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Come walk the crops with us – August 10 – ICDC fruit program

By Kaeley Kindrachuk, AT, Crops Extension Specialist, Outlook and Joel Peru, PAg, CCA, Irrigation Agrologist, Outlook

With the record breaking hot days in Saskatchewan this summer, harvest is moving into full swing and the vegetable trials at the Canada-Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre (CSIDC) are no exception.

Provincial Vegetable Specialist Connie  Achtymichuk
Provincial Vegetable Specialist Connie
Achtymichuk explaining the garlic variety
trials at CSIDC for the Crop Walk. 

At this week’s Crop Walk, we featured the vegetable component of the Irrigation Crop Diversification Corporation’s (ICDC’s) research and demonstration program, which takes place in the orchard area and solar pivot at the CSIDC. The program this year involves four projects funded under the Ag Demonstrations of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) program. These projects are intended to help vegetable producers in the province increase productivity by finding better varieties and practices in growing these high-value crops.

Connie Achtymichuk, Provincial Vegetable Specialist for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, went through this year’s program and talked about the status of vegetable production in our province. In the first video (on Facebook and on Twitter), we went over a project under CSIDC’s solar pivot comparing drip irrigation to overhead irrigation. Drip irrigation applies water directly to the soil, reducing evaporation loss and keeping the crop canopy dry, reducing disease. Although most of the vegetable production in the province utilizes overhead irrigation, this project aims to show the advantage of using a drip system in terms of yield and quality. Four crops are being analyzed in this study: carrots, broccoli, green beans and cucumbers. This project is being done in conjunction with Kate Congreves, Assistant Professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

Irrigated field of carrots
An irrigated field of carrots grown by
a producer near Birsay, SK. 
The remaining projects in ICDC’s vegetable program are located in the orchard area at CSIDC. The garlic trial (garlic one and garlic two) demonstrates 20 different varieties to help expand the current garlic acres in the province. Most of the garlic consumed by Canadians is grown in China, so there is a great opportunity for producers to take some market share and provide consumers locally grown product. The baby carrot variety trial (carrots one and carrots two) is also intended to expand the acres in the province, to help produce a more consistent crop. Once only a product found at farmers markets, baby carrots are quickly finding their way into retail grocery stores. The challenge that growers face with this crop is meeting the strict size specification to be in the “baby” class. The results of this trial will show producers which variety is their best bet to consistently meet specs for this particular market.

If you are interested in learning more about the Aug. 10 Crop Walk, all live-streamed videos are available to view on Saskatchewan Agriculture’s Facebook page and ICDC’s twitter account. You can also follow Saskatchewan Agriculture on Twitter @SK_Agriculture. Make sure to tune in for more live-streaming at the next Crop Walk on Aug. 22.

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