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field studies

Recent news

ken hail

Hail Damage Simulation Published!

Created October 8, 2021 | Category: Agronomy

The Hail Damage Simulation project results are published! Read it in the Canadian Journal of Plant Science! Our very own Gurbir Dhillon, Mike Gretzinger, Lewis Baarda, and Ken Coles were all major players in this study, alongside some folks at InnoTech Alberta and SARDA Ag Research. This study focused on quantifying the economic loss in […]

Morton Molyneux Mike Gretzinger

Mike Gretzinger – Farming Smarter’s resident Character

Created August 24, 2021 | Category: field studies

B.Sc. Biochemistry, CCA, Pesticide Applicator If you’ve ever seen things exploding in an agriculture research presentation, you were probably watching a presentation by Mike Gretzinger, Farming Smarter Research Coordinator. “I like  the practical research we do and I like sharing what I know,” says Mike. He adds that having a decade of experience with both […]

hemp agronomy feature

Hanging Out in the Hemp Field

Created August 13, 2021 | Category: Agronomy

Hemp agronomy research is blazing forward at Farming Smarter For the CHTA variety trials, we’re doing things a little bit differently – we’ve broken our trials into two separate plots, one looking at fibre agronomy & the other investigating grain agronomy. The Nitty-Gritty of Grain Agronomy In our grain trials, we have mainly diecious varieties […]

cover crop

It’s a Cover Up (Crop)!

Created August 6, 2021 | Category: Agronomy

Cover crops combat soil erosion while improving soil quality. Use of cover crops has been increasing throughout the Prairies, but little is known about their benefits & detriments. A Farming Smarter project is investigating how to incorporate cover crops in the fall season. Our strategy is to implement them within crop rotations. We’re using a […]


Durum Roll, Please!

Created July 30, 2021 | Category: Agronomy

Durum prices are rising, we’re here to help increase your yield! Last week, we hosted our Lethbridge Plot Hop event. There, Ken Coles, Farming Smarter Executive Director, gave a presentation on our Precision Planted Durum. These plots test the affects of agronomy tools on the yield of irrigated durum. We test precision planted versus air […]

Plot Hop 2021

Plot Hop a Hopping Success

Created July 28, 2021 | Category: Events

What a joy to be at a live field day! A day full of sunny skies, good jokes, and informative presentations! Our Lethbridge Plot Hop was a phenomenal success, and we’re beyond happy to have spent it with fantastic people. Getting people back in the field for a live field day is a great return […]

lygus bug

2021: Year of the Lygus

Created July 26, 2021 | Category: Bug of the Month

Bug of the Month By Dr. Héctor Cárcamo Lygus bugs are native insects in Canada that feed on the buds, flowers and young seeds of most plants. They are a perennial pest in seed alfalfa and occasionally in other crops like canola. In 2021, there are reports of high lygus numbers in greenhouses in Quebec, […]

FHB infected durum head

FHB dying in the heat

Created July 23, 2021 | Category: Agronomy

This is a convoluted FHB study to explain, but here we go. Led by Randy Kutcher, Plant Sciences Professor, USask College of Agriculture & Bioresources, the study aims to find optimum crop rotations for control of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB). To accomplish this, several locations in Alberta and Saskatchewan planted long blocks of several crops […]

Join the WGRF Conversation

Created July 8, 2021 | Category: Agronomy

Virtual Workshops: Use these links to register: Tuesday July 20 Crop and Soil Management (weeds, diseases, insects, plant nutrition) Wednesday July 21 Precision Agriculture (variable rate, soil management zones, data) Thursday July 22 Sustainability (cropping systems, diversified crops, climate change) Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) wants to hear your views on cross cutting crop production […]

biomass biostims

As above, so below

Created June 25, 2021 | Category: Farming Smarter

Above ground and below ground biomass are strong indicators of crop health and yield potential. With all things being equal, a crop with poorly developed roots that brandish small, spindly slightly coloured leaves will more often than not yield much less than the same crop that has a long, highly developed root system and large, […]

tractor seeder

News From The Field

Created June 18, 2021 | Category: Agronomy

Field Tested is up and rolling again for the 2021 research season with 23 on-farm trials located across Southern Alberta. The Field Tested research crew has been busy visiting fields and collecting range of early-season data. They’ve looked at things like flea beetle damage, emergence, canopy closure, weed populations and crop heights and staging. This […]

herbicide resistant kochia field

Cutting Back Herbicide Resistant Kochia

Created June 11, 2021 | Category: Agronomy

Using precision agriculture tools can help identify and respond to kochia pressure in farmers fields. Farming Smarter’s herbicide resistant kochia research project is now entering its third field season. It began the research project with the research team gathering information from each field in the study. This includes historic yield, soil conductivity, soil samples, and […]

pea leaf weevil

Pea Leaf Weevil: Monitoring and Control

Created June 4, 2021 | Category: Farming Smarter

Farming Smarter has pea leaf weevil under a microscope this year for the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network. Pea Leaf Weevil populations in southern Alberta remain at levels that could cause concern in 2021 particularly in areas that had extensive damage in surveys last year. With our survey, we hope to better understand the patterns of […]

peas emerge

Seeding Success!

Created May 28, 2021 | Category: Agronomy

Farming Smarter reached seeding success this week, May 28, will all its trials and plots planted for the season. Except, of course, the late date plots that purposefully go in late about two weeks from now for our Agronomy Program. Seeding dates and rates are often part of the trials and this year is no […]

soil till probe

Portable neutron probe installation

Created May 21, 2021 | Category: Agronomy

Moisture is an important choice in a soil till method. Because till methods lead to vastly different moisture and temperature levels, it can be difficult to know which method is best for your crop. The advantage of no-tilling means your soil will have more moisture, at the cost of a lower temperature. The inverse is […]

ripe canola

Variable Rate Nitrogen in Canola

Created May 5, 2021 | Category: Farm Business Management

Variable rate nitrogen applications in Canola may only work in certain circumstances, according to the recently published study. Economic Evaluation of Variable Rate Nitrogen Management of Canola for Zones Based on Histroical Yield Maps and Soil Test Recommendations By using precision agriculture strategies such as management zones, there is potential to increase profitability. However, the […]

field pea precision planted

Precision Planting Hitting the Mark

Created April 30, 2021 | Category: Farming Smarter

Try precision planting as a tactic to improve emergence and possibly yield with your pulse crops. When Farming Smarter began this research, we wanted to evaluate how effective precision row crop planters are as an all-encompassing seeding system. We believe that this innovation will lead to an increase in crop yield. In these pictures, you […]

Grain Drying Participants Needed

Created April 29, 2021 | Category: field studies

Grower participation needed in new grain drying study focusing on minimizing postharvest losses of grains.  Lethbridge College requires growers to participate in a new AFC funded project. The project aims to develop more efficient wheat storage and handling guidelines for Alberta’s climatic conditions. This study focuses on energy efficiency, timely and uniform drying, and the […]

Wintersteiger seeder & crew, research capacity

More Research Capacity for You

Created April 16, 2021 | Category: field studies

Farming Smarter just increased its research capacity to answer more grower questions than ever thanks to a  Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) investment in Crop Research Capacity. A new Wintersteiger Flex plot seeder arrived April 14 just in time to train staff and get it in the field for 2021 research. It is in answer […]

various crop panel

Rotational study shows promise

Created April 7, 2021 | Category: Agronomy

Multi-site research focuses on ideal stubble for staple, novel crops By Trevor Bacque Farming Smarter knows that when a farmer wants to try something new, they need agronomic research available. This prompted it to join a rotational study and produce new data for staple and novel crops. The project, Introducing High Value Speciality Crops to […]


Crop Recovery After Hail

Created April 2, 2021 | Category: field studies

Gauging crop recovery possibilities after a hail storm churns across the landscape is a long standing pastime in Alberta. According to an AMA insurance report, 66% of major hail storms take place in our province each year. That means that every year, after every storm, farmers look out over the fields and wonder what just […]

Ken Coles strip tiller precision planter

Boost canola yields

Created February 19, 2021 | Category: Farming Smarter

Southern Alberta canola producers stand to benefit from a joint research project by Lethbridge College and Farming Smarter to boost canola yields. The project will study if producers can boost canola yields by using strip tillage and precision planting. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) partly funds this three-year, Applied Research and Development […]

deer in plots

Perennial Forage Trial

Created October 17, 2020 | Category: Agronomy

by Mike Gretzinger The deer sure love the Perennial Forage Trials and who can blame them? They love feasting on a mixture of alfalfa, sainfoin and bromes. We tend to be crop focused quite a bit, but forages are an essential part of farming in southern Alberta with the proximity of feedlots, horse lovers and […]

Deep Banding Update

Created July 3, 2020 | Category: Agronomy

The Deep Banding Immobile Nutrients project is more than two-thirds of the way through and we have some preliminary observations. We’re in the third year of the project, working with peas, canola and wheat in three different locations in Alberta. Lethbridge, Vegreville and Falher each have their own crops with different soils (brown, black and […]

Spornado spore trap

Trapping Spores for Science

Created June 12, 2020 | Category: field studies

Farming Smarter begins testing a new product, Spornado, to find if it’s effective at of trapping fungal spores as an early warning system for crop protection.  Approved in September of 2019 after the growing season, this year is the first round of onsite testing conducted by Farming Smarter. The project continues through until the end of the 2023 season.  The idea of this project is to place the Spornado spore […]

12" strip-till

Strip-Till vs. No Till

Created May 20, 2020 | Category: Agronomy

A New Farming Smarter Project After looking at the results from a previous study on precision planting canola, Farming Smarter decided to research the effectiveness of strip-till against traditional no-till seeding.  A strip tiller tills a small strip where the seed goes. The benefits of strip-till are it may lead to increased soil temperature, better seed to soil contact, less residue and fewer issues for the […]

Novel crop rotation study has novel results

Created February 13, 2020 | Category: field studies

Are you itching to try a novel crop in your rotations? Maybe a little something to boost profits in these turbulent market times? While Farming Smarter doesn’t have definitive answers from year two of its study, Research Manager Mike Gretzinger can offer some insights from the 2019 season. “To recap we had the following: Barley, […]

Healing Hail Damage Depends On Timing

Created July 30, 2018 | Category: field studies

Despite the relatively dry weather we’ve received in Southern Alberta this season, hail is still a prevalent occurrence. The big questions on everyone’s mind are how does timing factor into hail damage recovery and what can we do to help it heal? Jazlyn Pedersen, a summer student at Farming Smarter, said the answer is in […]

Farming Smarter Launches Field Tested Program

Created April 17, 2018 | Category: Agronomy

Up-Scale of on-Farm Research Field scale research can offer big benefits when done effectively, but it can also be time consuming, require specific tools and demand attention at challenging times in the season. Also, sometimes it’s hard to do research in isolation because you can’t compare your results with anyone.   This is what prompted Farming […]

Seed Prep @farmingsmarter

Created April 20, 2016 | Category: Farming Smarter

It’s all hands on deck when it comes time to seed as anyone near a farm knows. So, I helped prepare seed for plot planting the other day. We weighed wheat into brown envelopes – 122.2 grams per envelope. That’s right down to one or two seeds by weight. Then the envelopes get organized by trial and […]


Canola Performance Trials (booklet)

Created December 11, 2015 | Category: Agronomy

See the latest results from Canola Performance trials compiled in a pdf booklet.  Download it here Canola trials The three Prairie canola grower groups – Alberta Canola Producers Commission, the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission (SaskCanola) and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association – fund the program. The Canola Council of Canada delivers the program.  

#FSFS15 Lethbridge Herald – hemp session

Created June 29, 2015 | Category: Events

Hemp becoming popular cash crop by Garrett Simmons, on June 24, 2015 LH_Hemp becoming popular cash crop_June 24, 2014


Canola Fields Needed for Study

Created July 7, 2014 | Category: Agronomy

Canola growers can help further the study of blackleg fungus that can lead to improved ways to prevent it in crops. A study led by University of Manitoba’s Dr. Dilantha Fernando and collaborators Dr. Gary Peng of AAFC in Saskatoon and Ralph Lange of Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures, Vegreville hopes to identify the avirulence […]

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