Things to con­sider when grow­ing new crops

Moose Jaw - - News - By Ron Wal­ter For Agri-Mart Ex­press Ron Wal­ter can be reached at ron­joy@sask­

Lower prices of c o mmon crops and at­trac­tive re­turns of less grown and lesser known crops can at­tract pro­ducer in­ter­est. An Al­berta Agriculture bul­letin sug­gests some mat­ters farm­ers should ex­plore be­fore sow­ing acres into new crops like flax, camelina, pulses and hemp. The first step in­volves fig­ur­ing out the costs of pro­duc­tion and whether costs and ex­pected yield will re­turn a profit. The bul­letin says it is ex­tremely im­por­tant to grow crops that are prof­itable and ac­cept­able to bankers as well as the farmer seed­ing. What hap­pens to prof­its if yields or prices are lower than planned? Sug­ges­tion for farm­ers with crops new to them is to start small: learn how to grow that crop, what bugs may cut into yields. Per­haps more im­por­tant, find out if there is a mar­ket for this crop. Get a con­tract to mar­ket some or all of the crop be­fore you seed. About 15 years ago some Prairie farm­ers tried spice crops like bor­age and car­away seed whose global acres run in the 20,000. One Assini­boia farmer grew a three-year sup­ply of one spice crop in one har­vest. Cer­tain crops like hemp or or­gan­ics require grower cer­ti­fi­ca­tion by po­lice or or­ganic agen­cies, reg­u­lar in­spec­tions and piles of pa­per­work. Some pulse crops need less fer­til­izer and pro­duce more ni­tro­gen for the next year’s acres, but mar­ket prices may be im­pacted by im­port tar­iffs as with peas to In­dia.

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