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Crop Diagnostic School 2016

By Shannon Chant, MSc, PAg, Regional Crops Specialist, Swift Current

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture is excited to be partnering with SaskCanola, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, Western Grains Research Foundation, Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation and Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission to hold Crop Diagnostic School 2016. The school is a hands-on workshop to advance your agronomic knowledge. 

Participants of Crop Diagnostic School observing pulses
Participants of last year’s Crop Diagnostic
School observing pulses under salinity conditions.
The Crop Diagnostic School is a one-day, hands-on learning opportunity to examine plants, dig in the soil, catch insects and hone your diagnostic skills. The six focus areas for 2016 are:
  • Insect Scouting and Identification: Attendees will be given an opportunity to use a sweep net and identify both pests and beneficial insects in a real field situation. Various insect specimens, both alive and preserved, will be available for observation and discussion.
  • Disease Scouting and Identification: Test your knowledge of cereal leaf diseases, Fusarium head blight, canola diseases, pulse root rots and diseases and how to tell the difference between disease and herbicide injury. Experts will be on hand to assist with identification and to teach you about disease diagnostics.
  • Weed Scouting and Identification: Hone and learn weed identification skills for common weeds in pulse crops in the Brown soil zone. This year, for the first time, a few problematic and common forage crop weeds will be included. Live weeds will be on hand so you can learn their identifying characteristics. As part of the diagnostic exercise, attendees will identify weeds in a designated weedy patch.
  • Herbicide Injury and Crop Staging: Effective weed control requires using herbicides at the proper plant growth stage and application rate. This station will take you through staging various crops and different types of herbicide injury symptoms that occur from misapplication.
  • Soils and Fertility: This year, stations will demonstrate the different crop responses to changes in salinity, changes in rates of ESN and urea, different nutrient-depleted soils, and changes in rhizobium inoculants and rates of N on pulses. If time permits, participants will practice hand texturing and discuss soil moisture and profiles.
  • Diagnostic Exercise: A number of plots will be established with known production issues or concerns. Participants will be provided with a short period of time to examine plants in the plots and arrive at explanations for symptoms observed. A discussion of symptoms will follow, to assist participants in determining the proper diagnosis.

This year, the one-day event will be hosted by Wheatland Conservation Area in Swift Current. The three dates to choose from are July 26, 27 or 28. Each day will have the same exercises and demonstrations. 

Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The cost is $140 per person (includes lunch and refreshments).

Friday, July 15 is the last day to cancel and receive a full refund (minus $25 admin fee). Wednesday, July 20 is the last day to cancel and receive a 50 per cent refund (minus $35 admin fee). After July 20, no refunds will be given. 

Attendees should come prepared for the weather (bring rain gear, rubber boots, sunscreen, a hat, etc.). If weather prevents access to the plots, the event will be held indoors. This will be a great opportunity to take pictures, so bring your camera. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are approved for Certified Crop Advisors (one for nutrient management, three for pest management and two for crop management) and Certified Crop Science Consultants. Sweep nets will be available for purchase by cash or cheque only. 

To register, please visit and follow the link under Crop Diagnostic School 2016. More information is available by calling the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.


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