No-till Producer, Saskatchewan, Canada

Axten Farms is a multigenerational farm that we are proud to be part of. The first Axten’s arrived in the Minton, Saskatchewean area in 1916, and we farm that original homestead today. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our ancestors, we have expanded our farm and made it what it is today. In 1973, the corporation, Axten Farms Ltd. was formed.

Derek owns and manages close to 7,000 acres of diverse farmland in Saskatchewan, near the North Dakota border. The northern region of the farm is primarily farm country with 65 percent clay soil, while the southern region lies along the edge of cow country with rolling hills and sandy clay loam soil. Durum wheat, oats and rye are his predominant cereals, with mustard and red lentil intercrop, forage peas and mustard intercrop, flax and chickpea intercrop, and large green lentils, faba beans and fenugreek as composition crops. He also grows 280 leased acres of alfalfa hay and contract grazes 300 head of brood cows on more than 900 acres of cover crops in the fall and winter.

Axten credits most of his success to keeping the soil covered throughout the year, whether it’s through cover cropping, crop residue or a combination of the two. Through experience he has found that covered soil buffers temperature, reduces moisture loss, protects against erosion, reduces weed competition and provides habitat for soil biology.

AIM Symposium Session: Innovative Cropping Practices