fall 2013 edition - agcanada ?· fall 2013 edition chairman’s message ... hail and some fields,...

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  • FALL 2013 EDITION

    GROWING NEW IDEAS GROWING KNOWLEDGE GROWING STEWARDSHIP

    Farmers have high hopes for hemp 12

    Protecting solar panel equals higher yield 14

    The Evolution of EFPs in Alberta 32

  • 1110 - 39 Street NorthLethbridge, AB T1H 5L8

    1-866-865-3962 CALL DAVE OR STEVE

  • FARM ING SMARTER / FALL 2013 3

    GROWING NEW IDEAS

    Farming Smarter is published bi-annually by Farm Business Communications for Farming Smarter, #100, 5401 1st Ave. S., Lethbridge, AB T1J 4P4 with the support from the Agriculture Opportunities Fund

    Editorial Board: Ken Coles, Jamie PuchingerEditor: Sarah Sutton

    www.farmingsmarter.com

    Visit us online for innovative agronomic and technical research information:

    The Evolution of EFPs in Alberta ARECA takes over EFP program with plans to increase adaptability, fl exibility and utility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

    Conservation easements a win-win for landowners and NCCNature Conservancy of Canada protects habitat for

    generations to come . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34

    Alberta Shelterbelt Program still going strongTrees and shrubs available through Alberta Nurseries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36

    Protecting solar panelequals higher yieldUnderstanding how the cereal plant grows and produces seed is an important step . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

    Rhizobia one more thing to manageSoil scientist recommends using two types of inoculant for best results . . . . . .22

    Making the bait at Farming Smarters Field SchoolDr. Jeremy Hummel explains how to make bait balls that attract wireworms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

    Farming Smarter 2013 Event overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

    Research and profi tability top priorities for new Alberta Wheat CommissionPartnership with Farming Smarter provides avenue for new research projects . . . . . . . . . .26

    Guy Lafond 1953 - 2013Remembering a pioneer of conservation farming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

    Advocacy paves the way for political supportFarming Smarter meets with ag minister and caucuses to bridge the gap and get noticed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30

    Montana MadnessA Farming Smarter Adventure . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

    Farmers have high hopes for hempHemp comes with a steady learning curve as far as production and marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

    Farming Smarter puts VRT to the testDoes VRT fi t into your farm? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

    Brassica carinata becoming a viable oilseed option for biofuel marketFarming Smarter starts trials in southern Alberta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

    CONTENTS FALL 2013 EDITION

    Chairmans MessageMake wise choices about your crop with help from Farming Smarter . . . . . . . . . . . .4

    Managers ReportFarming Smarter expands with more land, looks forward to future projects . . . . . . . . . . . .4

    OpinionDisney-fi ed nature puts agriculture at risk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

    Book ReviewIs gluten-free just a food fad or is wheat really harming our bodies? . . . . . . . . . .38

    EVERY ISSUE

    GROWING KNOWLEDGE GROWING STEWARDSHIP

    Cover Photo: Farming Smarters research plots, taken with a remote controlled octocopter equipped with a digital camera. CREDIT: JZAERIAL

  • 4 Farming Smarter / FaLL 2013 GROWING NEW IDEAS / GROWING KNOWLEDGE / GROWING STEWARDSHIP

    Reflecting upon another season always makes me feel older! But, here we are and the 2013 season is almost completely in the rearview mirror. A mountain of data looms as our next major hurdle in addition to plans for new projects, reports and more reports.

    Kudos to an amazing staff at Farming Smarter who not only do a wonderful job, but are a real pleasure to work with. They even enabled me to take a long summer holiday with my young family on Vancouver Island!

    The tour season started out a little rough with lots of rain and hail but we were very pleased to have many guests participate in all of our events this year. Thanks to all our members and partners who have supported our endeavours.

    Farming Smarter continued its expansion by leasing 140 acres of land east of the jail and directly south of our college site. This allowed us to take on more projects and to take advan-tage of a pivot irrigation system. Not that we dont love our hand moves!

    We also contemplated a move to a new facility but opted to stay where we are for a couple more years. Better facilities and equipment, especially a pricey plot combine, are priorities for us in continuing to improve our efficiencies.

    Earlier this summer, we enjoyed an evening pig roast and plot tour with the Alberta Canola Producers Commission board and staff. I was also able to grab a sneak peak of the Alberta Wheat Commission and Alberta Barley Com-

    missions new office in Calgary. We are very fortunate to have great support from the com-missions and share many common objectives toward helping producers in Alberta.

    More recently we were very pleased to have hosted MLA Bridget Pastoor, who pre-sented us with a cheque from the Agriculture Innovation Program for the purchase of two new Electro-Conductivity soil sensors that will aid in our precision agriculture projects. Earlier we also received a CAAP grant to pur-chase GPS equipment and to study the viabil-ity of UAV-based imagery. Theres always a lot going on at Farming Smarter!

    See you at the farm shows!KenColesGeneralManager,FarmingSmarter

    Farming Smarter expands with more land, looks forward to future projects

    Managers Report

    Well, it appears the 2013 crop will go down in the books for most as a bumper crop. It started a little dry at early seeding in southern Alberta but changed to be a relatively wet spring with good rains.

    The floods in mid-June were a catastro-phe for some but in general the farmland benefited from the good moisture reaching down for the crops needs throughout the rest of the growing season. The Lethbridge and Highway 3 corridor had a few bouts of hail and some fields, including our FS site, had major damage but most recovered nicely.

    Mother Nature gave most of us, including myself, a hot and dry harvest, which is always nice when taking the crop off. Although the hot harvest temperatures may give us some storage challenges if we are not careful monitoring bins and such. Some reports of irrigation yields on dryland have been heard and overall most would agree Mother Nature gave us a pretty good season. With the bins

    now full of grain, the challenge for this year may be capturing the best price for our com-modities as they continue to fall from last years highs.

    With either great yields and/or great prices, we still need to remember to use good agro-nomics and informative decisions on our farm.

    Farming Smarter is all about that! We use the organization to do the dirty work for us. They try to help us disseminate the good and the bad choices or options we have on our farms. We greatly appreciate all the support we get from our sponsors that help us get our job done. They help our organization grow and without them, we would not be able to do what we do. The sponsors allow us to do the work needed and to get that value back to the farmer throughout the entire year through many of our activities such as field schools, crop walks, Ag-Tours and conferences.

    Our organization does not work alone but is in collaboration with many other groups across the province, including the

    newly formed Wheat Commission. Together with our success, we in turn hope to make each farm a success and help in the growth of agriculture in Alberta and beyond.

    Our manager, Ken Coles, and staff have once again helped us have a very successful year. I would like to acknowledge them for the great work that they do. I consider their work to be the major contributor to the suc-cess Farming Smarter has each and every year.

    If you would like to check out any of the current or past projects or the newest widget for your farming operation, visit our website (farmingsmarter.com) or attend one of our upcoming functions. If you are interested in joining our board, you could attend our annual general meeting held during the Lethbridge Ag Expo in March.

    Have a great fall and hope to see you at all, or at least some, of the upcoming winter events.

    Thanks,KentSandeChairman,FarmingSmarter

    Make wise choices about your crop with help from Farming Smarter

    Chairmans Message

  • Opinion

    In June 2013, we had an up-close and personal look at natures brutal power and capacity for destruction. Th e world watched as rampaging rivers destroyed south-ern Albertas vital infrastructure, devastating communities and wildlife habitat. In the U.S., the wildfi re at Yarnell, Arizona killed 19 highly trained wildfi re fi ghters trying to control its spread.

    Th is years look at the raw power of the natural world was frightening, even for those of us who have personally witnessed natures darker side. It demonstrated that natures way is oft en a hard and unrelenting path. In the real world of species in the wild, retirement condos are not an option. When natures creatures slow down and become infi rm, they usually become dinner for another species.

    Most urban Canadians dont see this side of nature. Th ey are accustomed to seeing nature through the lenses of Walt Disneys imitators, who tend to minimize natures destructive and harsh impact. Popular media puts the focus on the cute, the sweet and the beautiful. Aft er all, cute sells cereal, toys, tele-phone service and othe