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NSERC funds Strip Tillage/Planter project

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada approved a three-year grant to fund a strip tillage and precision planting at Farming Smarter! 

Strip till / precision planter machines
Farming Smarter’s strip tiller used in recent trials and on deck for this trial.

The project will study the effect of strip tillage and precision planting on canola emergence, seed yield and quality The always reliable Lethbridge College will administer project grant(The writer of this article is a little biased because he graduated from the college). 

 The study will test the efficiency of management practices including strip tillage and precision planting to manage crop residues and improve canola emergence, growth and yield. This project will inform growers of best management practices to followed for maximum seed yield and quality for canola crop production. Project outcomes may help determine if the inclusion of planters, especially for small-seeded crops, is warranted for the agricultural systems in southern Alberta. This is not the only time we have used strip tillage as we have a rolling barley project where we looked at how strip till could affect the cereal. 

 Technicians will collect data and statistically analyze it to assess the effect of treatments on the following metrics: 

  • Crop emergence: Initial determination of stand density approx. 2 weeks after sowing (at approx. 30% emergence on visual inspection). Stand densityassessment will take placeagain at the end of the growing season, to estimate crop survival by counting plants in two, side-by-side, 1-m rows at two representative places in each plot. 
  • Weekly canopy cover will be determined after the crop emergence is visually estimated to be more than 85%. 
  • Days to start and end of flowering and days to maturity for the crop will be recorded.
  • Nutrient deficiency symptoms during crop growth period, if any and crop lodging and harvestability rating prior to harvesting
  • Soil moisture measurement using moisture probe up to 1m depth (at 20 cm depth increments from the surface).
  • Soil temperature recordsusing temperature loggers installed at the depth of 2.5 cm in each plot. 
  • Canola yield will be determined with plot combine harvest master system (load cell).
  • Five plants will be sampled at random from the plots to determine the yield components -number of branches per plant, number of pods per plant, number of seeds per podand 1000-seed weight.
  • Rainfall and temperature data at each site or from nearby weather stations.

 Now that I have thrown a bunch of information at you, let’s get into who will be included in the project. There will be five team members on this project as Dr. Rezvan Karimi Dehkordi, Mueller Applied Research Chair in Irrigation Science at Lethbridge College, Dr. Kenneth Corscadden, Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Lethbridge College and our very own Dr. Gurbir Dhillon, Mike Gretzinger and Ken Coles will all combine their genius for the project. 

 To look at other research we have done with the emergence of Canola, click here.  For future information about the project, make sure to look for a project page on the Farming Smarter website in 2021.