The Western Grains Research Foundation is kicking off a five-year $4.32 million agronomic research initiative looking at crop production from a multi-crop, rotational perspective.
While in Saskatoon on Friday, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Saskatchewan MP Kelly Block announced Ottawa will match WGRF’s investment of up to $2.16 million in its “Systems Approach to Crop Sustainability” project.
“The reason we’ve taken a little different approach is because there are issues that cut across many crops that Western Canadian farmers grow,” says Garth Patterson, WGRF Executive Director, as part of the interview posted above.
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Noting that farmers in Western Canada almost always grow more than one type of crop, WGRF says the study will “lead a much-needed multi-crop perspective that will give a home to research for integrated crops management.”
The SACS proposal focuses on three interconnected areas: crop risk management, beneficial rotational management, and soil fertility. Patterson explains the research will include studying agronomic and economic implications of high frequency canola rotations, a systems approach to wild oat control and rotational impacts of micronutrient deficiencies.
“The ultimate payoff is better information for farmers, whether the research shows what we think it will or whether it fails,” he says.
Input for the SACS initiative is coming from a lengthy list of crop organizations: Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, Manitoba Canola Growers Association, Alberta Canola Producers Association, Canola Council of Canada, Alberta Pulse Growers, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, Manitoba Pulse Growers Association, Pulse Canada, Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission, Flax Council of Canada, Alberta Barley Commission, BC Grain Producers Association.
The research work will be carried out across Canada through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Guelph, University of Montreal, University of Saskatchewan, Farming Smarter, and the Western Applied Research Corporation.
The federal funding is coming from the Agri-Innovation Program under Growing Forward 2.