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Keyline Plow Design|Hands-On Workshop

Learn how this agricultural system can help regenerate and heal our topsoils and pastures.

with Graeme Finn, Josh Baker, and Mike Dorion

Early Dawn Farm is pleased to host an interactive workshop using keyline design principles to improve a degraded pasture! During this 1-day workshop, we will prepare a pasture for an annual and native perennial seed mix intended to increase biodiversity above and below ground.


Graeme Finn of Union Forage will lead the presentation sharing his vast practical experience and knowledge with keyline design, equipment and seed selection. Additionally, Josh Baker with Radicle Routes Permaculture will share his extensive equipment experience by allowing workshop participants to actually experience pulling a plow with a tractor. Mike Dorion of Living Soil Solutions will then present basic soil information including soil amendment opportunities before during and after the use of keyline plow.


Finally, the workshop will demonstrate how to measure soil health and how to establish a monitoring protocol to understand changes in soil, microbiology, and plant biodiversity.

Location: Early Dawn Farm

Date: TBD

Price: $145 per participant.

Spaces are limited and will be accommodated on a first-come-first-served basis.
Tools and handouts will be provided during the workshop. Lunch will be provided, and coffee/tea with snacks throughout the day.


TOPICS to be covered:

  • Keyline design principles

  • Measuring your soil health

  • Keyline implementation

    • Pre-winter prep - design/layout and establish the purpose for the keyline treatment. 

      • Are we controlling water? 

      • Are we changing the soil type? (grass to forest or vice versa) 

      • Are we building a shelter belt? Etc

    • Staged plan development - deciding the timing of treatments and what those treatments will be

      • Spring treatment - this is when we add our amendments and cover crop

      • Summer treatment

      • Fall treatment

  • Considerations for monitoring pasture restoration

  • Choosing seed mixes for increased biodiversity above and below ground

  • How soil health improves your watershed

  • Other

Learn about your instructor; Graeme Finn


Along with his wife Heather and their two daughters, they run a beef operation near Madden, Alberta. They rent around 2800 acres of pasture on long-term agreements for their yearling grass operation and beef cow herd. They focus on year-round grazing in high-legume pastures, annual crop grazing, and intensive rotational and winter swath grazing strategies. 

When assessing the potential productivity of possible pastures to rent they have found that most require major rejuvenation. They mainly sod seed pastures - the goal being to start with a clean seed bed. In addition to increasing soil health and promoting sustainability throughout the grazing program, they have found that a mixture of grasses and legumes gives the best milk production and weight gains for their grazing cattle.


Their philosophy is to work with the environment to improve the environment.

They do this through rotational cattle grazing in mixed pastures and fertilizing with cattle manure and different vegetation. 

Learn about your instructor; Josh Baker


Joshua Baker draws on over 25yrs of earthworks and utility experience to create resilient beneficial landscapes. Applying the techniques of overland water management, keylining and soil building, Joshua has been able to turn a skill into a passion over the years, and a strong desire to share his experience with others. "Through collaboration, no project is impossible" is a strong tone in his ethic as his time as a project manager has shown him that no one knows everything, everyone knows something and has a valuable role to play in working with nature.

Learn about your instructor; Mike Dorion


Mike Dorion is the Founder and President of Living Soils Solutions and a driving force behind Highfield Regenerative Farm in Calgary. 

Outside of work, Mike spends time with his Daughter Sunny, enjoying nature. 

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