Grain on the Brain Podcast

Tune in each month as we’re joined by an industry expert and farmer to discuss important issues in organic grain farming.

We bring the resources, tools, and expertise you need to get growing

Tune in each month as we’re joined by an industry expert and farmer to discuss important issues in organic grain farming.

Podcast Episodes

Season 1, Episode 5 – Organic Grain Transition: If I Knew Then What I Know Now

Transitioning organic grain farmer, Alex Boersch from Elie, MB, interviews Alan McKenzie, an experienced organic grain farmer from Nesbitt, MB. With host Scott Beaton, they discusses strategies, perceptions, challenges, and opportunities of transitioning into organic grain. (53.11 minutes)

Guest Bios:

Alex Boersch has a bachelor and Masters in Agri-Business and science from INP Purpan (University in Touluse, France). He has worked for two years in Toronto for DG Global Inc as a grain trader and moved back to the farm July of 2017. The farm was founded in 1988 by his father Andreas Boersch, who emigrated from Cologne, Germany. They farm 5000 acres and are transitioning 500 acres of land into organic.

Alan McKenzie farms in Nesbitt, MB on a 4000 acre mixed cattle and grain organic farm. Alan began transitioning his farm to organic production in 2002 and since 2011 his whole farm including his cattle operation are certified organic. Alan works for diversity on his farm, growing a variety of grain crops including inter-crops, hemp and other cereals. His cattle are used to graze cover crops on the farm.

Resources discussed in this episode:

Season 1, Episode 4 – Managing Weeds in Organic Crops

Brenda Frick, organic expert on weeds in organic cropping , talks about practical and helpful tips for managing weeds in organic cropping. With host Scott Beaton, she discusses how to prevent and manage those tough weeds like Canada Thistle and Bind Weed. (37.31 minutes)

Guest Bio:

Brenda Frick is a partner in Resilient Solutions Consulting. Brenda has a wealth of experience in organic research extension having authored many resources for organics along with an expertise in managing weeds in organic cropping systems. She shares this as an instructor of an online organic weeds class through the University of Saskatchewan Brenda is also one of the experts behind Pivot and Grow’s 1-800 ‘Ask an Expert’. Call her with your questions about organics.

Resources discussed in this episode:

Season 1, Episode 3 – How to Take Soil and Plant Tissue Samples

Organic grain expert Joanne Thiessen Martens talks about taking soil samples and plant tissue samples and how it can help you make management decisions on your farm. (33.25 minutes)

Guest Bio:

Joanne Thiessen Martens grew up on a small mixed farm at Austin, Manitoba. She earned a B. Sc. In Agroecology at the University of Manitoba in 1999 and has since been working in the area of sustainable and ecological agriculture. For much of this time, Joanne has been a part of Dr. Martin Entz’s research team in the Department of Plant Science at the University of Manitoba. Her recent areas of focus include cover cropping, integrated crop-livestock systems, and farming systems design.

Resources discussed in this episode:

Season 1, Episode 2 – Marketing Organic Grain 101

Scott Beaton, Manitoba Organic Producer; Ian Cushon, Saskatchewan Organic Producer; and Scott Shiels, Organic Grain Procurement Manager, Grain Millers discuss the key principles, considerations, barriers, and opportunities to marketing transitioning and organic grains. (27.11 minutes)

Guest Bios:

Ian Cushon has farmed organically for 30 years producing a wide variety of field crops including row cropping organic sunflowers in the 1990s to soybeans in 2016. Ian has used mechanical weed control including rod weeders, tine harrows, tine weeders and rotary hoes. Mechanical weed control is an important option in some crops, but strong crop rotations and cultural weed management are the foundation of productive organic crops on the prairies. Ian and wife Jo-Anne, operate Moose Creek Organic Farm near Oxbow, in Southeast Saskatchewan. They have two children Liam 16 and Anna 14.

Scott Shiels works with Grain Millers as the Procurement Manager and has experience as a grain buyer handling the procurement of grains into the mill in Yorkton. He works with the US procurement team on other commodities that they source from Canada.

Resources discussed in this episode:

Season 1, Episode 1 – Crop Rotation Strategies

Scott Beaton, Manitoba Organic Producer, and Katherine Stanley, Organic Extension Specialist at the University of Manitoba’s Natural Systems Agriculture, discuss strategies for designing organic crop rotations that build soil fertility, manage weeds and prevent disease and pests. (32.31 minutes)

Bio: Katherine Stanley is a Research Associate at the University of Manitoba’s Natural Systems Agriculture. She has a MSc. in plant science from the University of Saskatchewan and a B.Sc. in Agroecology from the University of Manitoba. Her research focuses largely on organic agronomy and weed management and extension work has allowed her to work with agronomists and organic farmers across the prairies.

Resources discussed in this episode:

CREDITS

Host: Scott Beaton | Producers: Dana Penrice, Iris Vaisman, Cari Hartt, and Tierra Stokes

Grain on the Brain is a podcast of the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative