The Agronomists, Ep 74: Scott Chalmers and Greg Vermeersch on relay and intercropping


How do we increase our diversity with the same amount of land? One consideration is relay or intercropping. Although they are often used in the same discussions, it’s important to remember they are two different things.

Leading us through tonight’s episode of The Agronomists is host Lyndsey Smith, and guests Greg Vermeersch of VanMeer Farms, and Scott Chalmers, diversification specialist with the Westman Agricultural Diversification Organization.

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  • Really dry where Greg is.
  • Meanwhile, Scott went from drought, to extreme wet. It’s all looking super green right now…growing is good.
  • Intercropping and relay cropping are similar, but definitely not the same.
  • Relay crop is seeding one crop before another is done so it’s always got something living in the soil.
  • Intercropping is one where you seed and harvest two different crops at the same time
  • Canola and peas seem to work well together, because separate easy at harvest.
  • Rural internet you guys. Argh!
  • The peas just naturally put a rhizosphere of nitrogen around the canola.
  • Relay cropping is a way to diversify your rotation, while still making some money

CLIP 1: Bushy wheat and relay beans — a LIVE! Q&A with Jason Mauck

  • Beans always go in before the corn, if you ask Greg
  • Separating the crop after harvest, no matter what you are intercropping, is always a question. How do you manage that?
  • Is there only so much internet on the Fourth of July?
  • There’s yields per acre, and then there’s also profit per acre. They can be different.
  • 24 hours before they plant the beans, they spray. They are able keep things pretty clean that way.

CLIP 2: Wheat School: Relay intercropping trials and tribulations

  • Will the 20 bushel beans pay bills? It’s a bit tight, says
  • They aren’t making more land…so what are you doing to be innovative and competitive?
  • Is disease an increasing concern for intercropping? Yes.
  • Harvesting is one of the highest challenges to relay cropping as well.
  • With intercropping, you can sometimes feel like you are getting a dirty product. Everyone in the business arena wants consistency.
  • Separation costs can be high, too.
  • In some situations, there has been a 60 per cent yield increase by intercropping.
  • It would be nice to bring in some longer rotation items intercropping as well.

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The Agronomists (view all)Season 3 (2022) Episode 22

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