Intercropping, i.e. growing two or more crops together on the same field, can improve fertility and yield, reduce disease and the increased diversity can help build resilience. Not all crops grow well together, though, so it takes some work to figure out how to be a successful intercrop farmer. Scott Chalmers from WADO started trying out different intercrops in 2009 and gives us some good tips on what to try and how to work out if and when intercropping can work on your farm.
The WADO annual report with its 2020 results can be found here:
You can also use their search tool to find the results from all the trials they’ve conducted over the past decade.
Southeast research farm in Redvers SK also does lots of intercropping research:
Our podcast is supported by generous donations and sponsorships. This episode was funded in part by the Canada and Manitoba governments through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership and the Prairie Organic Development Fund as well as our sponsors. We produced this episode in partnership with the Westman Agricultural Diversification Organization or WADO to focus on intercropping. WADO is an applied crop research group in Melita Manitoba with a producer board of directors, whose operating funding is provided by the Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP) and Agriculture Sustainability Initiative (ASI). Scott Chalmers is a provincial employee who manages the activities and research. Each year they publish an annual report, which can be found on the Manitoba Diversification Centre's website:
You can find their new 2020 report & results and information about their annual field days usually held in July. They usually have 40-50 research projects, covering 2500 plots just at WADO and do lots of work over the years with intercrops, relay crops. They collaborate with commodity groups, AAFC, Universities, corporations, strategic funding initiatives, and private entities.
Scott grew up on a small mixed farm operation near Carroll, MB. Scott completed his B.Sc. (Honours) degree at Brandon University in botany and chemistry in 2004. Scott worked at AAFC in Brandon, MB as a summer student with the plant pathology team headed by Dr. Debbie McLaren. Scott also managed the non-profit South East Research Farm, located near Redvers, SK, for three years until spring of 2007. Scott started working with Manitoba Agriculture as a Diversification Technician out of the Melita-Ag office 2007 conducting applied crop research and demonstrations at Westman Agricultural Diversification Organization (WADO). Scott then moved into the Diversification Specialist position in 2014 and continues to manage the WADO research program. Scott resides in Reston with his wife Tanis and two kids. Scott takes an interest in homebrewing, and intensive no till gardening.