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Virtual Field School

June 24 @ 8:55 am - 4:00 pm

Free – $75

Join Farming Smarter and invited experts for a virtual field school based on agronomic research taking place in southern Alberta.

FSFS agenda 2021

FSFS 2021 agenda pdf

Continuing Education Credits (CEUs)

Pesticide Applicator – applied for 2 Pest Management Credits

Nutrient Management – 1
Crop Management – 2
Integrated Pest Management – 2
Soil & Water Management – 0.5

9am Mike Gretzinger, Farming Smarter Research Coordinator, is the small plot guy with a big heart. He coordinates all the field aspects of the Agronomy Unit research trials. This includes protocols, seeding, spraying, harvest and data collection and processing. He takes part in the knowledge sharing of the projects through photos, plot shot videos and conference presentations.  
During his B.Sc Biochemistry, he worked in quality control (Black Velvet Distilleries, Maple Leaf Pork) and with University of Alberta (cabbage seedpod weevil), but has a passion for working outdoors. Mike joined Farming Smarter in 2010. He loves that his job grows his agronomy knowledge.   

Farming Smarter’s biostimulant trials look at treatment differences in canola, wheat and peas. Mike will share information from the second year of this trial. Biostimulants are a relatively new class of crop additives that suggest they can help grow healthier and higher yield/quality crops.   

10am Dr. Michele Konschuh, Irrigated Crop Scientist, Department of Biological Sciences – University of Lethbridge.  Her irrigated crop research will foster increased irrigation efficiency while maintaining competitive production of specialty crops, especially those with value added processing in Alberta.
Michele earned a Ph.D. Biological Sciences – 1995 University of Calgary, Developmental Plant Physiology   
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry –  Research Scientist with the Cropping Systems section and Irrigation Management Dr. Konschuh worked on potato and other irrigated crops.      

Alberta has over 40 years invested in regional potato variety trials.  Lethbridge College now collaborates with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and the University of Lethbridge to provide agronomic evaluations of potato varieties from various breeding programs.   Dr. Konshuh will discuss the challenges around public vs private potato varieties coming onto the market. Proprietary variety releases often suit different end-uses, such as French fries, chips, gourmet and functional food uses.  The challenge is often that impartial comparisons of the material with standards varieties are not available.  Each stakeholder has the responsibility of obtaining seed, signing agreements, engaging researchers, or evaluating varieties independently.

11am Nolan Kowalchuk &  Dr. Charles Geddes

Nolan comes from a family farm in Willingdon, Alberta.  It is part of his 25 years in agriculture industry. He worked  in the farm equipment finance sector, retail, wholesale and manufacture areas of the crop protection industry.  At FMC, he established the Alberta business when FMC entered Canada. He is FMC Technical Sales Manager and resides in Airdrie, AB.

Charles, Research Scientist, Weed Ecology and Cropping Systems,  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada based out of the Lethbridge. His research areas include herbicide-resistance, weed ecology and biology, integrated weed management, weed seedbank dynamics, crop/weed interference, and long-term agro-ecosystem experiments. Charles grew up on a farm near Pilot Mound, Manitoba. He enjoys tackling some of the worst weed problems in western Canada head-on, and helping growers augment weed control systems to manage these weeds effectively.
B.Sc. Agroecology & Ph.D. Plant Science, University of Manitoba.

This session will give an overview of herbicide resistance in Alberta and provide an outline and examples of herbicide layering techniques for herbicide-resistant weed management. It will include an effective integration of non-chemical weed control tools with herbicides. Knowledge of herbicides, herbicide layering techniques, and other management practices can help farmers get the most out of weed management and stay ahead of herbicide resistance.
Canada has the third greatest number of unique herbicide-resistant weed biotypes compared with other countries. Alberta is no exception with 26 known unique herbicide resistant-weed biotypes that impact farming systems.

1 pm Dan Johnson

Dan Johnson (BSc, UofS; MSc and PhD, UBC) teaches data analysis, environmental science, and biogeography as a professor at the University of Lethbridge. He is vice-president of the Entomological Society of Alberta, and a former preseident of the Entomological Society of Canada. He recently organized and led the first 5-year program of monitoring Potato Psyllids in Canada. He introduced the first use of computer-based geographic information systems (GIS) for insect forecasting, in 1989 and following years, for grasshoppers. Dan has conducted hundreds of field experiments in Alberta and around the world, and is interestedin getting the most out of sampling.


Insects in crops are tricky to sample and monitor, because they have emergence and growth that depends on weather and last year’s situation, and they have complex spatial pattersn in fields. Some are invasive, some are declining, and some come and go. We will discuss some of the problems with using sampling and numbers to predict insect abundance, what will happen next and managing populations with IPM strategies.

2 pm Ken Coles, Farming Smarter Executive Director 

Ken earned the position he holds today through strategically selecting goals, delivering outcomes and building a team to produce high quality, relevant research results for Alberta farmers. Beyond his educational achievements, Ken consistently learns from his experiences and develops insights that feed his unique ability to spot trends, identify opportunities and produce results. This places him at the forefront in all his endeavors and makes him a leader. 
Ken manages his family’s small irrigated farm outside of Coaldale. 

Precision planters are typically used to seed conventional row crops such as corn or soybeans. However, producers are experimenting with them to plant small grains and other crops. Manufacturers design precision planters to be flexible making them adaptable for use in a variety of crops with relative ease. 

3 pm Kevin Cussen &  Mark Johnson 
Kevin joined the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm in early 2020. He joined as the LiteFarm product lead. He now leads the effort to put LiteFarm in the hands of 10,000 farmers worldwide by 2023
B.S. Computer Science,University of Texas, MBA Global Business University of Washington


Discussion of an automated, sensor-integrated, open-source platform to provide continually updated irrigation prescription maps for variable rate irrigation systems. 


June 24
8:55 am - 4:00 pm
Free – $75
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Farming Smarter
403 317 0022


Farming Smarter
211034 Hwy 512
Lethbridge County, AB T1J 5N9 Canada
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403 317 0022


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