By Sara Tetland, AAg, Crops Extension Specialist, Moose Jaw
The 2020 Agronomy Research Update (ARU) showcased up-to-date research and information relevant to Saskatchewan farmers and agronomists earlier this month. Due to public health restrictions, ARU took place virtually in a webinar format, with presentations followed by an interactive question and answer session. This year there were 1,090 individual people registered and over 600 live viewers for each day of the event.
To kick off the event, presenters provided a clubroot update, covered compaction, crop rotation and its effect on plant disease, and an update on the Strategic Field Project establishing nitrogen and seed rate recommendations for hybrid brown mustard. Aaron Daigh, Associate Professor at North Dakota State University, provided insights to reduce compaction in the field; this included minimizing the number of passes in the field, using controlled traffic farming, growing cover crops and not driving on fields with seeding, harvest or tillage equipment when the field is wet or near saturation.
Barbara Cade-Menun, Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Swift Current, began day two with a focus on soil testing for phosphorus and research related to phosphorus cycling in a 16-year continuous wheat rotation. Some other highlights of the day included research underway on agricultural technology, including the associated benefits and challenges, as well as presentations on the agronomic, quality and economic effects of including pulses in crop rotations and annual forage variety trials currently going on in the province.
On the third day, provincial insect and disease updates were presented by Dr. Jim Tansey and Alireza Akhavan, summarizing the survey results for the year. Breanne Tidemann, Research Scientist with AAFC in Lacombe, talked about how growing continuous canola compared to a two or three-year rotation effects presence of disease and insect pests, weeds, soil microbe community, yield and net returns. Another topic covered on day three was Phytophthora root and stem rot of soybean.
Finally, day four started with crops extension specialist Erin Campbell providing an overview of data on current crop rotations in Saskatchewan. She suggested some alternative crops to extend farmers' rotations. Participants also learned about new research on wireworms in the prairie provinces, the development of a soil health scoring scale using data specific to Saskatchewan soils and how seeding rate and row spacing effects both early and late-season weed densities.
Recordings of the ARU webinars, along with previous webinars we've hosted, are available on the ministry's webinar page.
If you have any questions on ARU or any other agronomic information contact your regional crops extension specialist or call the Agricultural Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.