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Nuseed Agronomist Championing Expertise on Canola and Soil Health to Educate Growers

In the heart of North Dakota, where agriculture plays a pivotal role in shaping the landscape, Nuseed Agronomist Shane Naslund is championing sustainable farming practices. As a seasoned expert working with canola growers, Naslund emphasizes the importance of soil health and sustainable cultivation techniques.

USA Shane Naslund
Shane Naslund
Nuseed Agronomist, Commercial Brassicas

Naslund, who resides in Bismarck, N.D., finds himself at the crossroads of conventional and no-till farming methods. He notes, “There are still many farms in North Dakota practicing straight up conventional tillage. However, in the northern and western regions, where moisture conservation is crucial, a significant number of farmers are adopting no-till
practices to enhance organic matter.”

One of the most intriguing aspects Naslund highlights is the visible impact of these practices on the fields he works with. “It’s really exciting to see fields with 3-4% organic matter, and I was on a farm this spring with a no-till field for 10 consecutive years, boasting about 5.5% organic matter. It’s a testament to the positive outcomes of sustainable farming,” he adds.

Naslund’s expertise primarily revolves around canola, dealing exclusively with canola growers. When asked about the challenges faced by canola farmers, he explains, “Canola being a tiny seed, the focus is on topsoil moisture, especially in the first inch of soil. With canola seeded at a shallow depth, maintaining soil moisture and fostering organic matter through no-till practices is crucial.”

In his conversations with farmers, Naslund emphasizes the significance of soil testing. “One hundred percent of the farms I work with conduct soil sampling. Timing is key, whether it’s in the spring or fall, and understanding factors like snowpack, nitrogen levels, and soil depth are essential for tailored recommendations,” he states.

Planting Nuseed canola can help soil health in several ways. Canola is a crop that can improve the soil structure and aeration, reduce erosion and weed growth. Canola also has a deep taproot that can break up compacted layers and add organic matter to the soil.

When delving into the role of organic matter in soil health, Naslund underlines its impact on soil structure and fertility. “Organic matter, especially in canola stubble, helps prevent runoff, maintaining soil structure. It’s about preventing erosion and ensuring a stable seedbed for canola, which is seeded at a shallow depth,” he explains.

As Naslund navigates the diverse farming practices of the growers he collaborates with, he acknowledges the variation in attitudes towards sustainable methods. “I work with a mix of farmers, some already well-versed in agronomy, while others need some education. It’s rewarding to collaborate with them, considering factors like soil temperature, moisture, and timing for optimal
seed placement.”

Reflecting on innovative farming practices, Naslund shares insights from a farmer who utilizes two different seeding systems: “Comparing the impact on the same crop in the same field, it’s fascinating to observe how machinery and seeding techniques influence outcomes. These experiences contribute to a deeper understanding of what works best for each farmer,” he notes.

Naslund’s approach stands out for its dedication to supporting farmers beyond mere sales. “My motivation is to assist farmers in enhancing their farm operations and bottom line. It’s about fostering sustainable practices that benefit them in the long run.”