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High Value Specialty Crops




Timeline: 2018 – current

Lethbridge Project Contact: Ken Coles

Project Lead: Dr. Jan Slaski, Innotech Alberta


The agriculture industry in Canada needs to be diverse within strong developing markets. This means it is extremely important for on-farm profitability that producers can meet demands and identify opportunities for added value within their market. One such opportunity is adding high value specialty crops to western Canadian crop rotations. We want to identify the best fit of novel crops into standard crop sequences within three agro-climatic zones.


  • Identification of the impacts of novel crops introduced to production in Alberta and Saskatchewan on the performance of staple crops
  • Diminish risks of crop failure due to inadequate management of new crops by the lack of knowledge for novel crop production
  • Generation of comprehensive, agro-climatic zone specific agronomic information that will be critical for successful introduction of novel crops into rotations.
  • Dissemination of knowledge throughout field days, papers, reports and electronic media


Locations: Lethbridge, Vegreville, Falher and Indian Head, SK.

This project will focus on field trials designed to determine the effects of various crops in rotations using a set of zone specific staple crops and selected novel crops. This information will help producers make decisions on where to fit  novel crops into crop rotations. The project includes trials executed at four locations over four growing seasons aimed at maximizing practical information regarding crop performance in different agro-ecozones.

We will  use a strip design approach for this study, involving eight crops including a core set of staple cops (wheat, barley, canola, pea) and selected novel crops (hemp, quinoa, dry beans, soybean, flax, corn) gaining popularity among Alberta growers. Since there is significant climate differences among the locations, novel crops will be site specific.

The design will result in 256 plots (8 proceeding crops x 8 crops x 4reps) in Year B. Each plot will be 64 m2 (16m x 4m) or 32m2 if only shorter strips are possible. To avoid inter-plot interference only central portion of each plot (48 or 24m2) will be harvested for yield quantification.

Year A will be seeded in 2018, 2019 and 2020 in a new site at each of the four locations. Year B will be seeded in 2019, 2020 and 2021 on the Year A site from the previous year.

Such approach will generate 64 crop sequence combinations. These are just two year sequences. Therefore, this experiment will be conducted three times at each of the four locations providing us with a potential of 12 station-year of data.


This project is currently in progress. As we move forward, we’ll update you with some more information! 

Thank you! 


Check back in winter 2020 for this section


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