Dr. Paul Galpern is an Associate Professor at University of Calgary where he leads a research team studying sustainable agriculture in prairie croplands. He is a PI on the Prairie Precision Sustainability Network which maps unprofitable farmed land across Alberta and Saskatchewan to support its conversion to habitat. An active area of research is investigating the conditions where both agricultural and sustainability objectives can be achieved at the same time. He believes that such “win-wins” are well within reach in Prairie Canada.
Session Title: Unprofitable Acres – a Win for Profitability and a Win for Sustainability
How much benefit would producers receive by not farming unprofitable acres, and instead seeding them in forages? Evidence generated by Paul’s team at the University of Calgary suggests this could be a win-win: a win for profitability and a win for sustainability. Not seeding unprofitable acres could mean less money spent on inputs. Beneficial insects, like the natural enemies of pests are also more abundant when there is more non-crop vegetation near fields. Converting these acres to a forage mix therefore has big potential. Conversions are also likely to supply other ecosystem services, boost yield elsewhere on the field, rehabilitate soil for later return to annual cropping. Paul will review how his team's Prairie Precision Sustainability Network is using remote sensing and yield data to help producers do this across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.