Cover Crop Capabilities – Producer and Researcher Experiences


Cover crop in Saltcoats, SK. Photo courtesy of Kevin Elmy .

Forage cover crops are annual or biennial plants that farmers seed, often in mixes, in order to “cover” the soil. Also known as cocktail crops or polycrops, producers often seed these blends to accomplish goals like increasing production, reducing evaporation, improving soil biology, providing pollination opportunities, increasing natural nutrient cycling, and providing forage.

As with any practice that gains momentum quickly and offers so much promise, there are some risks and rewards. Read how three producers and one researcher have earned practical experience through trial and error, as well as applied and scientific research. At the end of each profile they share some pointers learned along the way.

Blair Williamson
Lambton Shores, Ontario

Blair Williamson is a purebred beef farmer who has been gaining experience with cover cropping the past few years by working with his uncle. He rents pasture and incorporates cover crops and crop residue before or after traditional cash crops are grown and harvested. Continue reading

Applications open for the Beef Researcher Mentorship Program

Applications for the 2020-21 term of the BCRC Beef Researcher Mentorship Program are now being accepted.  The deadline to apply is May 1, 2020.


2019 Mentees and BCRC staff met with Cherie Copithorne-Barnes to discuss some challenges and opportunities in Canadian beef production.

Four researchers were selected to participate in the program this past year. Each was paired with two mentors – an innovative producer and another industry expert – for a one year term (ending July 31, 2020). Each of the researchers have reported very successful and valuable experiences through the opportunities provided, including:

  • Establishing partnerships with industry and other researchers to further their research programs
  • Meeting several producers and industry leaders with whom they ask questions and have meaningful discussions about cattle production, beef quality and safety, and the Canadian beef value chain
  • Attending industry events and touring farms and ranches to better understand the impacts, practicalities and economics of adopting research results



The BCRC is excited to continue the program and invite applications from upcoming and new applied researchers in Canada whose studies are of value to the beef industry, such as cattle health and welfare, beef quality, food safety, genetics, feed efficiency, or forages. A new group of participants will begin their mentorships on August 1st.

The Beef Researcher Mentorship Program launched in August 2014 to facilitate greater engagement of upcoming and new applied researchers with Canada’s beef industry.

Learn more about the program and **download an application form at: http://www.beefresearch.ca/about/mentorship-program.cfm**

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