SPG Field Trials Translate to Knowledge for Producers

Results focused on maximizing profitability

by Noelle Chorney

In 2017, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG) funded applied research and demonstration (ARD) projects as well as grower field trials to generate data for producers. Small- and large-scale projects were conducted, studying production related issues including seeding rates, fertilizer applications, and intercropping. Results for each of the projects will be reported on the SPG website in early 2018. 

Nine ARD projects took place across Saskatchewan this year, from small plot to field scale projects. Each project had its own focus and was carried out in different regions of the province, so growers can see how the application works in their area. “It
is the first step in testing emerging research in different regions to see if results still hold true under various environments,” says SPG’s Agronomy Manager, Sherrilyn Phelps.

The 2017 demonstrations included dry beans, faba beans, chickpeas, lentils, dry peas, and soybeans. Many of the projects took place at AgriARM (Agriculture-Applied Research Management) sites. Phelps and others at SPG work closely with AgriARM
sites to identify projects that are important to growers and can help with addressing agronomic issues for the pulse industry.

The 2017 ARD projects included the following:

  • Sulphur response in peas and lentils
  • Phosphorous management in lentils and faba beans
  • Intercropping flax/chickpeas and mustard/lentils
  • Predicting yields using normalized difference vegetation index mapping in soybeans and field peas 
  • Mapping for Aphanomyces and root rot in lentils

Some of those projects will be carried over into 2018 so that results can account for variations in weather from year to year.

“With the applied research projects testing at multiple locations, you can see the influence of different environments. We can identify which applications or practices may work best in specific regions, as well as which practices we would recommend overall,” says Phelps. 

This was also the first year that SPG conducted Pulse Replicated On-Farm Independent Trials (PROFIT) with participating producers. “We are pretty excited about these trials, because they help to address limitations in the results from small-plot tests,” says Glenda Clezy, SPG’s Agronomy Specialist, who is responsible for overseeing of the PROFIT Trials. “We want real-farm results for producers.”

SPG provided the protocol, which can be done with typical farm implements. “We try to keep the procedures as simple as possible,” says Clezy, “but it does take a bit of extra effort for producers during seeding and harvesting.”

One of the projects that was scaled up from a research demonstration project to an on‑farm trial relates to seeding rates in lentils. The on-farm tests will evaluate if the results from the smaller plots hold true when replicated on a larger scale. Another
PROFIT project tested inoculant rates for soybeans — and whether the rate of inoculant impacts yield or protein content, including if there is an economic benefit. “We are trying to get as much use out of our trials as possible, measuring multiple
outputs when we have known inputs,” says Clezy.

“The more people willing to participate, and the more information we can get from different areas of the province, the more confident we can be in our recommendations to growers.”

SPG’s agronomy program is also gathering data from regional variety trials on 48 different soybean varieties, ranging from 0006 to 006 maturity groups. Ten locations, from the southeast to north-central and north-east regions will help provide data to
growers regarding how different soybean varieties mature in their regions. 

“It gives perspective and guidance on the different maturity groups perform acrossSaskatchewan,” says Clezy, “and gives growers a chance to consider new varieties and compare them to ones they have already grown.” Results for the regional soybean trials will be available in early 2018.

 Pulse growers in Saskatchewan will have more solid data to help them in their crop planning for 2018, thanks to these ARD and PROFIT trials. There will be more projects happening in 2018, so be sure to get involved.

Field Scale Pea Leaf Weevil Trials

Dr. Meghan Vankosky (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada-Saskatoon) and her collaborators are conducting SPG-supported research in Saskatchewan to test the efficacy of different insecticide products against pea leaf weevils in field pea crops. The first year of small plot trials was completed in 2017.

To complement data collected in plot trials, Dr. Vankosky is looking for volunteers for field scale insecticide trials. Cooperators will be asked to keep an unsprayed/untreated check strip of field peas in their fields to allow comparison of yield from treated and untreated plants. Producers from southern Saskatchewan, in areas where pea leaf weevils have been of concern in the past few years and who are interested in participating in this research, can contact Dr. Vankosky directly (meghan.vankosky@canada.ca or 306‑385‑9362) to express interest or for more information regarding this project.

How to get involved

Growers who are interested in participating ARD projects or PROFIT trials can sign up to participate by contacting 306-668-5556 or pulse@saskpulse.com.