Victoria Linden: Director of Research, Cereals Canada

( CLICK HERE for Ms. Linden's Biography)

Speaker: Ian Epp: Agronomy Specialist, Canola Council of Canada

( CLICK HERE for for Mr. Epp's Biography)

Speaker: Greg Bartley: Director Crop Protection  & Crop Quality, Pulse Canada

( CLICK HERE for Mr. Bartley's Biography)
Date: September 10, 2020

Keep it Clean is a joint initiative of the Canola Council of Canada, Pulse Canada, Cereals Canada, Barley Council of Canada and Prairie Oat Growers Association, providing growers resources to grow market-ready crops (crops that meet the requirements of domestic and export customers).  The presentation will cover:
  • the associations involved in the program
  • the importance of market access to Canadian agriculture
  • the risks to market access
  • Keep it Clean’s 5 simple tips to keep your crops ready for market access

More information can be found HERE.

Slides for the presentation can be found HERE.

Keep it Clean (67 minutes, 1.0 CCP hour)  
Victoria Linden, Ian Epp, Greg Bartley

Speaker: Dr. Meghan A. Vankosky, Research Scientist, Field Crop Entomology, Saskatoon Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

( CLICK HERE for Dr. Vankosky's Biography)
Date: September 17, 2020

Insects play important roles in agroecosystems. They may be pests that reduce yield (in quality or quantity), they may be beneficial (pollinators, predators, or parasitoids) or they could be neutral and have no quantifiable impacts. Here, I provide an overview of the biology and management of important insect pests, and the beneficial insects that help us control them, on the prairies, with a focus on research results from my program at the Saskatoon Research and Development Centre. The pea leaf weevil is an example of an invasive pest to the prairies that is difficult to manage using insecticides. Research has demonstrated that systemic insecticides are more effective than foliar sprays, but are expensive. A system to forecast populations between growing seasons would help alleviate risk due to this pest species. Alternative methods of managing pea leaf weevil populations might include trap crops and biological control. The Canola flower midge is a newly identified insect species that was discovered in 2016 and described in 2019. A recently completed project focused on learning about the basic biology and distribution of this potential pest of canola. Wheat midge, pea aphids, grasshoppers, and other insects will be discussed as time allows, as well as the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.

Slides for the presentation can be found HERE.

Insect Pest Management on the Prairies: A Research Update (55 minutes, 1.0 CCP hour)  
Meghan Vankosky

Speaker: Elaine Sopiwnyk, Director, Grain Quality, Cigi, Technical Division of Cereals Canada 

( CLICK HERE for Ms. Sopiwnyk's Biography)
Date: September 24, 2020

Quality means different things to different people. This presentation will provide background information on the commonly grown wheat classes in Western Canada, their quality profiles, the end-products they are used for and why and customers around the world appreciate the quality of western Canadian wheat.

Slides for the presentation can be found HERE.

Western Canadian Wheat Quality(60 minutes, 1.0 CCP hour)  
Elaine Sopiwnyk

Speaker: Robyne Bowness Davidson, Pulse Research Scientist, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

( CLICK HERE for Ms. Bowness Davidson's Biography)
Date: October 8, 2020

Achieving success when growing pulse crops in Alberta will depend a lot on the weather, as with any crop. Unfortunately, farmers we have no control over what Mother Nature brings. However, the chances of obtaining high yields and good quality when growing pulses can be improved by following key production tips to mitigate the factors that we can’t control. There are pulse options available and Alberta has weather conditions conducive for great success. Not all pulse crops will be profitable on all farms across this province given the wide range of diversity found in climatic conditions and soil zones. There are definitely some dos and don’ts for success depending on where the farm is located and the management practices used. In this webinar we will discuss key production practices for field pea, faba bean and lentil. We’ll talk about the diseases and other pests that impact these crops and how to mitigate loss. We’ll briefly touch on a couple of “new” pulse crops being investigated and end with any questions the members may have. 

Slides for the presentation can be found HERE.

Production Tips for Growing Pulses in Alberta (60 minutes, 1.0 CCP hour)  
Robyne Bowness Davidson

Speaker: John Heard, CCA, PAg, Crop Nutrition Specialist , MB Agriculture and Resource Development

( CLICK HERE  for Mr. Heard's Biography)
Date: October 15, 2020

John will review the basic nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur fertility needs of corn.  He will highlight recent research in 4R nitrogen management practices, including use of enhanced efficiency fertilizers and in-crop application techniques, as well as phosphorus management under strip till production.

Slides for the presentation can be found HERE.

Soil Fertility for Corn Production on the Prairies (59 minutes, 1.0 CCP hour)  
John Heard

Speaker:  Holly Gelech, Seed Industry Professional with SGS Canada Inc.

( CLICK HERE for Ms. Gelech's Biography)
Date: October 22, 2020

Accredited Seed Analysts hold a critical position in the certification and grading of pedigreed seed within Canada’s seed industry. By promoting quality and uniformity, seed laboratories are integral to the seed industry’s 6 billion dollar annual contribution to the economy. Pedigreed seed certification is backed by cropping rotation, parent seed source, crop inspection and for some, molecular confirmation. Once seed crops are harvested, seed laboratories and approved conditioners step in to test and monitor compliance to the Grade Table standards. Beyond the standardized tests, seed laboratories have commercialized additional services to thoroughly test high value crops and differentiate between seed lots. The following will be highlighted:
  • Current seed testing methods standardized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to support the Seeds Act and Regulations.
  • Advanced seed analytics which are designed for our western climate, authorized to expediate international shipments and chosen to evaluate seed enhancement products.
  • Future seed and molecular diagnostics under evaluation for future commercialization.

Slides for the presentation can be found HERE.

Seed Testing – Unique and Standardized Services in a Diverse Industry(58 minutes, 1.0 CCP hour)  
Holly Gelech

Speaker:  Dr. Jeff Schoenau PAg, Department of Soil Science, College of Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK

( CLICK HERE for Dr. Schoenau's Biography)
Date: November 5, 2020

Precision manure management strives to get the most benefit from the organic matter and nutrients contained in land-applied manure while minimizing adverse impacts on water and air. 4 R principles are key in getting the most out of the manure used in crop production on the prairies.  Precise application involves selecting appropriate rates of manure and combining with commercial fertilizer sources to achieve the appropriate balance and supply of plant available nutrient needed by the crop.  Application strategies must consider position in soil and timing to effectively place nutrients in the soil for root access and reduce potential for gaseous losses to air and export in run-off water. This presentation covers recent research work evaluating ways to more precisely manage manure, including variable rate cattle manure applications made at the U of S Livestock and and Forage Center of Excellence, and their influence on crop production, soil, water and air quality. 

Slides for the presentation can be found HERE.

Precision Manure Management on the Canadian Prairies(62 minutes, 1.0 CCP hour)  
Dr. Jeff Schoenau PAg

Speaker: Robert Falconer, Research Associate at the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

( CLICK HERE for Mr. Falconer's Biography)
Date: November 12, 2020

COVID-19 has called into question our practices around food safety and labour in the agricultural sector. Across Canada, farmers are choosing to cut production as they are unable to find sufficient workers to aid them in planting, calving, and harvesting. Meat production and seafood processing plants have had their regular operations disrupted by outbreaks among their workers, some of which have unfortunately passed away as a result. During this period, policy makers and members of the public have called into question the employment of large numbers of foreign workers in these facilities and in the fields, especially when so many Canadians go unemployed. In some cases this has resulted in temporary bans on the entry of foreign workers into the province, as was the case in New Brunswick, while most other provinces have undertaken initiatives to promote agriculture as a viable occupation for unemployed Canadians. In this presentation we discuss the long-term trends that created the conditions necessary for the temporary foreign worker program, including the consolidation of farms into larger industrial enterprises, the loss of productive land in certain jurisdictions, and the shift in the class of workers labouring on Canadian farms. We address narratives that persist when trying to solve both the acute and endemic issues in the sector’s workforce, including points such as wage suppression resulting from foreign workers, whether or not Canadian agriculture has every employed a large percentage of off-farm labour, and whether automation and technological advancements could take the roles foreign workers currently fill. Finally, we address the long-standing question of residency for workers in Canada, and whether a solution to their status may in fact hearken back to an old tradition that first spurred tremendous growth, diversity, and resiliency in the sector.

Slides for the presentation can be found HERE.

Product of Canada? Trends in Food Production and Domestic Employment(62 minutes, 1.0 CCP hour)  
Robert Falconer

Speaker: Dr. Tom Bruulsema, Chief Scientist of Plant Nutrition Canada

( CLICK HERE for Dr. Bruulsema's biography)
Date: November 19, 2020

In the last decade, awareness and use of the concept of 4R Nutrient Stewardship has grown widely. Nutrient stewardship influences a wide range of areas including farmland productivity, soil health, nutrient use efficiency, water quality, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, food and nutrition security, biodiversity, and economic value. This presentation will discuss the principles and the implementation of 4R practices in Western Canadian industry initiatives, assess trends in soil nutrient status and crop nutrient balances, and demonstrate how 4R fits into sustainability strategy for agriculture. minimizing environmental impact.

Slides for the presentation can be found HERE.

Nutrient stewardship strategy for western Canadian agriculture(53 minutes, 1.0 CCP hour)  
Dr. Bruulsema

Speaker:  Dr. Bobbi Helgason, Associate Professor, Department of Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan  

( CLICK HERE  for Dr. Helgason's biography)
Date: December 3, 2020

Soil microorganisms and other biota rely on plant residues as a source of energy and nutrients for their growth and reproduction. In agricultural systems, crop residues are the main source of new carbon, fueling biological processes. Through the process of rot, microbes transform plant shoots and roots into soil organic matter, at the same time performing critical ecosystem services like regulating nutrient availability, breaking down contaminants, maintaining soil structure and hydrology and controlling plant growth. Providing a “balanced diet” for soil microorganisms through crop rotation and residue management fosters the efficient use of nutrients and minimizes losses to the air and water. This presentation will discuss how crop residues affect the abundance, diversity and function of soil bacteria and fungi to support healthy, productive soils. 

Speaker:  Dr. David A. Locky, Associate Professor in the Biological Sciences Department at MacEwan University  

( CLICK HERE  for Dr. Locky's biography)
Date: December 10, 2020

Wetlands are keystone ecosystems, delivering essential functions and services inordinate to their size and number on the landscape. These unique qualities foster high endemic diversity, provide conduits for metapopulations of wetland and upland species, and act as oases in times of environmental perturbation. The benefits exist in all landscapes, including those agricultural, urban, and industrial. Healthy, functioning wetlands support a robust microbial community, critical biogeochemical cycling sequestration, and release of nutrients, resulting in healthy algal, plant, invertebrate, and fish communities. Resulting habitat and resources provide feeding, breeding, nesting, and wintering habitat for resident and migratory birds, including waterfowl, cranes, coots and grebes, many shorebird species, passerines, and birds of prey. Critical habitat supports amphibians and some reptiles. Mammals like moose, bison, beaver, and muskrat have key roles in wetlands and are important to First Nations. Thus, wetlands are crucial to a wide range of biota, from humans, the largest ungulates and robust plants, to the smallest algal cells and protozoans. Of the five wetland classes in Canada, marshes and shallow water wetlands are known as the poster ‘children’ for wildlife. However, in places like Alberta, peatlands dominate and are no less important from a biodiversity perspective. Urban environments now commonly included constructed wetlands that, by design, are functionally compromised. Remaining natural wetlands may be isolated and otherwise negatively impacted. However, the inherent functional values often outweigh the diminished diversity in various ways. In many cases these varied urban wetlands provide opportunities for substantially increased diversity than would have otherwise been possible without them. Wetlands in all forms and position on the landscape are critical parts of the ecological network, functioning as hubs of biodiversity.

Speaker: Dr. Melissa Arcand, Assistant Professor, Department of Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan

( CLICK HERE for Dr. Arcand's biography)
Date: December 17, 2020

Hidden belowground, roots play important roles in supporting the health and productivity of agricultural soils that have often been overlooked. Roots facilitate beneficial interactions between crop plants and soil microorganisms that can improve crop nutrition and disease suppressiveness. Roots are also key in building of soil organic matter, and therefore, biological, chemical, and physical properties that underpin soil health. With the use of imaging techniques we are learning that crop roots can have vastly different structures that vary in their ability to access water and nutrients. Further, working with crop breeders, my work sheds light on how the beneficial effects of roots to crop productivity and soil health can vary among crop varieties. This talk will focus on key root traits that support improved soil health, through building of soil organic matter, and improved nutrient use efficiency with a focus on carbon and nitrogen in lentil and canola, respectively.