Farm meetings are vital source of information

Information is key when it comes to making decisions and farm meetings are a great way to get it.


I go to meetings throughout the year as a certified crop adviser and find that the more meetings I attend, the more information I receive, which in turn increases my knowledge base. 


Farm Tech in Edmonton is a three day meeting that provides me with great information about new products and technologies for farmers. It is interactive with growers and provides a good forum for information. Other large seasonal farm events take place in Saskatoon and Brandon.


These events also organize trade shows, which allow growers to meet the companies that supply the industry and receive detailed information about their product lines and services. 


Getting to know local and regional representatives is always a good plan. If they don’t know the answers to your questions, they will help steer you to the right people. These folks are often in the city someplace, if not at the booth, during the event.


Webinars enable farmers to attend sessions from all over the world, which provide insight into what competitors in other countries are doing and how they are making technology work.


Farmers are getting ready for next year, and canola seems to be near the top of most farmers’ lists. 


Some producers will have already made their canola plans, but many are still filling in the blanks. So what should be the main criteria when looking for a variety: yield, harvestability, disease resistance or maturity? 


Everyone always says yield because that is what pays the bills, but I always recommend weed control. The three main herbicide systems for canola have their strengths and weaknesses, but we can successfully grow a good crop if we understand how to use them. 


Understanding your weed spectrum makes your choice easy, so keep this in mind. 


When looking at canola varieties, don’t be afraid to try a new variety. 


It is all about keeping the best genetics on your farm. You might decide at the end of the day that the new variety was no better than your usual, but what if it is better? 


Data is a farmer’s best friend when choosing a canola variety, so use the resources that are available, such as websites operated by the Canola Council of Canada or the seed companies. 


If they don’t help, ask your retailer. They have a lot invested in their reputation so they will give you a good recommendation for a variety that performs well in your area.

Garth Donald, CCA, heads agronomy at Decisive Farming in Irricana, Alta. You can reach him with column ideas and questions at 800-941-4811.