Ontario senator Rob Black admitted he is not a soil scientist. Even so, when he was appointed to the Senate in 2018, he began pushing for a national soil study.
Many farmers celebrate the end of a long growing season with a well-earned sunny getaway. For very different reasons, Canadian cereal breeders also frequently head south, or at least ship their breeding material to foreign locales. The work carried out in international destinations allows them to develop new high-quality crop varieties in a timely manner.
There is growing interest among farmers on the use of biostimulants to boost crop yield and quality. But with curiosity comes skepticism, as limited data on their effectiveness is available. To dispel some of the mystery around these potentially powerful tools, we spoke with companies now developing biostimulants, researchers who aim to quantify their efficacy and farmers who have adopted them in crop management systems.
The smart agriculture and small plot crop research teams at Olds College of Agriculture and Technology have worked on an optical spot spraying project for the last three seasons. Carried out by the Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI), it aimed to assess the equipment and field performance of the WEED-IT Quadro system.
On a drive from Brooks to Lethbridge in mid-May, retired provincial agronomy researcher Ross McKenzie was literally stopped in his tracks by dust clouds. Carried by high winds across drought-stricken fields, the dirt was so thick it obscured the road ahead. Disappointed, he snapped a few photos and posted them on Twitter with a desperate plea for rain. McKenzie isn’t alone in his observations. Across the province, but especially in southern Alberta, farmers have noticed the return of this agricultural scourge once thought resolved.