Intercropping featured at North Central Research Extension Center Field Tour

NDSU Extension
Farm Forum

Intercropping, weed control and enhancing field pea protein are a few of the topics being featured during the July 18 field tour at the North Dakota State University North Central Research Extension Center near Minot.

The tour starts at 8:30 a.m.

The current outlook of continued low market prices is forcing farmers to review and revise their production practices, according to Eric Eriksmoen, research agronomist at the center.

“Part of our mission is to identify and help in the development of new crops, varieties and management practices,” he says. “Intercropping is simply growing two or more crops together in the same field. We know Native Americans grew corn and beans together, and this practice continues today on small plot farms in many parts of the world.”

Center scientists are studying 34 different intercropping combinations. They include chickpeas and flax, field peas and canola, and faba beans and carinata.

“Planting multiple crops together is fairly simple,” Eriksmoen says. “Weed control, harvesting and seed separation are more complicated. In the end, there has to be a compelling reason for farmers to do this practice, such as increasing yields, suppressing diseases or reducing fertilizer inputs.”

Other farm-related topics that will be discussed on this year’s tour include:

• Weed control in canola and pulse crops.

• Enhancing field pea protein.

• Managing soil salinity and hay land reclamation.

In addition, NDSU Extension is hosting a crop pest diagnostic clinic. Producers are encouraged to bring in plant samples. They’ll also have an opportunity to have one-on-one consultations with experts on weed, insect and disease control issues.

“The economics of farming is changing rapidly with high input costs and commodity prices that continue to be volatile,” Eriksmoen says. “Like any business, farmers need to maintain their competitive edge, and that’s the objective of this event.”

The tour is free of charge. The center is one mile south of Minot on U.S. Highway 83.