Diverse annual plantings and their contribution to forage yield and soil improvement
Multi-species plantings, also known as polycultures, are expected to have several ecosystem benefits based on the varying contributions from different plants. Potential benefits include increased nutrient cycling, increased soil moisture retention, increased forage yield, decreased soil compaction, and decreased weed communities. Local Saskatchewan producers and groups have implemented multi-species plantings with great success, and this project attempts to build on this anecdotal evidence to not only quantify the impact of polycultures, but to also determine what makes a mixture more or less effective in a particular environment. Our preliminary results suggest that increased crop species richness and functional group richness have many benefits including increased biomass production and decreased weed and insect abundance.
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