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Book: Challenges and Strategies of Dryland Agriculture
Published by: Crop Science Society of America and American Society of Agronomy

 

This chapter in CHALLENGES AND STRATEGIES OF DRYLAND AGRICULTURE

  1.  p. 113-138
    CSSA Special Publication 32.
    Challenges and Strategies of Dryland Agriculture

    Srinivas C. Rao and John Ryan (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-611-3

     

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doi:10.2135/cssaspecpub32.c8

Dryland Agriculture on the Canadian Prairies: Current Issues and Future Challenges

  1. Francis J. Larney,
  2. H. Henry Janzen,
  3. Elwin G. Smith and
  4. Darwin W. Anderson
  1. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Centre1 Lethbridge, Alberta
    University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Abstract

During its short existence on the Canadian prairies, dryland agriculture has faced formidable challenges from drought and wind erosion. Conservation tillage practices, widely adopted by farmers in the 1990s, have reduced the reliance on summer fallow and enhanced soil quality. Additionally, simple wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)-fallow rotations have evolved into longer more diverse ones which include oilseed and pulse crops. While the old challenges of drought and wind erosion will always be part of dryland farming on the Canadian prairies, new and emerging challenges include protection of water quality and ecosystem health, integration of the livestock sector, reduced reliance on the use of agrochemicals, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, climate change adaptation, and farming in a global economy. Tackling these challenges will ensure that dryland prairie agriculture will continue to provide much of Canada's primary and value-added food production in a cost-efficient way to meet future demands of an increasing world population.

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