Ag research funding shows commitment: ag minister

Producer directed research | The research projects will help initiate innovative technology, says Lyle Stewart

Saskatchewan and Ottawa will spend more than $600,000 this year to support agricultural demonstrations in the province.

Sixty-three producer-led projects will receive funding through the Agriculture Demonstration of Practices and Technologies program (ADOPT).

Among those projects is a five-site demonstration illustrating the importance of properly timing fungicide applications in spring wheat.

The project will show how optimally timed fungicide applications can mitigate yield losses related to leaf diseases and fusarium head blight.

The wheat fungicide project will be conducted in plots at Indian Head, Melfort, Prince Albert, Scott and Swift Current. It will use different fungicides applied at various stages of growth on two midge-tolerant wheat varieties: Shaw VB and Unity VB.

Other projects slated to receive ADOPT funding include:

  • Optimal seeding rates in spring wheat and soybeans.
  • Managing fungicide resistance in lentils.
  • Intercropping with chickpeas and flax.
  • Optimal timing for weed control in field peas and lentils.
  • Nitrogen response in canaryseed, oats and wheat.
  • Use of foliar fungicides in canola.
  • Impact of seed size, seed treatments and seeding density on crop production.
  • Timing of swathing in canola.
  • Straight combining in canola.

A complete list of projects to be funded under the ADOPT program can be found at bit.ly/141gWIB.

Chris Holzapfel, research manager at the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation, said the spring wheat fungicide demonstration is expected to provide valuable information to farmers who are not accustomed to using fungicides on wheat.

Holzapfel said producers are be-coming increasingly concerned about fusarium and leaf diseases.

Growers in southeastern Saskatche-wan have been using fungicides in spring wheat for years, but producers in other areas have less experience.

In some regions, yield losses related to fusarium head blight have been evident for only the past couple of years.

But Bryan Nybo, manager of Wheatland Conservation Area Inc., said concerns about fusarium are becoming more common in southwestern Saskatchewan.

“We haven’t seen it a whole lot yet, but you hear stories that it’s getting worse all the time, so it could become a problem,” he said.

The problem was particularly bad in Indian Head last year.

“Obviously, fusarium has been a growing problem, and 2012 here was a particularly bad year, where it took a big toll on yield and also quality,” Holzapfel said.

“It wasn’t isolated to Indian Head, either. It was throughout the Prairies and throughout the province, even in (areas) where they haven’t traditionally seen a lot of that.”

Holzapfel said one of the project’s objectives is to illustrate to growers how control of different cereal diseases requires fungicide application at different stages of growth.

“One of the things that we wanted to emphasize was the importance of selecting the right product and then timing the application for the specific disease that we’re targeting,” he said.

The federal and provincial governments have provided more than $2.5 million through ADOPT since 2009. 

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