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THE INFLUENCER

Founded by Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola, Alberta Pulse Growers and the Alberta Wheat Commission, Team Alberta Crops was formed to elevate the influence of Alberta’s farmers in key agricultural policy areas. Focused on four priorities—improved market access, reduced regulatory hurdles, increased global competitiveness and continued sustainability—Team Alberta Crops advocates on behalf of Alberta farmers.

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BIOTECHNOLOGY LAUNCH PAD

“Is it really necessary to spray in all cases?” It’s a question posed by Brent Puchalski, a molecular plant pathologist. Up to 75 per cent of all fungicide application is either off target or worse, has no target, he warned.

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THE COMA TEST

The job of an agricultural analyst is to have an opinion on every topic and an answer for every question. And most of us prefer fundamentals—supply and demand. However, in 2022, macroeconomics and geopolitics held sway and muted some of the price movements that could have occurred if fundamentals dominated the market. Moreover, the variables needed for any model explaining potential price direction have expanded. To get my bearings at times like these, I resort to the Coma Test.

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SPRAY TECH HITS THE SPOT

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.

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WHEAT’S NEXT FIVE YEARS

Canada is a world leader in the production of safe, high-quality, nutritious wheat and its value-added products. Continued investment in wheat research by the value chain helps to increase farm gate profitability and competitiveness as well as maintain a secure domestic and global food supply.

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FOOD SECURITY UNDERT THREAT

There’s no doubt 2022 was a record breaker. As the cost of living has risen, food prices and input costs reached all-time highs. As well, the monthly growth rate for input prices is three times higher than that of food. These inputs are critical to food production, and rising prices signal increased fragility within our global food systems.

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THE CHEMISTRY OF TASTE

Over the past two decades, the global brewing industry witnessed significant diversification in beer styles. Driven by rapid growth in the craft brewing sector, sophistication of consumer tastes and product awareness, this evolution has spurred interest among maltsters and brewers in the sensory attributes of malt and the varietals that make up malt blends.

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CANADA’S FIRST MODERN-ERA SHORTLINE RAILWAY

At its Stettler station, as many as 24,000 passengers per year board Alberta Prairie Railway train excursions powered by its vintage diesel and steam locomotives. Winter and summer, trips include a stop at Big Valley or the line’s Country Hideaway, an old-time amusement park and meal facility. Not so long ago, the line transported grain as the Central Western Railway.

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KNOW YOUR PAST

In her words, Shelly McElroy is attracted to a good Alberta story like a magpie after a shiny object. As the curator of the Pioneer Acres Museum in Irricana, her focus is lesser-known stories from Alberta’s agricultural history. This past March through September, McElroy was given the position of historian-in-residence at the Calgary Public Library, and Heritage Calgary, a charitable organization whose mandate is to “identify, preserve and promote” all things to do with the city’s heritage. Splitting time with her regular job, she dived into the Glenbow Library and Archive Western Research Centre at the University of Calgary, the Calgary Public Library Collection and resources held by Heritage Calgary to uncover farm tales of yesteryear.

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THE NOT-SO-SINGLE DESK OF THE CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD

Ten years after the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) single desk was dismantled, most farmers retain vivid memories of permit books, contract calls and initial, interim and final payments. Membership in the CWB for marketing of wheat and barley was made compulsory in 1943 via the War Measures Act and its authority remained in place until Aug. 1, 2012.

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