Why Was Tom Wolf's Spray Technology Research Cut By the Federal Government?


Recently it was announced that Tom Wolf’s research program will be cut completely by Ag Canada.  The reaction from agronomists, manufacturers and farmers has been quite strong.  So strong that some of the industry associations are trying to save the program.

When word got out tweets started to fly just like this one.

Tom Wolf’s research focused on sprayer technology like nozzle selection and sprayer drift.  There is speculation from people familiar with the Wolf program and Ag-Canada that the program was cut based on two factors.

  1. The Wolf research program was quite industry friendly in the sense that the Federal Government likely believes that the research could be replaced by the companies and industry themselves.
  2. With only two scientists nationally, the program was small and the program being cut does not impact many jobs but instead research budget.

Rob Saik, Founder of Agritrend provided his thoughts on why Tom Wolf’s program is important to the industry,

  • Tom’s research is unique, because there is not a lot of unbiased independent information out there.  Farmers and agronomists rely on this information to make better decisions.
  • There is many places where government spending needs to be cut and Tom’s is not one of them.  His research is very valuable to the industry.
  • Becasue its independent research is quoted by many different stakeholders.  Whether it is the ground rig people applicators, aerial applicators, or agronomists, many farmers have heard, “Tom Wolf’s research shows that…..”
  • The timing of this cutback is not good.  The amount of sprayer and nozzle technology is going to expontentially go up as precision agriculture continues to grow over the next decade.

The reality is that we currently live in a time that sprayer drift minimization and nozzle selection are becoming critically more important.  The idea that we need to cut certain government funded projects just because private industry will fill the void is not good over the long term.  In actual fact if you talked to the manufacturers in this case, they appreciate the work that people like Tom Wolf do because it provides an independent verification and analysis of new products or services.  Pushing good research onto the private sector is not in the best interest of farmers or the industry in general.

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