b'COVER CROP CORNERFEELING THE PAIN OF HIGH INPUT COSTS?COVER CROPS COULD BE THE ANSWERPROFIT IS DERIVED from the excess of incomeInstead of relying on in-crop fungicides, over expenses. To increase profit, one wouldcompost teas can replace fungicide applica-either increase gross income or decreasetions. By increasing the amount of good gross expenses. In todays environment withbiology on the leaves and stems, you will high commodity prices, high input levels fol- place biological material on the plants that lowed. The question is, how do we cash inwill help suppress disease-causing organisms. on high commodity prices and reduce inputThese fungicides clean the leaf by remov-costs? ing a large amount of materials that can lead Kevin Elmy Fertilizer is one of the largest expenses onto future infections. By creating a healthy Elmy is founder of Covermost farms, especially nitrogen. Australianimmune system in the plant, you help the Crops Canada. His booksoil ecologist Dr. Christine Jones reportsdisease levels to stay under control.Cover Cropping in Westernthere is approximately 440 MT of nitrogenThe way to keep soil biology alive and Canada is availableover each square metre of earth. By utilizingfunctioning is to have a continuously living through Friesen Press,legumes with proper inoculants in both mon- root of a plant in the vegetative stage. Plants Amazon, and digitallyoculture and polycrop situations, we providein the vegetative stage will release up to 80% through Apple Books,the opportunity to fix atmospheric nitrogenof the carbon they capture through photosyn-Kindle, and Google Play.and create plant available nitrogen. thesis as root exudates. These root exudates For more info on CoverPolycropping or intercropping is thewill feed the soil microbiology which then Crops Canada visitpractice of growing two or more cash cropsreacts to the plants nutrient requirements.covercrops.ca together. By growing a legume with otherOne of the spinoffs is the vegetative plants cash crops, we help reduce the amount ofwill also help suppress weeds. Weeds are nitrogen that is required to be purchased.ecologically pioneering plants, meaning they Utilizing species that are mycorrhizallythrive with excess nutrients. The vegetative friendly and require lower amounts of nitro- plant will help tie up nutrients, preventing gen in the intercrop situation may provide allthem from building up in forms the weeds the required nitrogen for the mix. can use.Phosphate is the other must have inThere are some cost-effective ways to fertilizer application. Again, utilizing natureshelp your bottom line by using cover crops intelligence and using intercropping canand intercropping. Building and supporting reduce the need for phosphate fertilizer.soil biology is the answer to many of todays Nature has through centuries of evolutionagricultural issues, especially building up of developed a beautiful system of makingmycorrhizae fungi. Our soils are dominated nutrients available. by bacteria which creates a system that is One of the keys to proper nutrient cyclingdependent on inputs.is mycorrhizal fungi, especially for non- Budgets need to reflect net dollars per mobile nutrients like phosphate. Having myc- acre over a rotation, not just individual years. orrhizal plants from different functional plantThis will create a sustainable future, environ-groups, namely grass, legumes and broadleafmentally and economically. plants, helps the the soil maximize microbes that increase the soil-available phosphate.42GERMINATION.CAJANUARY 2022'