Events Icon


View Events
Events Icon

Smart Partner Program

Learn More
Subscriber Login

Farming Smarter kicks off field season


by Sarah Redekop

We had a great day! The sun shone on about 75 people gathered for our June 8 Plot Hop. After a light breakfast of fresh fruit and pastries, Ken Coles, Farming Smarter General Manager, gave a quick introduction to the day before everyone loaded on to the wagon to head to the first in-field presentation.

Dr. Bob Blackshaw talked about weed control in southern Alberta, resistant weeds and weeds to watch out for in your fields.Photo: S. Barclay

Dr. Bob Blackshaw, Farming Smarter Senior Agronomic Research Scientist, led discussed herbicide staging and resistance with a focus on finding appropriate balances for herbicide applications.

After a quick walk to the next plot, Blackshaw and Coles discussed weeds prevalent to southern Alberta. They engaged the audience in some weed identification fun. However, the importance of understanding the evolution of weeds, along with their ongoing adaptations, was not left out of the lesson. 

Dr. Hector Carcamo talks about insect pests and discusses ways to prevent them from damaging crops excessively. Photo: S Redekop

Next Dr. Hector Carcamo, Research Scientist for Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, led a talk about pesky bugs. He covered the pea leaf weevil, alfalfa weevil and the number one pest in the prairies – the striped flea beetle. Carcamo gave various pointers related to integrated pest management techniques. 






Jan Slaski engages the crowd as he speaks passionately about industrial hemp in Alberta. Photo: S Redekop




Then everyone  ventured over to the hemp plots where Dr. Jan Slaski, Senior Researcher at InnoTech Alberta, passionately delivered information on different varieties of industrial hemp. He covered the best seeding dates and yield rates based on the environmental factors in southern Alberta.

Ken Coles explains how the Monosem precision seeder works with a vacuum rather than a blower. Photo: S Redekop







Coles began the last adventure before lunch in the corn plots. He explained how vacuum plates function on a precision seeder. Then time walked the group along the plots and pointed out the till vs. no-till corn and how different crops in the rotation affect grain corn performance.   

Everyone gathered in the Farming Smarter Quonset to chow down for lunch. The spread included baked ham, cabbage rolls, potato salad, Asian salad and cookies to boot. The attendees enjoyed some socialization and relaxation time prior to the last stop of the day; the Farm Stewardship Centre.

The solar power project at the Farm Stewardship Centre includes solar powered yard lights. Yard lights draw down the batteries at night and make room for energy generated the next day. Photo: C. Lacombe

Once everyone arrived at the Farm Stewardship Centre, it was time to learn about developing technology research projects for agriculture. The tour included seven stations; drone technology in  farming, Alberta weather station information, solar lighting, concrete feedlot bunks, energy efficiency submeters, and phosphorous filters for surface water and solar powered remote operating systems for livestock watering pumps. So, you can see that if you weren’t there, you missed a ton of information that might be useful on your farm!


Watch this playlist

of the Plot Hop speakers