2019 Red River Soil Health Summit


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Here you will find additional information on the 2019 Red River Soil Health Summit. This is the first year we hope of many for the Summit. Our goal for this conference is to build awareness and share ideas revolving around the subject of soil health in the Red River Valley. This conference is as much for  producers as it is for those who support them including suppliers, agronomists, government and university extension.  

When it comes to soil health, it is important to consider not only short term production  goals but also long term effects. We have to take inventory of where we are now and also look at where we want to be in the future to ensure long term sustainability.

Join us as we explore our current challenges and discuss the merits of new ideas with the potential to make us more sustainable both now and into the future.

Brunel and Jennifer Sabourin


Click here for the 2019 Soil Health Workshop Agenda

Agenda and Presentation Outlines

Date: Monday April 1st, 2019

8:00am-8:30am  – Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30am-9:30am  – Make soil great again!

David Lobb, Department of Soil Science, University of Manitoba

Recent assessments of soil degradation and its cost to agriculture in Canada indicate that soil conservation efforts have fallen far short of expectations. There are a variety of soil management practices available to farmers that can be implemented to rebuild soil productivity and profitability to ensure the sustainability of farms and the industry, particularly in the face of a changing climate.

9:30am-10:15am – It’s More than Dirt. What makes a Healthy Soil?

Marla Riekman, Soil Management Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Plant life relies on soil to provide to adequate levels of air, water and nutrients. Healthy soils are more resilient to moisture extremes and provide a medium favorable to root development. Organic matter helps retain moisture and nutrients. Healthy soils support many biological processes that break down organic materials into useable nutrients. Join Marla as she discusses the merits of soil structure, aggregation, microbial life and more.

10:15am-10:45am – Break

10:45am-11:30am – Experiences with CTF and Zero-Till in Manitoba

Adam Gurr, Agritruth Research, Rapid City, MB

Under conventional farming practices, 80-90% of a field will see a wheel track over the course of a growing season. Controlled Traffic Farming incorporates permanent wheel tracks in each field (tram lines); the crop zones and traffic lanes are permanently separated. Reduced compaction results in better water infiltration and improved root growth. Zero-till has also been shown to make soils more resilient. Adam will discuss his experiences incorporating controlled traffic and zero till practices on his farm.

11:30am-12:15pm – Alternate Planting Options for Unproductive Areas

Naeem Kalwar, Extension Soil Health Specialist, Langdon, ND

With dry conditions and limited rainfall over the last 2 growing seasons, many producers in the area are dealing with increasing soil salinity. Under dry conditions, soil water is pulled to the surface bringing with it unwanted salts. One of the best strategies for dealing with salinity is managing you water table to allow rainfall to leach salts out of the root zone. Having a green cover is preferred to leaving soils bare. Join Naeem in discussing alternate cropping options for unproductive, saline-sodic areas.

12:15pm-1:00pm – Lunch

1:00pm-2:00pm  – Interactive Table Top Demonstrations

  • The Amazing Rain and Snow Show: Indoor Edition – Mitch Timmerman
  • 4R Fertilizer Management for Reduced Tillage Systems – John Heard
  • In-Field Measurements for Soil Structure – Curtis Cavers
  • Are Your Residues (Re)cycling their Nitrogen? – Marla Riekman
  • Field Variability; 10,000 Years in the Making– Wes Anderson

2:00pm-2:45pm – Strip-till: Best of Both Worlds?

Yvonne Lawley, Department of Plant Science, University of Manitoba

Successfully implementing zero-till practices in our clay soils can pose a significant challenge. How do you deal with a large amount of residue that when left on the surface, can delay seeding operations? Strip tillage is a practice that prepares bands of black soil that warm up faster and facilitate earlier seeding. How does strip till compare to traditional farming practices in Manitoba? Yvonne will share some of her recent research and a few of her experiences in dealing with cover crops.

2:45pm-3:00pm – Break

3:00-3:45pm – Measuring Soil Health – Current and Future

John Lee, Soil Scientist, AGVISE Labs, Northwood, ND

What is soil health and how can we measure or monitor it? There are many physical, biological and chemical properties used to describe soil health. John will help us sort through some of the current soil health testing methods and potential future soil health testing methods.

3:45-4:00pm STARS Air Ambulance, Supporting the Mission

Jean-Paul Berard, Flight Paramedic, STARS Air Ambulance

4:00pm-4:20pm – Closing Remarks – Where Do We Go From Here?

Brunel Sabourin, Antara Agronomy



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Click on the following link to download a PDF version of the poster:

2019 Red River Soil Health Summit