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Come Walk the Crops with Us- May 2 and 16

Crop Production News - 2018

By Kaeley Kindrachuk AT, Crop Extension Specialist, Outlook; and Joel Peru PAg, Irrigation Agrologist, Outlook

May 2018

With the growing season so busy, it may be difficult for some producers to find the time to get to local field days in person, and for some it is just easier to turn to social media for information. Crop walks in the Outlook region offer a chance for producers and agronomists near and far to see what is going on at the Irrigation Crop Diversification Corporation (ICDC) plots at the Canada-Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre (CSIDC ) research station and at their off-site locations.

Winter wheat on May 2
Winter wheat on May 2- green
plants don’t mean that it survived,
and brown plants don’t mean
that it’s dead.

The first crop walk was on May 2, and while there was not much to see, we did get a glimpse into how the winter wheat and fall rye trials were doing. This year there are variety trials for both of these crops, along with a nitrogen rate study for fall rye. The beginning of May is still too early to assess survival of winter cereals; waiting until the mid- to end of the month is ideal, though it is possible to try a bag test earlier in order to get an idea as to what is happening.

We checked out the soil temperatures at the winter wheat trials during the crop walk and were surprised to see it at 15 C at 10:30 a.m. Winter wheat starts growing again in the spring when the soil reaches about 10 C. We also headed over to the horticulture area of the research station. The strawberries had the straw removed from them the day before and were already starting to green up. One of the projects involves using a plant growth regulator, Apogee, on the strawberries to promote growth. The budding haskaps will have photoselective netting placed on them this year, which promotes growth and prevents damage from birds.

We went back to the winter wheat and fall rye trials with Amanda Swanson from Western Winter Wheat Initiative between these crop walks. We saw a little bit of recovery, but there was also more winterkill than expected. The plots will still be used this year, and we can provide an update later on this spring as to which varieties survived best over winter. Final results for these projects will be available online in ICDC’s research and demonstration final report.

ICDC staff at the off-site location seeding
the CWRS COOP trial.
Our second crop walk was on May 16.  Seeding was still underway for most producers, as well as the research station. Our first stop was back at the horticulture trials. Garlic was planted for a variety trial funded through the Agriculture Demonstration of Practices and Technologies program (ADOPT) last fall, and with the warm weather, we saw it emerging well. It was still clear that not every variety performed the same, as some varieties were quicker than others to come up. We also need to consider rotation within the high tunnels at the station, so this year there was some sweet corn planted, not as a trial, but to get the rotation back in line for next year.

We also took a quick look at the strawberries again and noted that some of those varieties didn’t fare as well as we thought they did a couple of weeks ago; however, some of the brown plants did have some new growth on them. The Saskatoon berries were in bloom, and will receive an application of Apogee this year. The haskaps are now in bloom, and there will be three different colours of photoselective netting put on to study their effects. Yields will be compared between the trees with the photoselective netting and trees with conventional netting.

This year, ICDC has some off-site land where the ICDC trials and some of the ADOPT-funded trials will be conducted. Some of the trials being seeded there include co-op variety trials for canola and wheat,  some silage and grain corn trials, and demonstrations of quinoa and hemp. Seeding is well underway at this site, as well.

Crop walks will run bi-weekly on Wednesday mornings for an hour until harvest. They will be live on Twitter, and anyone can join in by watching and using #cropwalk18. If you see the hashtag, feel free to post a picture of where you are and what you are seeing in your area. Research and demonstration trials will be highlighted, as well as crop conditions, insect and disease updates and anything else of interest to producers and agronomists.

For more information, follow Saskatchewan Agriculture on Twitter @SK_Agriculture or ICDC on Twitter @ICDC_SK.

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