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Seeking participants for a study on climate resilient production practices in the Prairies

Research teams at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the University of British Columbia (UBC) are seeking information on some key growing season variables (e.g. field size, harvested area, varieties, irrigation and fertilization practices, etc.) at farm/field scale from producers/farmer groups to answer their research questions. The researchers are hoping to get at least 10-15 volunteers for this study project. The farmers will also in turn benefit from their participation in this project. The research team is offering customized fine-scale satellite-based crop health analytics reports to participating farmers. The participants will receive analytical information such as farm/field-level crop health indicator maps (availability subject to cloud coverage), crop health insights on biomass, water status, nitrogen status, and data analytics and visuals to track and compare crop performance across fields. To participate in the study and learn more about the satellite crop analytics report, please contact the coordinator outreach team members listed below.

Changing climatic conditions and extreme weather events are a growing threat to crop production in the prairies. Although Canadian agriculture may benefit from some warming, extreme weather events are expected to increase in frequency and severity and the past few harvests have shown the damage they can inflict. 

Although information on crop rotations, no-till and improved fertility management is well documented, information regarding what management practices can increase farm resiliency to adverse weather is lacking. Some important questions such as, ‘Which crop and management choices matter? How much can local management overcome climate risks?’, remain unanswered for wheat, barley and canola producers. Using satellite-derived crop health information with ground-truthed farm data, researchers hope to better understand which crops and prairie regions are most vulnerable to climate threats and what farm management choices can help manage these risks.

To fill this research gap, a study team made up of researchers and graduate students from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and University of British Columbia (UBC) are collaborating to develop datasets and tools to evaluate farm management characteristics that enable climate-resilient cropping in the prairies. The research is funded by Alberta Innovates through the Agriculture Funding Consortium. The anticipated outcome of the project is new knowledge on what kinds of farm characteristics or management practices (e.g., small, irrigated, diversified, uses crop rotations) lead to climate-resilient yields. 

Interested farmers can contact:

Coordinator outreach team member:

Jumi Gogoi

Research Assistant (Research Affiliate Program, AAFC), PhD student (UBC)


Ginni Braich, MSc 
Program Manager, Smart Agriculture and Food Innovation 

Further researcher information:

Dr. Nathaniel K. Newlands (Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, AAFC’s Science and Technology Branch) and Dr. Navin Ramankutty (Professor, UBC) will lead the farm/field scale analysis with their student Jumi Gogoi (Research Assistant, Research Affiliate Program with AAFC and PhD student at UBC). Dr. Newlands is an expert in the analysis of climate extremes, crop yield prediction, use of satellite data in agriculture, and development of decision support tools. Dr. Ramankutty has two decades of experience in developing and curating global and regional agricultural land use data products, and in conducting cutting-edge analysis of the relationship between land use, climate change, and environmental change.