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Specialty Crop Project

The high value specialty crop project fits with Farming Smarter’s mandate to change the way people farm.

Quinoa during summer growth
Quinoa during summer growth Credit: Farming Smarter

The development of high value specialty crops is crucial for a diversified and robust agricultural industry in Canada. It is very important for on-farm profitability and is a key driver for value added industries. With strong developing markets, growers must meet demands by seamlessly integrating these crops into traditional crop rotations.

The high value specialty crop project identifies the best fit of novel crops into standard crop sequences specific to three agro-climatic zones including southern Alberta (on irrigated land), central Alberta and the Peace Country.

Using a strip design, the high value specialty crop project is a four year study that involves eight crops. It  includes a core set of staple crops (wheat, barley, canola, pea) and selected novel crops (hemp, quinoa, dry beans, soybean, flax, corn) gaining popularity among Alberta growers.

Due to climatic differences in the three locations, each site will select novel crops based on questions local area growers frequently ask. As a result, the high value specialty crop project will evaluate 64 crop sequence combinations.

Dr. Slaski in hemp plots
Dr. Jan Slaski in the Peace Country hemp plots.

Decision Guide for crop producers

The research aims to develop a decision making tool for growers that allows them to select the best rotation sequence so that each crop plants into a stubble that allows for maximum success of all the crops. Previous crop stubble can have a beneficial or detrimental affect on crop and its yield.

The high value specialty crop project hopes to give crop growers the information they need to seamlessly integrate new crops into rotations.

We have a playlist for this project on YouTube. You will also find it on the high value special crop project page