Saskatchewan Provincial Survey Organic Agriculture Research Priorities
SaskOrganics’ Releases Organic Research Priorities Report
Regina (November 12, 2019) SaskOrganics surveyed its members to learn basic information about organic producers in Saskatchewan and their research needs in order to enhance their organic production. The Saskatchewan Provincial Organic Agriculture Research Priorities Report describes the most pressing research needs from organic producers’ perspective and makes recommendations regarding the future research focus in organic production.Dunling Wang PhD PAg, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture’s Alternative Cropping Systems Specialist and Chair of the SaskOrganics’ Research Committee said “the survey was a very successful joint venture between SaskOrganics and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. Close to twenty per cent (20%) of the organic producers in the province participated in the survey demonstrating their support for the initiative.”
Wang went on to say “the research priorities identified by the organic producers accurately reflect the challenges that today’s organic farming is facing in terms of field crop production, risk management, marketing, and related environmental and socioeconomic concerns”.
Based on the survey results, ten subject areas have been identified by organic producers in Saskatchewan as their top research priorities:
- Improve soil health and fertility: build and restore soil health by growing cover crops/green manure and diversifying crop rotation to balance soil nutrient supply.
- Develop weed prevention techniques: develop weed prevention techniques and methods in control perennial weeds, including Canada thistle, bindweed, quack grass and others.
- Increase soil biodiversity: maximize soil biodiversity through crop rotations that incorporate cover crops, green manure and intercropping.
- Manage crop rotation: incorporate cover crops, green manure and intercropping to increase resilience of the farming systems to suppress weeds, pest and diseases.
- Adopt environmentally friendly farming system: provide better ecosystem services that promote the health of bees and other pollinators, diversify soil biology, protect water quality and reduce energy use.
- Build climate resilient ecosystems: increase agroecosystem functions by increasing carbon sequestration and helping retain soil moisture and improve nutrient cycling.
- Understand organic food: improve understanding of nutritional quality, health benefits and maintain integrity of organic products.
- Expand organic marketing: focus on continued expansion of international markets, support development of regional and national buyers to open business, as well as local farm market.
- Increase cropping system resistance: increase biodiversity and develop system resistance to pests and diseases through crop rotation, cover crops and intercropping.
- Breed organic crops: develop new crop varieties to enhance performance in adverse conditions and increase resistance to diseases and pests.
SaskOrganics will circulate The Saskatchewan Provincial Organic Agriculture Research Priorities Report to researchers and funding agencies. The Report will help government and university researchers identify research projects that meet the needs of organic producers. The Report will also provide guidance to funding agencies when making decisions on what research and extension activities should be funded to effectively improve organic production in the province and beyond.
For more information about SaskOrganics and the organic sector in Saskatchewan visit www.saskorganics.org.
Marla Carlson, Executive Director