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WheatStalk Rocked AND Hit the Target

Here we see rock star Harpinder Randhawa getting right into the rhythm of the wheat.

If you know Farming Smarter, then you know that we like to have serious fun. By that we mean that the work is serious and requires discipline, diligence and dedication. However, it doesn’t need to be onerous and make people ornery! It can fun AND formidable.

Had enough alliteration yet?

Alberta Wheat Commission approached us a couple of years ago about making one of our summer tours all about wheat. This year, was our second time round and we’re hitting our stride with the partnership. Brian Kennedy, Alberta Wheat Commission Grower Relations and Extension Coordinator, started us down the path of WheatStalk and we embraced the idea as only Farming Smarter can.

By the time we got to WheatStalk, we weren’t half a million strong, but we had a learning adventure line up like no other offered in these parts.

Over the course of the day, we learned serious stuff about wheat varieties (spring & winter), diseases, agronomy, hail recovery and insect pests. We brought in headliners such as Dr. Jamie Larsen, Dr. Brian Beres, Dr. Rob Graf, Dr. Harpinder Randhawa and Scott Meers. We also had some up and coming rock stars such as Dr. Reem Aboukhaddour and Dr. Haley Catton. Of course, we also had performances by our Motley Crew; after all, we were in our farm field!

Motley Crew leader!
Am I a pathogen? Nope. Participants had to ask questions until they found out what their headband said.

With the serious learning covered, we snuck in some fun. We made everyone look silly and ask silly questions (although there is no such thing in our books) by playing Headbands at coffee break. We had a lunch that would make a gluten free devotee faint, we had actual live rock music while we ate and a little history lesson about Woodstock.

But, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say our most popular diversion was archery with Lethbridge Fish & Game. We killed a lot of balloons that afternoon and learned who to watch out for if they have a bow in hand. We also seriously injured a few large hay bales and lost a couple of arrows in the wheat crop.

I don’t think we left a single (rolling) stone unturned when it comes to what a person might need to know about growing wheat in southern Alberta. Everyone came away smarter and happier for the experience. So, if that sounds like something you might enjoy, watch for WheatStalk 2018. 

“Oh, archer with your bowstring tight. Won’t you let go with your shaft of light.” Shawn Phillips, Song for Sagitarius

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