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WheatStalk Gets Groovy and Grows Knowledge

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Participants dig up some wheat.
Attendees take a closer look at beneficial insects.

Combining fun and information, WheatStalk took a hands on approach in bringing producers up to date on the newest techniques, equipment and managing practices for growing wheat in Southern Alberta. Farming Smarter and the Alberta Wheat Commission partnered to not only send attendees back in time, but also innovate for the future in a wheat-centric, educational event.

Hayley Catton, scientist at Lethbridge Research Centre, had a little help from her friends as she talked about beneficial insects, wireworms and cereal leaf beetles. Farming Smarter’s very own Ken Coles talked seed singulation and tiller management. Coles asked the group to think like researchers, getting them to dig in the dirt and observe variances between different plots.

Dr. Randy Kutcher travelled from the University of Saskatchewan to talk about groovy rotations for Fusarium and leaf spot management. Brian Beres from AAFC Lethbridge filled the slot before lunch, with his insight into closing yield gaps in wheat production.

What’s WheatStalk without a bunch of wheat?
Sheri Strydhorst instructs attendees to cut early stage plants open to check the number of nodes inside.

We had some more hands-on learning in the afternoon as Sheri Strydhorst from Alberta Agriculture had people spinning her wheel of growth stages and examining plants for their nodes. Strydhorst taught people about the right time to use PGR’s to fit within MRL’s. Travis Albrecht and Tom Wolf closed the learning sessions with a discussion about precision spot spraying with emerging infrared sensor technology.

By the end of the day, no one could ever say Farming Smarter is squaresville. Attendees had the unique opportunity to wind down before going home with a round of axe throwing. People learned how to safely stick the target and had loads of fun doing so!

Wheatstalk was both nifty and informative, and everyone who attended left having learned something. If this event seems like something that gets you keyed, keep an eye out and register for Wheatstalk 2019.

Our fearless leader (Ken Coles) practices his axe throwing.
Farming Smarter staff has fun with WheatStalk theme in their tie-dye shirts.