Field of Dreams helps farmers boost production and improve bottom line

The 21st annual Field of Dreams open day was held by Prairie Soil Services on July 25, along with partners Lindgren Farms, Bayer Crop Science, ATP Nutrition and Pattison Agriculture. The event is held to give growers in the local area an update on wheat, canola and pea agronomy, said Liam O'Halloran, Prairie Soils agronomy manager.

“The Field of Dreams aims to push production by targeting yields above and beyond the average. Thereby, growers can expect to drive down their unit cost of production,” said O’Halloran.

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The demonstration is done on a large scale at Lindgren Farms near Norquay, with two quarter sections dedicated to canola and two quarter sections to wheat. A new addition for this year was one quarter section of peas. 

“By conducting the trials on a grand scale, the results are more representative of a farm operation than a standard test plot by itself,” said O’Halloran. “The project has seen some excellent results and some important lessons have been learned.” 

For 2019, yield goals of 120 bushels/acre of wheat and 100 bushels/acre of canola have been set. 

O’Halloran said an important part of the venture is replicated trials in research plots.

“This year we have replicated trials in wheat and canola investigating variety, pesticide, and nutrition performance as well as the interaction between specific varieties and inputs,” he reported. “We also have trials to assess the effect of seeding rate in wheat and seed size in canola.”

The day started with a tradeshow from the Field of Dreams sponsors, giving growers the opportunity to discuss varieties, inputs, machinery and technology with the various reps. “Growers were given a demonstration of Climate FieldView software and the importance of gathering information from their field operations,” said O’Halloran. “By combining this information with digital imagery, farmers can gain insights into their farm operation and push their production capabilities.”

With rain setting in for the afternoon, the crop tour was brought inside. O’Halloran and Megan Dick, Prairie Soils agronomist, presented ‘Peas PhD’ an overview of the important agronomic decisions that need to be made to a pea crop to take the yield beyond the average. They also introduced growers to X10 agronomy, the Prairie Soils full agronomic suite and alignment program to simplify and streamline a farm’s agronomic decisions, focusing on maximizing the return on investment and helping farmers sustainably grow more.

Brittnye Kroeker, Bayer Seed growth specialist, delivered a presentation on pea leaf weevil, a pest that is becoming more prevalent in East Central Saskatchewan, and how seed treatment is vital to get control.

Dan Owen of ATP Nutrition gave an overview of the importance of crop nutrition and the essential role it plays at all stages of the season to enable bigger yields.

“Unfortunately, the day was too wet to tour the canola varieties plots,” said O’Halloran. “Instead the product reps gave informative presentations on the varieties that will be available for 2020, while we witnessed a first of its kind with a video tour of the Falco plots.”

The day was wrapped up with a fundraising and networking dinner with proceeds from the 50/50 as well as a donation from the Field of Dreams project to The Do More Agriculture Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focusing on mental health in agriculture across Canada.