As farmers continue to look for answers to questions they are faced with on their farm, the need for on-farm research programs continues.
One of these on-farm research programs is the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions Plot2Farm program. Jeremy Boychyn, agronomy research extension specialist with Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions, was at the Prairie Cereals Summit at Banff, Alta., to talk about year two of the research.
2021 included some interesting research, including plant growth regulator (PGR) trials, seeding rate trials, and row spacing trials. Due to extreme weather conditions, such as hail and drought, some of the trials weren’t able to be brought to completion, but out of the ones that were able to be completed, some of the highlights included the use of PGRs on barley, says Boychyn.
“One of them that did come to completion was Moddus on barley. It was applied to AC Synergy. We actually did see a minor yield bump in that application that was done in Olds, Alta. So that was interesting results from that,” he explains.
The trials come from producers looking at their own agronomic management questions, and not necessarily wanting to put in a large amount of acres without knowing how it will work out. One of the producers wanted to know what would happen if he seeded his wheat with the same seeder that he uses on his canola, with wider row spacing.
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“We did 15-inch rows instead of seven-and-a-half inch rows,” Boychyn explains. “We actually saw a little bit of a decrease with the 15-inch rows, but that’s something that we kind of anticipated a little bit based on how that’s going to function when we do wider row spacing.”
Small plot research still has its place, and is incredibly useful, says Boychyn, as it provides producers answers to their questions — whether it ends up working out for the positive or not. And chances are, if one farm is asking the question, there are others out there asking as well.
“It provides us an indication of when we’re making these management questions, what kind of results we expect when we implement it on farm. But we want to take that a little bit further. And the producers are implementing these trials on farm, it gives them an idea of what the results may be, when they’re testing these questions,” he notes. “Are these agronomic management questions with their genetics, with their management, and in their growing environment?”
The program also puts emphasis on the idea that the research surrounds something that was already going to be grown on your farm.
“It’s a management question that’s applied to what’s happening on that farm already. The management that’s in place, the genetics that are in place, and the environment that’s in place. So it’s very much to be applied to what’s already there on the farm.”
If you are a producer in Alberta and interested in applying to the program, Boychyn says you can do so by visiting plot2farm.com, and choose from the protocols listed on the website. As well, you can contact Boychyn directly.
The deadline for applications is February 1, 2022.