Australian Canadian Agronomy Exchange Program
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend a month touring the province of Saskatchewan, Canada in July 2019. I spent most of the trip shadowing agronomists from the Rack, which is an independently owned Ag retail company that provides a wide range of services including; Fuel delivery, fertiliser, bulk glyphosate delivery, crop protection products, seed and contract application. They operate from 11 stores across the Saskatchewan province with a strong focus on providing high level agronomy service to their clients. They are backed up with a research division which runs a lot of their trial work and release of research compendiums which is a great tool to keep farmers up to date with their independent findings.
The main cropping systems in Saskatchewan are Wheat, Barley, Canola, Mustard, Chickpeas, Lentils, flax and peas that are all around the 90-100 day growing season from May – August. Incredibly in the summer months there is almost 16 hours of daylight, couple that with 25 degree days and 6-8 inches of rainfall across the growing season and you have a crop that you could almost see growing! However, they do have their challenges much like Australian agriculture. The past 2 years have been very poor with rainfall, some areas drought stricken and unable to harvest crops, particularly in south west Saskatchewan. There are various crop disease issues causing concern; Pea root rot, Fusarium head blight in wheat, sclerotinia rot in canola and of most concern club root in canola. Club root was first reported around the Edmonton area in 2003, since then it has spread to thousands of fields across Alberta and Saskatchewan. There is no control method for the pathogen once it is in a field, its affects can only be curtailed through crop rotation, selecting canola variety’s with good club root resistance and good hygiene practices… Yes I did leave my boots over there after hearing this!
A special thanks goes to Western AG, The Rack Canada and Aglink for the opportunity to visit such a diverse cropping region. I look forward to catching up with clients and staff to share more of the experience
Article produced by - Brendan Smith, Western AG Ballarat