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21st annual 'Field of Dreams' program held

Farmers gather for cropping insights near Norquay

The 21st Annual Field of Dreams Academy and "Thank-a-Farmer" was held by Prairie Soil Services on July 25.

Along with their partners Lindgren Farms, Bayer Crop Science, ATP Nutrition and Pattison Agriculture, growers in the local area were given an update on Wheat, Canola and Pea agronomy.

The Field of Dreams aims to push production, by targeting yields above and beyond the ‘average’; the partners expect to drive down their unit cost of production.

The demonstration is done on a large scale, with two-quarter sections dedicated to canola and two-quarter sections to wheat.

And, new for 2019, one-quarter section of peas.

By conducting the trials on a grand scale, the results are more representative of a farm operation than a standard test plot, explained Liam O’Halloran with Prairie Soil Services.

The project has seen some excellent results and some important lessons have been learned, he said, adding for 2019, yield goals of 120 bushels/acre of wheat and 100 bushels/acre of canola have been set.

“An important part of the venture is the research plots, this year we have replicated trials in the wheat and canola investigating variety, pesticide, and nutrition performance as well as the interaction between specific varieties and inputs,” said O’Halloran.

“We also have trials to assess the effect of seeding rate in wheat and seed size in canola.”

The day started with a tradeshow from the Field of Dream sponsors, giving growers the opportunity to discuss varieties, inputs, machinery and technology with the reps. Growers were given a demonstration of Climate FieldView and how gathering information from their field operations combined with digital imagery farmers can gain insights into their farm operation and push their production capabilities. Growers were encouraged to sign up before Aug. 31, to capture this year’s harvest data and take advantage of the one-year free trial.

With the rain set in for the afternoon the crop tour was brought inside, Prairie Soil Services agronomists Megan Dick and Liam O’Halloran presented ‘Peas PhD’ an overview of the important agronomic decisions that need to be made to a pea crop to take the yield beyond the average. They also introduced growers to X10 agronomy, Prairie Soil Services full agronomic suite and alignment program to simplify and streamline a farm’s agronomic decisions, focusing on maximizing the return on investment and helping farmers sustainably grow more.

Brittnye Kroeker, Bayer Seed Growth Specialist, presented on Pea Leaf Weevil, a pest that is becoming more prevalent in East Central Saskatchewan, and how seed treatment is vital to get control. Dan Owen of ATP Nutrition gave an overview of the importance of crop nutrition and the essential role it plays at all stages of the season to enable bigger yields.

“Unfortunately, the day was too wet to tour the canola varieties plots, instead the product reps gave informative presentations on the varieties that will be available for 2020, while we witnessed a first of its kind with a video tour of the Falco plots,” said O’Halloran.

The day was wrapped up with a fundraising and networking ‘Thank-a-Farmer’ dinner with proceeds from the 50/50 as well as a donation from the Field of Dreams project totaling over $7,500 to The Do More Agriculture Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focusing on mental health in agriculture across Canada.