Local farmers to offer insights on intercropping in NDSU field tour

North Dakota State University Extension
Tour speaker Nathan Neameyer will discuss practices he has adopted on his farm to improve soil health, including intercropping soybeans and canola, and planting soybeans green into rye.

North Dakota State University Extension will host an on-farm field tour July 27 in Pierce and Rolette counties highlighting local farmers’ experiences with intercropping.

The tour will start at 2 p.m. at Lee Farms located at 5350 78th Street NE, Bisbee, North Dakota, 58317, and will end at 5:30 p.m. three miles west of the Hwy 30 and 66 intersection at 8557 51st Avenue, Mylo, North Dakota, 58353.

“Intercropping is the growing of two crops together in the same field and harvesting them for grain at the same time,” says Audrey Kalil, plant pathologist at the Williston Research Extension Center and one of the event co-hosts. “North Dakota farmers are exploring intercropping for its potential to help manage diseases and reduce input costs.”

The tour will start at Lee Farms, where grower Paul Overby has been working on intercropping since 2019. This year Overby is planting field pea and canola together, one of the combinations many farmers start with when adopting intercropping.

Growing a pea-canola intercrop can help facilitate pea harvest as pea vines climb up the canola stems and thus reduce pea lodging. This combination also has the advantage of being easy to separate due to the very different sizes of pea and canola seeds.

Overby also will showcase a field with cover crops interseeded into wheat, so the covers are already growing after wheat harvest, and a field planted to sunflower and a species mix selected to support pollinators.

The tour will end near Mylo, North Dakota, where Nathan Neameyer will discuss practices he has adopted on his farm to improve soil health, including intercropping soybeans and canola and planting soybeans green into rye. Neameyer also will discuss how he separates seed of intercrops post-harvest.

Nathan has five years of experience with intercropping and has grown a variety of crop combinations including soybean, flax, faba bean, flax, soybean and canola.

Attendees will see intercropping in action and be able to ask questions of current practitioners. The tour also will be a unique opportunity for participants to discuss how they have adapted their equipment and operations to plant, manage, harvest and separate two crops simultaneously.

A supper will be provided. Attendees are asked to register online at ndsu.ag/intercropping to help plan the meal.

This field tour is made possible with support from the Rolette County Soil Conservation District and an Extension Risk Management Education grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

For questions about the event, contact Anitha Chirumamilla, NDSU Extension cropping systems specialist at the Langdon Research Extension Center at 701-256-2582 or anitha.chirumamilla@ndsu.edu.