Growing up on a Central Saskatchewan farm, Daryl developed a passion for agriculture early in life, which he has now coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit.
After completing his Bachelor of Science at the University of Saskatchewan, Daryl went on to manage a major crop enterprise business, and most recently, he started his own agriculture consulting firm, DeNovo Ag. He currently lives at Iricana, Alberta.
As a Nuffield Scholar, Daryl will study management techniques that increase nutrient efficiency and assess the agronomic challenges that come with increasing food production. Further to that, he will investigate other agronomic attributes that contribute to yield and quality. Professionally, he will continue to expand and diversify his agricultural and business knowledge, utilizing that which he learns to create custom agronomic solutions in a diversity of management areas.
2015 was declared “International Year of Soils” by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Globally, soils are deteriorating because of erosion, nutrient depletion, loss of organic carbon, and other threats. Western Canada has some very good soils when compared globally. Cultivation began just over a century ago with practices that were adopted from Europe. Over the years our soils were prone to erosion due to intense cultivation. The loss of topsoil has dramatically reduced our organic matter (carbon) levels in our soils. Soil organic matter has a direct result in the quality of the soil, its production ability and its ability to support the living fraction of soil.
The primary focus of my report is to outline how new and different practices can be adapted into a farming system to improve soils, increase yields, and increase profit. I have seen many different production and conservation techniques used in Australia, Europe, United Kingdom, and North America. Farming businesses searching for suitable land for growing grain, vegetables, and fruit is competitive everywhere. The addition of stock and shifting towards a polyculture has allowed many to find the expansion in their business they were looking for.
A quote that followed me during my travels stated “fertility will not increase production alone.” If we cannot rely on fertilizers to improve our production, how will the growing population have enough food to eat? It will be a combination of factors including:
- Intimate knowledge of the soil by utilizing different testing methods and incorporation of technology.
- Increasing the diversity of the business can be accomplished in a variety of ways including livestock, forages, legumes, broad cropping rotations and cover crops.
- The soil can physically be disturbed and redistributed to promote increasing soil quality.
- Increasing the efficiency of the fertility supplied chemically, organically or existing in the soil by
- promote the increase of soil organic matter
- use of enhanced efficiency fertilizers
- promote deep rooting of crops
- limit compaction
- use of plant growth regulators to manipulate the plants hormone production.
- Following the 4Rs of nutrient management.
- o promoting the living fracture of the soil to flourish