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A third year of on-farm research

Jeremy Boychyn M.Sc, P.Ag, Agronomy Research Extension Specialist | Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions

The Plot2Farm program continues to expand into 2022

The value of on-farm research continues to expand in Western Canada. As farm technology around variety selection, equipment use and fertilizer management continues to accelerate and evolve, crop production has become increasingly farm-specific. Consequently, farmers are seeking farm-specific answers to their agronomic questions.

The Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions recognize the growing value of on-farm research. In 2019, both commissions earmarked funds for the 2020 season to launch Plot2Farm, a farmer-focused, on-farm research program. In 2020, Plot2Farm conducted two trials as part of a pilot year. In 2021, the program expanded to eight trials between both wheat and barley. For the 2022 season, the program is embarking on its third year with 12 separate trials across the province.

The goal of Plot2Farm is to put more research power in the hands of Alberta wheat and barley farmers. The Plot2Farm program provides farmers with science-based trial protocols that help to answer farm-specific agronomic questions. Each protocol is replicated and randomized with design considerations for farm scale trial implementation. The protocols test a variety of topics that include; plant growth regulators, enhanced efficiency fertilizers, row spacing, nitrogen rates and more. Plot2Farm is designed to assist farmers in taking their agronomic management to the next level.

For the 2022 season, Plot2Farm expanded the application process to allow the submission of custom trial designs. Along with applications for seeding rate, nitrogen rate, and split nitrogen trials, there was overwhelming interest in the investigation of nitrogen-fixing foliar applied products. Considering the cost of nitrogen fertilizer and the current policy landscape surrounding fertilizer use, information from these trials will provide enormous value for Alberta producers. For a complete list of this year’s trials and locations, see Table 1.

Table 1: Plot2Farm trial protocols, locations and designated crops for the 2022 season.

Farmer Jason Craig near Delburne, Alberta, is implementing a Plot2Farm trial in 2022 to investigate the impacts of split-nitrogen application on wheat yield and quality. “This trial is a perfect way to assess the potential value of split nitrogen application on our operation,” said Craig. “Due to the lack of spring soil moisture and high nitrogen prices, split-nitrogen feels like an option to mitigate risk. The results of the Plot2Farm trial will help us make decisions around in-crop nitrogen application in the future.”

Follow along with trial updates and results this season by subscribing to The Growing Point and The Grain Exchange - Latest News newsletters at albertawheatbarley.com. Trial results from previous years can be viewed by visiting Plot2Farm.com. Farmers are encouraged to assess the value of the results when making decisions on their farms and consider if participating in a future season of Plot2Farm could be a valuable tool for their operation.

To learn more about the program, please contact agronomy research extension specialist Jeremy Boychyn at jboychyn@albertawheatbarley.com.