Research farms play a valuable role in agriculture, putting theories to the test in a real world environment. The Parkland College and the East Central Research Foundation’s annual field day is a chance for farmers and people from the agriculture industry to get a close-up look at the current research projects happening just south of Yorkton and how they are developing.
Mike Hall, research coordinator for Parkland College and ECRF, said that they’re here for the farmers, and this is a chance to connect to people and show the research that is currently being producted.
One of the big trials this year was the UAN (urea and ammonia nitrate) versus dissolved urea trial. The goal was to look at different post-seeding applications of nitrogen to try to increase wheat protein, explained Hall. Some applications can cause leaf burning, he said, and they wanted to compare it to dissolved urea.
“Urea is supposed to be softer on the crop, and from what I saw this year it definitely did look a little softer on the crop when it’s sprayed at the same concentration out there.”
There are eight agriculture applied research management sites (AgriARM) across the province. Hall said that it’s important to do research around the province because it lets you see how well different ideas work in different parts of the province, what works near Yorkton might not work in another, and vice versa.
“We have differences in crops that producers grow between regions, and differences in what results you may expect from certain management techniques. It’s important to have applied research around the area.”
While the field day is a chance for them to show off the farm to a large group, Hall knows that farmers are busy during the summer and may not have the opportunity to get down there. They also make videos about their ongoing trials, posted at http://www.ecrf.ca/, which farmers can access if they are interested in the work happening at the farm.
It has been a good year, said Hall. While it started off very dry, the crops have responded to the rain and are growing well. The other good thing is that Hall’s good luck has held out, the tour having a sunny, warm day every year since he has started in 2013.