Evaluating the potential of a winter canola-soybean relay intercrop in Ontario
Pager, E.R., M. Gras, F. Tardif, M. Moran, J. Nasielski. 2021. Evaluating the potential of a winter canola-soybean relay intercrop in Ontario. Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Agronomy, Halifax, N.S., November 14-17.
Relay intercropping is the practice of two crops grown in the field simultaneously throughout a
growing season. A second crop is planted into an initial crop that is already established. The first
crop then comes to maturity and is harvested prior to the second being harvested. To date, no
prior research has been done in Ontario or elsewhere looking at relay intercropping soybean with winter canola. Given the economic potential of these crops, there is an opportunity to enhance the
sustainability and profitability of cropping systems in Ontario. Through this research project, we
will be studying the effectiveness of a winter canola-soybean relay intercrop by evaluating the
agronomic factors that may drive its success. Spring fertility and winter canola seeding rate are two
factors that will be evaluate. Winter canola is planted in the fall at two densities on 30 inch or wide
row spacing. Two spring fertilizer treatments, with and without spring fertilizer, will then be
applied to the canola prior to planting soybeans between the canola rows. Throughout the growing
season measurements will be taken on both crops to evaluate their phenology and physiology.
Finally, yield will be taken to determine the success of the system. These studies will be carried out
over the 2022 and 2023 growing seasons in four locations across south-western Ontario. The
results of this research will not only evaluate the profitability and practicality of relay intercropping
soybean with winter canola but it will also offer new insights into the agronomic factors that may
help to determine the success of this alternative cropping system.