As an organic seed company we have a firm interest in placing organic forage seed acres in Western Canada. Yes, there are challenges in terms of weeds and fertility. However, the downsides are limited as both legume and perennial grass crops add to soil structure and long term fertility.
It is incumbent that we learn and grow as an industry. There is an old saying that is so true in organic agriculture, “If you are managing the same way – you are really falling behind” and “If it did not work the first time don’t expect different results the second time around”.
At IFS we are involved in the production of a variety of organic seed crops including: alfalfa, sweet clover, red clover, alsike clover, timothy, and tall fescue. Additionally, we support the growth of new crops in the organic industry:
Black medic, Medicago lupalina – is a promising crop. It has been grown widely in Montana organic farms but has not caught on here in the Canadian prairies due to poor seed distribution and no one promoting the crop.
Phacelia tanacetifolia or Purple Tansy, is another crop where we see solid potential. It is not a traditional forage crop, but a green manure crop used extensively in Europe. Any organic farmers that have bees should work with this crop as it produces abundant nectar and is excellent for the soil. We see good usage in both Europe and the USA.
Contracting has to be done early as some of the planting seed is in Europe and it is first come –first serve basis. It is good to think about these crops well in advance of planting.
IFS Organic Certification
The inoculant used by IFS for the legumes is also certified organic: