Making Relay Cropping Pay


Mark Burnham –


The objective of this project is to investigate and determine farming practices that allow Relay Cropping Wheat and Soybeans to have a consistent net economic return higher then either crop grown as a monocrop.

Relay cropping is growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same ground to be harvested at different times. This project will focus on winter wheat and soybeans as the relay crops. Over the past couple of years, relay cropping has become a common interest amongst farmers for the reason that they are always looking to get higher returns on investments and per acre farmed. Relay cropping is seen as a way to get income from two crops in a single year with hopes that it has a higher net income then either wheat or soybeans as a monocrop. Wheat is seen as a crop that has excellent soil health benefit, but in todays market wheat does not compete well against corn and soybeans if farmers are looking at net income alone. Relay cropping can be seen as a reason to keep wheat in the rotation for the soil benefits and also return a significant income to the farmer. There has been research done in the USA/Ohio suggesting that relay cropping could work down there. In general they have seen some positive numbers to support this practice. This project would be aimed at testing and modifying the practices to the Ontario growing conditions.


This Relay Cropping project is aiming to find a solution that works consistently and simply for the farmer to get a positive return. The main focus will be testing twin row wheat and 30 inch soybeans. It will be compared to solid seeded wheat and regular practices for soybeans. Other row spacing configurations, crop populations, maturities, planting dates or other variables might be of interest once the general concepts are proven.