Midale Farmer Colin Rosengren of Rosengren Farms is changing the way farmers seed and harvest crops. 

“We've been kind of pioneering intercropping for 20 years now. We've learned a lot, and worked with some different research farms and that type of thing to try and figure out what might work best on farms.” 

Intercropping is a cropping practice where two or more crops are cultivated simultaneously on the same field. This method of cropping can prevent pests and disease and select pairings of crops can create mutually better soil and environment conditions. However, it also comes also with a set of challenges. 

“We mainly took this on to solve the challenge of logistics of intercropping. A big part of the challenge of intercropping as farms get larger and more spread out, becomes cleaning that mixed crop so that you can sell it. Harvest is a busy time of year and so if you bring it home and put it in storage then you've got a lot of months of cleaning ahead of you before you can sell the product.” 

To refine this process, Rosengren developed and built an infield crop separator, a machine designed to clean and separate intercropped harvests, directly on the field site. 

 “We've devised a way of doing it in a high-capacity manner where it doesn't require a lot of extra labour for us, and the product is separated immediately right at harvest, so the crop is marketable immediately. And storage is not a problem because the products are separated before they leave the field now.”   

Not only does it simplify the processing of harvested crops, but it also opens doors for the expansion of farms and intercropping practices. 

“This [project] supports the logistics of a machine that wasn't existing on the market so this enables us to intercrop on fields that are further away which allows us to use less fertilizer, get higher yields, higher productivity, and have better ways of combating disease in the crops and other pests by doing these cropping practices. This actually allows us to do it without creating a lot of extra hassle logistically.” 

The machine is another step forward in the development of intercropping and growth of innovative agriculture.   

“If this interests anyone we'd be interested in hearing from them to see if this is a machine that anybody else finds they commercially have interest in and if there's any commercially viable option for it.”