How western Canadian farmers manage canola fertility in no-till systems, how canola impacts subsequent rotational crops, and side-banding nitrogen impacts, are all areas that Dr. Cynthia Grant spent much of her career focused on.
Grant, a retired senior research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) based in Brandon, Man., was honoured this week with the 2019 Canola Award of Excellence from the Manitoba Canola Growers Association during the CropConnect conference.
Grant and her research teams investigated themes like how to manage sulphur for canola production in no-till compared to conventional till; how canola would influence the following crops in the rotation and vice versa in terms of nutrient cycling; how side-banded nitrogen affects canola yield, stand density, maturity, number of green kernels and chlorophyll content; and how nutrient management influences the fatty acid profile of canola.
Research priorities were based on managing nutrients through soil, agronomic, and fertilizer management practices right through to their impact on crop quality. “We looked at the environmental effects of fertilizers (specifically nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur) and making fertilizers more economic for producers,” Grant says. “We wanted to determine how a nutrient would affect canola both in the year it was applied, as well as in the crops following in sequence.”
Grant earned her B.S.A., M.Sc., and Ph. D. degrees from the University of Manitoba and began her career as an information officer at the AAFC Brandon Research and Development Centre. Next, she became a soil fertility researcher where, for the majority of her career, she focused on soil fertility and nutrient management for sustainable crop production. Grant is also passionate about the importance of teamwork and the ability to effectively work together in research and extension to look at farming as a whole and change the way people manage their farms.