“Water Smart Cropping Systems Design: Some Assembly Required”

Mark Twain said “A great, great deal has been said about the weather, but nothing is ever done about it”.  We cannot do anything about the weather – but we can plan for its unpredictability. 

What are the pieces of a “water smart” cropping system puzzle? And are the same pieces required under flooded and drought conditions? We will discuss the options: crop types, strategic crop rotation diversity for different moisture regimes, the importance of soil organic matter for all water conditions, the role of nutrient supply, pest management, and good agronomy. Information is drawn from decades of water use efficiency research on the Prairies, where water extremes can be made worse by high temperature episodes.

We will challenge Mr. Twain’s assertion. Indeed, we cannot change the weather. But with proper application of ecological and management principles and practices, weather can pass us by without leaving devastation in it’s wake.