern Alberta farmers met on Thursday to discuss ways to improve soil quality to help grow better crops. Chris Chacon has the story.

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A group of Southern Alberta farmers met at the Mans Organics farm near Coaldale with the goal of improving the regeneration of soil to improve crop qualities.

“The idea behind this event is really to spread some of the word on different practices than what we would call conventional agriculture,” said Andrew Mans, the farm’s co-owner.

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“A lot of it has to do with the five soil health principals: one being putting armour of litter around the surface, protecting the surface, and then diversity,” said Jay Fuhrer, a soil specialist wit the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“And then how do we limit disturbance, and then how do we bring in continual live plant that’s usually like a cover crop, and how do we bring in live stocks?”

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They’re key guidelines that Fuhrer doesn’t just teach, but also follows as a long-time farmer himself. He also shares how most soils in North America are carbon-deficient — a big issue when growing quality crops.

“The task becomes: how do we replace this carbon, how do we add carbon back in, how do we put in more carbon that we take out?” Fuhrer added.

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There were also demonstrations on several practices to improve soil health and measure carbon levels.

“We’re learning some tools, and relatively some simple things we can go home and get our hands on our soil, take a shovel and actually do basically what we call our own testing,” Mans said.

This event has seen a boost in popularity and attendance.  Although a theme isn’t selected for next year, plans are already underway for another event to supporting agriculture within the region.

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