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At the Olds College Smart Farm, we have concluded a two-year project trialing the suitability of satellite imagery to build in-crop variable rate (VR) prescriptions. The project assessed the software used to access normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) imagery captured by satellites. It built VR prescriptions based on the imagery and we then applied that prescription in the field. We identified multiple benefits that include product savings, increased field productivity, opportunities for increased water rates and quick turnaround times to produce prescriptions. Additionally, we noted a few key conclusions.

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Grain and oilseed market analysis should boil down to two questions: How much did farmers produce, and how much was consumed? This leaves a residual, which is the gap between total supply and total demand. The larger the residual (ending stocks) the more pressure on prices and vice versa. A fundamentals-driven analyst would look closely at the magnitude (big/little) and direction (up/down) of ending stocks and be able to discern price direction. Unfortunately, for farmers and consumers, macroeconomics and geopolitical aspects matter and often dominate the determination of prices.

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From Aug. 10-12, the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC) and its members held the 2022 Western Canada Barley Crop Tour, the first time in three years the event has been held in person. Approximately 50 representatives from across the barley value chain gathered in central Saskatchewan. The group included maltsters and brewers, Canadian farmers and grain companies, as well as buyers of Canadian barley and malt from around the world. The tour included several beer industry representatives from Japan, one of Canada’s largest malt markets. Among them were technical and purchasing staff from Asahi and Sapporo Breweries.

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A farm kid with a love of computer programming, Luke Silinski has chosen to help young people engage with the world of agricultural technology. The Grade 12 student attends the Golden Hills Learning Academy online program. He is the creator of Ag Tech STEAM, a not-for-profit project that develops free, online ag tech educational materials for rural and underserved youth.

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Though hugely important to the western Canadian feeding sector, barley has a tough double shield that can overprotect its starch content from digestion. Dry rolling is the answer. When barley is crushed between grooved rollers the starch and protein are exposed and more easily and rapidly digested. However, over-rolling produces fine particles that can trigger digestive upset in cattle and cause animal welfare challenges and production losses.

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Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) was created to help students acquire the skills and experience they need to land that first job once they complete their studies. This year, the federal government allotted $3.7 million to subsidize about 300 agricultural jobs open to youth between the ages of 15 and 30.

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Not every farm can justify investing in a grain dryer. Some farms are too small and others may not receive enough annual moisture to warrant the expense. While farms in both of these categories still need to dry grain, they may consider alternatives to full conventional setups.

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Massive resources are poured into agricultural research. It’s the goal of industry organizations to present this rich body of fresh agronomic information alongside established knowledge and make it easy to understand for farmers and agronomists. This communication process is commonly referred to as “extension.”

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Farm life has always been shaped by the technology of the day. School tour groups at the South Peace Centennial Museum and Interpretive Centre work with tools that defined pioneer life. They come to appreciate homesteader chores as they apply a hefty flat iron to wrinkled shirts, scour wooden floors with a scrub brush, make rope from baler twine and cut firewood with a bucksaw.

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