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CONTENTS Pulse-Wheat Rotation Update

SARA Chairman’s Message

from Year Three

5 SARA takes Advantage of Room to Grow

6 Pulse of Pea Production Pending on Pea Leaf Weevil Control

8 Long-term Benefits of Surghum-Sudan becoming Apparent

9 SARA Finds a Keen Agronomist

10 For Higher Yields Include Forages in Crop Rotation

11 International Change the Way of the Future

12 Seeding Equipment

13 Efficient Water Use in Dryland Cropping Systems

14 Southern Alberta Winter Pea’s Near Future

16 Save Money with a Trap Crop

17 Research Funding Presents Challenges and Rewards

19 Join the SARA Network

20 Reduce Fertilizer Costs through Soil Testing

21 Book Review


2006 was another interesting year in agriculture in Southern Alberta. A long overdue hot summer helped many crops. Generally higher commodity prices have more than made up for any hurt that the hot summer might have inflicted. 2006 was also an interesting year for SARA. The highlight of the year was a commitment for funding for capital purchases that equip SARA in a fashion that would give us the capability to do small plot research and field scale demonstration plots. Another highlight of the year was being able to host the Diagnostic Field School at our permanent site on the land we leased from the Lethbridge Community College. This is one of our partnerships with other organizations that really yielded results. This year also saw funding for other SARA programs stabilize. The “Alberta Advantage” and our hot economy have challenged many organizations in Alberta in the area of manpower and SARA was not immune. While we had great people work with us this year and their excellent efforts allowed us to meet our goals and obligations, we did lose our agronomist, Paul Jungnitsch, at the end of the year. Paul is completing his masters program and we will miss him. We have found a capable replacement in Ken Coles who has recently joined us. Ken brings a wealth of experience and great enthusiasm to this role. As Ken has a long history in the local

area, we look forward to having Ken around for a long time! SARA is all about farmer-directed applied research. We bridge the gap between technical research and the farm. SARA has many assets as it moves forward. We will have an excellent lineup of equipment as the capital plan comes together. We have land to carry on our applied research. We have a great list of partner organizations for project collaboration. We have a good staff. The limiting ingredient to future growth and success is farmers to direct this research. Please join SARA today and get involved. Best wishes and prosperity in 2007.

Corny VanDasselaar SARA Board Chair

Farming Smarter is published annually by the Southern Applied Research Association, RR8-36-11, Lethbridge, T1J 4P4 with the assistance of the Southern Alberta Conservation Association and support from the Agriculture Opportunities Fund and Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture program. Editorial Board: Ron Lamb, Alex Russell, Richard Fritzler. Editor: Claudette Lacombe • Cover Photo: Claudette Lacombe Photography: Claudette Lacombe, Hector Carcamo, Jamie Rieger, S.A.R.A. Published by:


Pulse-Wheat Rotation Update from Year Three The results from the 2006 Southern Applied Research He encourages farmers to try this on their operations Association (SARA) Pulse/Wheat rotation seems to lay to using peas in one field and fallow in an adjacent field to rest one of the biggest concerns of this practice accordcompare for themselves. He also encourages farmers to ing to SARA agronomist Paul Jungnitsch. share their results with SARA. “We definitely found that you don’t build up weeds in this rotation; which was an expressed concern by farmers,” he says. An on-going long-term rotation trial (13 years) at Bow Island on small plots, tried different rotations such as continuous wheat, wheat-fallow, wheat-wheat-fallow, flax-wheat-fallow, pea-wheat and grass. Ross McKenzie, Agronomy Research Scientist with the Crop Diversification Centre of Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD) in Lethbridge led this study. His study prompted SARA to try a larger trial to take pea-wheat rotation to a field scale study. They set out four sites in southern Alberta: Lethbridge, Lomond, Etzikom and Schuler. On each site, they planted two 80-acre fields alternating between field peas and wheat. SARA plans to continue the study for five years. Results from the third year of SARA’s study indicate the rotation creates increased income for the field. In his study report, Jungnitsch says, “Compared with the long term AFSC wheat yield average on fallow in the same areas, these fields produced an extra three bushels of wheat in addition to the 36 bu/acre of peas from the otherwise fallow year.” “Gross income on the sites averaged $118.00/acre over the three years. Net income (measured cash input costs plus 35.00/acre for machinery expenses) averaged $53.00/acre. Compared to the net income from a calculated fallow/wheat rotation using AFSC averages the pulse/wheat rotation gained $60.00/acre in gross income and $51.00/acre in net income.” Jungnitsch adds, “There is a symbiotic effect with the root systems. Mycorrhize fungi extend the root system of the pulse plants. This system stays in place for the wheat when you follow them directly in a The root system of a pulse plant. – SARA photo rotation.” 5

Participants diagnose the growth/disease issues with the seedling crop during Ron Howard’s’ presentation on crop disease.

– S.A.R.A.

SARA takes Advantage of Room to Grow For instance, in the weeds and herbicides module, Brian Storozynski first showed everyone the different low-drift sprayer nozzles available, and then let them go look at crops treated with them. In another lesson, farmers heard about common crop pests from Hector Carcamo. Then they went into the field, did sweeps and received a lesson on how to measure pest levels and how to identify natural control insects also in the sweeps. “Spraying insecticides isn’t always a good fix. If you let the natural predators build up, they will fix the problem for you,” says Jungnitsch. They also had space to demonstrate various seed brakes. Jungnitsch mentions that these can be expensive equipment, so the trials aimed to show if the cost is justified. “It definitely cuts the air, but whether it makes a difference or not was hard to tell from the demonstration (50x100 feet). The farmers were able to walk through the field and judge for themselves if the equipment justifies its cost.

While there is definite value in learning through lectures and reading materials, nothing sticks in the mind better than applied practice. Southern Alberta Research Association’s (SARA) 2006 Diagnostic Field School (DFS) took full advantage of its new spacious home and organized two days of dig-in-the-dirt experience for participants. With the 50-acre parcel, SARA invited agriculture research scientists to create sessions that offered direct know-how to people attending the DFS. Organizers also reduced the number of modules to allow more time per module for expanded learning opportunities in the field. “All winter, farmers go to meetings and conferences where they receive information through presentations. This was an opportunity to walk around the field and look at results,” says SARA 2006 agronomist Paul Jungnitsch. Over the two-day event, 126 participants dug, caught bugs and did walking surveys of crops managed with different equipment or inputs. 6

They also had an opportunity to work with Ron Howard to identify crop diseases in-field. Howard had seeded lots of various varieties and allowed participants to dig in the fields and learn how to identify diseases. Rob Dunn had two large soil plugs: one from a conventionally farmed field and another from a no-till field. He discussed the differences in soil structure after long-term management under each system. These are just some examples of the modules SARA offered at the 2006 DFS. A survey of participants showed 98 percent of the participants found the information current and useful. All of them indicated they would use the information onfarm. “Several people indicated that the 2006 DFS was the first field school they had attended and they appreciated the learning opportunity offered by it,” says Jungnitsch. The 2007 DFS is well into its planning stages with modules on irrigation and winter crops confirmed. It will take place at Lethbridge Community College July 10-12. To register or for more information, contact Elizabeth Tokariuk, 403-328-0059.

Brian Storozynsky talks with farmers about various spray nozzles displayed at the DFS 2006. – S.A.R.A.

Diagnostic Field School 2006 Instructors Weeds and Herbicides • Bob Blackshaw Research Scientist, Crop Weeds Sustainable Production Systems Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Lethbridge Research Centre • Brian Storozynski Project Technologist Agricultural Technology Centre • George Lubberts independent agronomist in Nobleford, AB Soils/Agronomy • Rob Dunn Conservation Cropping Specialist AB Ag • Lawrence Papworth Seeding and Tillage Project Engineer • Ray Dowbenko P.Ag. Agrium • Blaine Metzger Project Technologist Agricultural Technology Centre Insects • Hector Carcamo Research Scientist, Insect Pest Management Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada • Scott Meers Integrated Crop Management Specialist Diseases/Varieties/Novel Crops • Ron Howard Plant Pathology Research Scientist AB Ag

Become a Member of the Southern Applied Research Association Help direct farm research in this region. Receive early notice of conferences, workshops, field days. Send your SARA membership fee, $40 per year to Southern Applied Research Association, RR8-36-11, Lethbridge T1J 4P4 Name ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Membership/subscription $ enclosed___________________________________________________________________________________________ Major farm interests _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Pulse of Pea Production pending on Pea Leaf Weevil Control

must be peas and the larva feed on the nodules on the pea plant. Once the larva finish feeding, they pupate in the soil and emerge in late July to mid-August. As the second generation of adults feed on any legume they can find, in the fall it tends to be alfalfa. As facultative diapods if it gets warm enough in winter the adult pea leaf weevil will wake up and feed and when it cools off they will go back into diapods; which Meers noted makes them well suited to southern Alberta’s winter climate. Meers stated that there is a two-fold concern with the pea leaf weevil, the adult stage spring feeding on the emerging pea seedlings and the more significant impact of the pea weevil larva feeding on the nodules of the pea plant thereby reducing the peas nitrogen fixing capability - which is one of the main reasons we grow peas. Meers stated, “while we’re not as concerned with the spring larva feeding, that is what we make our economic threshold determinations on because it’s an indication of numbers and our opportunity for control is in the adult stage.” For southern Alberta, Meers indicated that the nominal threshold (the best estimate based on the information available that it is based on science not yet well validated by research) is one feeding mark out of three clam-leaf pairs damaged (the most recently emerged leaves) for insecticide foiler application prior to the six-node stage. With respect to control measures, Meers noted that there were no registered insecticide products for Pea Leaf weevil in 2006. However AF has, in cooperation with the product manufacturers, applied for emergency use registrations of two products for 2007. Meers stated that he and Agriculture Canada’s Hector Carcamo as lead researcher will be involved in 2007 with a research project looking at control measures; thresholds; and impact on the nitrogen status of the plant in field plots in Lethbridge, Foremost and Bow Island, in addition to AF’s Winter Pea trap crop research trials. Pending further research funding, he said investigation into the impact in other crops would be undertaken particularly in seedling alfalfa as it is seeded later in the summer after taking a silage crop and emerging at the time of the second generation of the pea leaf weevil. He also indicated that Dr. Owen Olfert at the University of Saskatchewan is doing “climex modeling” that takes the parameters under which the pea leaf weevil will do well and Western Canada the regional climatic parameters to predict where the weevil will become a problem. Through the ongoing efforts of SARA and Alberta Agriculture and Food, focus on pea leaf weevil control may lead peas to become a viable crop option for southern Alberta. For more information, contact Scott Meers, 403-362-1366 or

The determining factor in whether or not peas become an integral part of Southern Alberta cropping systems is Pea Leaf weevil control according to Scott Meers, Integrated Crop Management Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Food (AF) in Brooks. The Pea Leaf weevil (Sitona lineata), is a pest of seedling pea plants. Meers indicated that, while southern Alberta is one of the last major pea growing areas of the world to have the Pea leaf weevil, it has established itself and is continuing to spread its area of influence. Found as early as 1997, it initially became an issue in Alberta in 2000 in the immediate Lethbridge area. Meers indicated that their AF survey in 2006 found that the pest was in all the counties south of highway #1 through to the Saskatchewan border with serious concerns from Claresholm to Foremost through to Bow Island. Given that it over winters as an adult in hedgerows and perennial legume stands, alfalfa fields in southern Alberta are the primary over wintering sites. With warming temperatures in the spring, it will migrate out once threshold temperature is reached and is strongly attracted to pea fields, feeding as an adult on seedling peas. In order to reproduce in southern Alberta, the host plant for their eggs


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Long-Term Benefits of Sorghum-Sudan Becoming Apparent Long-term use of warm season grasses, such as Sorghum-Sudan, in a rotation appear to offer far more than simply an alternative forage. Corns Brothers Farm Ltd. began growing SorghumSudan about 14 years ago according to Brian Corns. It began as a seed trial and showed favorable enough results that the Corns brothers kept using it as a forage crop in their rotations. Brian says there is much he likes about the crop and how it fits with other operations on the mixed farm in Grassy Lake, AB. “Part of everything we do has more than one or two underlying reasons,” he explains. He adds that his family farms in an area of Alberta that throws multiple years of drought, intense heat and more weather variability at them than other areas of Alberta. Over the years, the Corns tried different ways of handling the mature crop as forage. They tried baling, swath grazing and finally winter grazing. They found that the Sorghum-Sudan contains enough fiber to stand up to the weather and grows large enough for the cattle to easily graze all winter. In a typical year, Sorghum-Sudan grows to five feet, but recently a neighbor told him that during a wet year it reached 12 feet. “I don’t think there are other varieties of forages, other than warm season grasses, that fit the same bill. We tried millets as well, but they don’t seem to have the same amount of fiber in them to tolerate the weather and animals tramping through the field as they consume it in the winter months,” Brian says. As they grew to have a better understanding of how they could use it in their rotations, Corns Brothers Farm began notice other benefits more difficult to pencil into the bottom line. Brian explains that the Sorghum-Sudan seeding takes place late in spring (late May-early June). This allows them to fit it nicely into the seeding schedule with the same equipment they use for their other crops. “It certainly optimizes the seeding tool,” he comments. With the ability to winter graze rather than bale or swath, he says they also use less equipment such as balers than they might if using regular forages. Also, the move to winter grazing means less on-farm labor and healthier cattle. “You don’t have manure issues, confined livestock disease issues or all the issues oriented around having

SARA agonomist Paul Jungnitsch stand in a mature crop of Sorghum-Sudan. – S.A.R.A.

cows confined to a corral,” Brian adds. Winter grazing also removes the need for manure storage and spreading and takes advantage of direct input of nutrients through cattle urine. “The actual nutrient recycling is starting to have noticeable benefits,” he says. “If you add the same amount of fertilizer every year after a sorghum rotation (on the following crop of wheat or canola), you have a net kick of 25-50% more available nutrients – all nutrients – than you would if you just continued a wheat, pulse, canola rotation.” Brian says to date the longest they’ve planted Sorghum-Sudan in a field is four years. They haven’t noticed any negative impacts on the field and in fact see a benefit. He explains that the Sorghum-Sudan gives his fields a break from most pests. Therefore, when the field returns to wheat or canola production, he saves money on pest control. He particularly noticed a drop in wheat sawfly problems. Brian believes Sorghum-Sudan offers an excellent rotation option. He notes that when a wheat crop follows in the rotation, it seems to be of higher quality with more protein. These benefits appearing from the adoption of Sorghum-Sudan into rotation convinced the Corns brothers the crop has a permanent place on their farm. “We’re keying in on enough benefits that we’re looking to continually add more areas of our farm that we fence and run underground water sources for cattle to gain those particular advantages,” he says. “I think in the future if we become more technical, we’ll probably become more diligent with soil testing for various main nutrients and try to key-in on the advantages and disadvantages, if there are any, of Sorghum-Sudan,” 9


Agricultural Technology at Lethbridge Community College

finds a

Keen Agronomist

Ken Coles joined SARA January 2007.

Ken Coles stepped into the Southern Applied Research Association agronomist position Jan. 15. He brings with him a Masters of Science, Environment and Management, a Bachelor of Science degree (chemistry) and 10 years experience as an agronomist. He’s worked with Agriculture and Agrifood Canada, Monsanto Canada, Thiessen Cattle Custom Feedlot, Lethbridge Research Center, Alberta Pool Research and Development and Norwest Labs. Coles learned of the position about five years ago and kept in touch with former SARA agronomists Pat Pavan and Paul Jungnitsch. He kept thinking that the job looked very interesting. “It’s a very broad-based, big picture position and that’s what attracts me,” he says. He adds that he sees it as a job with tremendous opportunity to further his knowledge of the industry and help, teach and learn from producers on any area of agriculture. He hopes to bring some sustainability projects to the job and emphasizes he means sustainable financially as well as environmentally. “I’m there for producers,” he says and wants to hear from anyone who has ideas or questions related to agriculture. He also hopes to foster involvement in SARA among producers. “I guarantee any farmer that I can save him at least the $40 membership fee if they join SARA.”

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Current SARA Board Members President: Corny Van Dasselaar, Lethbridge Vice President: Don Wentz, Lethbridge Richard Fritzler, Etzikom Jerry Holtman, Taber Les Chomany, Taber Ron Lamb, Claresholm Alex Russell, Lethbridge Ron Svanes, Picture Butte Dean Hubbard, Granum Dave Yancie, Foremost Phil Hierath, Milk River Susanne Brummelhuis, Brooks

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For Higher Yields Include Forages in Crop Rotation A comprehensive study that looked at the benefits of including forages in crop rotations has proven that forages do in fact increase yields in certain wheat crops and increases nitrogen levels in the soil as well. Dr. Paul Jefferson, a research scientist who has been conducting his studies at SPARC (Semi-Arid Prairie Agriculture Research Centre) in Swift Current, tested a number of wheat crops with the inclusion of Beaver alfalfa and barley to determine if forages would increase yield in reduced tillage fields. "Beaver alfalfa was used because when you're going for hay production, you will get better yields off Beaver," said Jefferson, who was a guest speaker at the 13th annual Reduced Tillage Conference that took place in Medicine Hat in December. In his studies, Jefferson compared short-lived grasses-Dahurian wildrye and Slender wheatgrass to Intermediate wheatgrass. "These were used because they are competitive with alfalfa, with similar botanical content, with Intermediary most comparable with alfalfa," said Jefferson. The findings from this study are based on three trial crops planted in Swift Current in 1998, 1999 and 2000 and each compared the two short-lived grasses to Intermediate

Story & Photo by Jamie Rieger Paul Jefferson

wheatgrass. Each trial ran for a three-year span. Trial One, seeded in 1998 and terminated in the spring of 2002, was seeded to barley in 2002 and 2003. Trial Two, seeded in 1999 and terminated in the fall of 2003, was seeded to barley in 2003 and 2004. Trial Three, which was seeded in 2000 and terminated in 2004, was seeded to barley in 2004 and 2005. "We found that during the second year, there were great yields, but not much difference between the grasses and we had low grain yields compared to the continuous wheat where we used nitrogen and phosphorous. In the first year, there was a negative impact because we did not put any nitrogen down," said Jefferson. "Soil moistures were comparable to the continuous wheat as well. Alfalfa uses water to a deeper depth than other grasses. It will tap into sources below 10 feet down. The longer you leave alfalfa in, the drier the profile," he added. Jefferson recommended a two to three year maximum for alfalfa stands. "Old alfalfa stands tend to get tougher as they get older," he said. Jefferson found in his studies that Slender wheatgrass and Dahurian wheatgrass could yield results competitive with Intermediate wheatgrass.


He also discovered that Dahurian wheatgrass did not persist past three years, especially if in the mixture with alfalfa. Persistent alfalfa produces a higher yield than annual alfalfa cultivars. Intermediate wheatgrass reduced barley yield and barley yield, by 2004, was higher after alfalfa/grass than after grass in two out of three trials. Alfalfa produced a nitrogen benefit to barley, but N2O emissions were very low after terminating the alfalfa. "We need to have that alfalfa in the hay crop to get the nitrogen benefit and this is the benefit. It's no different than chickpeas or lentils and here it shows that benefit in two consecutive years," said Jefferson. No tilling or reduced tillage also has helped increase the benefits of nitrogen. "When you till, you create a disturbance in the soil and in the nitrogen," he said. Jefferson has 25 years experience in forage crop research. His current projects include short rotation forage crops in diversified cropping systems, annual cool- and warmseason forage crops, P fertility to enhance alfalfa productivity and persistence, light quality impacts on forage seeding growth, and declining hay yields in Saskatchewan. "Forages haven't typically been part of our rotation. Reduced tillage has allowed us to use forages as part of our rotations. We have an excellent outdoor laboratory at Swift Current. We needed to have perennial forages in our crop rotations and we were able to get the three plots at Swift Current," he said.

International Change the Way of the Future

Story & Photo by Jamie Rieger

Darrell Toma

Alberta farmers should expect more obstacles on the global front and need to diversify their current operations if they want to remain competitive, according to a leading consultant in the Agriculture and Agri-food industry. Darrell Toma, Founding Partner, Toma and Bouma Consultants spoke about emerging issues and improving management practices to a group of producers in December. Toma and Bouma Consultants is a consulting firm that focuses on strategic development for the Agriculture and Food sectors. The firm, with more than 25 years experience, works with agri-businesses, producer organizations and government agencies. For the past three years, Toma and a number of research groups have studied the Future of Farming and Best Management Practices. Toma presented key factors that have been compiled into the “Knowledge Guide” at the Southern Alberta Conservation Association’s Reduced Tillage Conference in Medicine Hat last December. Toma said international issues such as World Trade Organization trade negotiations, competition from the United States, European Union, China, India, and Russia, trade barriers, security and disease mobility and global change is going to further impact the profitability of the Alberta farm. “Change is coming in regards to international issues. China, India, and Russia are starting to become more competitive. If you take labour cost comparisons (2004), it costs China $59 per month per worker. By

comparison, it costs Singapore, $1,468,” said Toma. Toma said Alberta producers need to diversify to remain competitive. “There is a lot of pressure for value added products and best management practices. We can learn lessons from people who are doing a good job now,” he said. Organic products, greenhouse and horticulture, meal ready snacks, and functional food and nutriceuticals are a number of avenues producers should consider for the future. “Organic vegetables and food products are becoming more common. People are more concerned about their health and are eating more vegetables,” said Toma. The challenges to starting up a greenhouse or horticultural operation would be in energy costs, labour, packaging, and marketing. He also said meal ready snacks are an emerging opportunity for the agriculture producer. “Hospitals get a lot of their meals ready made, using organics and processed meat. Given the demographics and the fact that it provides quality and convenience for the customer, there are many, many opportunities,” he said. Local crops such as oats, barley, flax, canola, rhubarb, herbs, and


black current are becoming increasingly in demand in the health care industry and farmers should be considering this avenue for marketing their products. “The drivers here are health costs, population demographics and a demand for natural products. The biggest challenges would be technology and regulations,” he said. Biodiesels and ethanol are two other emerging industries that could give the Alberta farmer a competitive edge. “Biogas is becoming a new revenue for heat and power and biomass supplies are in demand. The drivers are energy costs and supplies and the challenges are technology, costs, feedstock supply and leadership. There is a huge amount of biomass out there not being used,” he said. The biggest current obstacle for biodiesels and ethanol in western Canada is a lack of processing facilities, but new federal programs should see an increase of plants in the coming years. “We need to shift from production oriented to market oriented and we will need to develop an environment farm plan, an animal care plan, have an HACCP plan, a biosecurity plan and integrate with protocols to make it happen,” he said.

Seeding Equipment

Story & Photo by Jamie Rieger

L. Papworth

New technology and improvements to existing seeding equipment technologies has given the producer who is using conservation tilling practices more options for their operations. The trend seems to be moving away from air seeders to precisionoriented air drills; which according to Lawrence Papworth, an engineer with AgTech Centre in Lethbridge, have increased in popularity for the double-shoot, low draft openers. Part of the reason for this is the savings in fuel that they provide. Papworth said there is a number of double-shoot, low draft openers on the market today to meet the needs of the farmer. “The Dutch opener places two rows of seed on the outside and a row of fertilizer in the middle. The Dutch opener opens like a spreader tip with minimal mixing and not enough to cause damage to the crop,” said Papworth. Papworth said the move towards air drills necessitated the need for a similar technology for fertilizer application. “A general movement away from air seeders and towards air drills necessitated the development of new ways of applying fertilizer. With air seeders, seed could be planted and a high level of nitrogen could be applied at the same time because of the wide seed spread of the openers,” said Papworth.

The double-shoot openers place the fertilizer two to three inches below the surface and to the side of the seed in a single pass and place the seed and fertilizer at the same depth. AgTech has been testing a number of low draft, double shoot openers that are currently on the market and have found performance to be very good. Improvements to disc openers has also minimized the problem of durability. The ‘old-school’ openers tend to be better suited for small seeds that require shallow and accurate seeding depths. Farmers practicing conservation tillage understand the importance of residue management to enrich the soil, conserve moisture and minimize weed germination. AgTech has tested a number of existing and emerging types of equipment that could spread the residue with minimal disturbance to the soil. “We recently did a three-year project that looked at crop emergence and yield. Some of the equipment seems better suited for soybean and corn crops and not suitable for here,” said Papworth. A prototype system, developed by Tony Brummelhuis was one of the better pieces of equipment for crops planted in southern Alberta. “The Brummelhuis system uses two-fingered wheels and while we found disturbance to be a bit higher than with some of the others, the 13

mean plant counts were generally pretty good; in some crops, there was a significantly higher emergence. We found, though, that it cleared residue but didn’t necessarily increase yield,” said Papworth. “From what we’ve observed in our research, it seems that residue managers only offer an advantage where there are exceptionally high yields and exceptionally high amounts of chaff, such as on irrigation farms,” he said. Another familiar piece of equipment making a resurgence is the soil leveler that Papworth said are now utilized with a set of discs attached to the shank. The disc throws the soil back onto the furrow and allows the drill to operate at high speeds with a wider opener. “The soil leveling devices have become an issue. People want to seed faster and when you do that, you are going to get the soil moving,” said Papworth. “These new soil levelers deflect the soil back and can be put on every opener or onto just the back shanks. You can adjust the angle and put them on all the shanks to allow you to go a bit faster,” he added. “In general, I would encourage you, if you want to get more done, to get the bigger machine and move slower,” he said.

Efficient Water Use in Dryland Cropping Systems

by Jamie Rieger

Perry Miller

At the Southern Alberta Conservation Association Reduced Tillage Conference held in Medicine Hat in December, Perry Miller, an Associate Professor of Cropping Systems in the Land Resources and Environmental Sciences department at Montana State UniversityBozeman discussed with the guests a number of practices he has been studying in the Bozeman area, as well as studies from AAFC-SPARC in Swift Current that look at fallow, notill systems and crop diversification as ways to manage water usage for best crop yield. Miller looked at four key time periods within the 21-month fallow cycle in his study; first winter, spring, summer, and second winter. “There is going to be soil water loss during the short fallow cycle of winter wheat. Water is lost during the fallow cycle even if you don’t touch it,” said Miller. “In-season water is five times more important than starting soil water in terms of exploring yield variations,” he added. At a site in Montana, he found soil water in a tilled fallow system peaked in June and declined by more than an inch at winter wheat seeding in September, despite having received between 1.1 and 2.8 inches of rain during July and August. “That means at least 2.3 to 3.8 inches of water was wasted during that summer. We need to be thinking about appropriate water use intensity,” he said. Miller said that a trial conducted in Swift Current on tillage-based systems has proven that green

manure lentil during the fallow period can be a viable option. “No-till enables increased water use efficiencies, but it remains risky because of drought risk. At Swift Current, between 1997 and 1999, it showed a value in crop diversity of about 70 percent, in proportion to fallow yield,” said Miller. In comparing green fallow to tilled fallow however, yield was lost for the first four years. “We need to seek a profitable balance here. It took five years to turn around,” he said. He also discussed three important ways no-till systems can capture water; create a duff layer, infiltration, and stubble microclimate. The duff layer, crop residue left in various stages of decomposition, can be difficult to achieve in dry regions, Miller pointed out. In order to provide an adequate duff layer, the farmer would have to crop continuously, using two cereal crops for every broadleaf crop. “It is hard to achieve in Montana. It is designed to reduce evaporation, but I have only seen minimal success,” said Miller. He said it is crucial for the farmer to take advantage of rapid infiltration opportunities whenever he can. “You need to capture that rare rain storm,” he said. Miller said that on a no-till field rain is captured and utilized, but on a tilled field, the water will merely run off into the ditch. 14

Snow catch is one of the primary benefits of standing stubble, but Miller said there are in-season benefits to standing stubble, as well. “There is a real measurable yield benefit to spring wheat, peas, lentils, and chickpeas grown in tall versus short stubble, that was not related to snow catch,” he said. Crop diversification and crop rooting depth affect the water available to the current crop and the residual soil water available for future crops. “We compared canola versus sunflowers over a five-year period and we found that three out of five years, the sunflower by far outyielded the canola. That is because the sunflower will go down at least six feet for a water source,” he said. “The pea yield after the sunflower in wheat two years later was still losing 20 percent of winter wheat yield,” he added. Prior to becoming an Associate Professor at Montana State University, Miller worked from 1994 to 1998, as an Alternative Crops research scientist for AAFC-SPARC in Swift Current. His current projects include comparison of water-use-efficiency of no-till and organic cropping systems, pulse crop agronomy, annual forages in cropping sequences, adaptation of winter broadleaf crops, best management practices for greenhouse gas mitigation, and a new integrated study on organic wheat-based systems.

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Southern Alberta Winter Pea’s Near Future Winter pulse crops, especially winter peas, may eventually have a fit for southern Alberta cropping systems according to Rob Dunn, P. Ag., Conservation Cropping Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Food (AF) in Lethbridge. Washington State University developed several varieties of winter pea and winter lentil over the past decade and Montana research in similar climates to southern Alberta has shown good winter survival for pea and fair winter survival for lentils. SARA (Southern Alberta Research Association) and AF trials examined winter peas over the past three years as a potential crop for southern Alberta. AF trials at Lethbridge also included winter lentils in 2006 with promising results, but then 2006 was a very mild winter, so it is too early to draw conclusions. Small plot winter pea trials at Lethbridge by Dunn and Dr. Ross McKenzie, Research Scientist with AF showed good winter survival for the past 3 years. SARA also had good

winter pea survival at three field scale sites in 2006. Winter peas were planted in mid-September, developing about one or two nodes before freeze-up and then resuming growth from a scale node in early spring. They appear to have very good spring frost tolerance and flowering begins in late May to early June with maturity reached by late July. Most of the trials have used Austrian winter types that are only suitable as a forage, but newer yellow and green cotyledon types suitable as food or feed have also looked promising in last year’s trial. While a lot of work remains, winter peas may provide a useful cropping option for some producers. Along with all of the benefits associated with spring pea, they also widen the planting and harvest window to include fall and mid-summer. They have the potential for higher or at least more reliable yields by flowering well before the onset of mid-summer heat; since peas don’t tolerate heat or drought during the flowering stage. For this

Research Drives Manure Technology for the 21st Century Research innovations are critical to make it more practical and economical for Canada's beef industry to manage manure, says Dr. Xiaomei Li of the Alberta Research Council. "Our technology to produce animals is modern technology - 21st century technology," observes Li, a senior scientist in the environmental technologies unit. "But equally important is technology to manage the manure that results from that production. That technology has not been 21st century technology, so that's where we're pushing to catch up. The beef industry is doing an excellent job of managing

manure to the best of its ability considering the limited tools it has. What we need is a push for better technology to take manure management as a whole to another level." More of Li's perspective on the challenges and opportunities for manure management is featured in a new, "Perspectives on Beef Science" article, now available on the Meristem Land and Science Web site, For more information contact: Dr. Xiaomei Li, Senior Scientist Alberta Research Council, (780) 450-5290.


by Reg Norby

reason, most farmers try to plant early to beat the heat and winter peas will take some of the pressure off of the tight spring planting schedule, allowing for an earlier start to harvest. Winter peas may also fit as a forage or green manure option to conventional fallow. Research in Montana has shown that winter pea terminated in mid-June as either forage or green manure (chemical control) is a viable summerfallow alternative with similar yields but better protein in the following wheat crop. Still another potential benefit of winter pea is avoidance of damage from the pea leaf weevil, a new threat to southern Alberta pea production. Pea leaf weevil adults are attracted to pea fields, foraging on the leaves and laying eggs near the plant base. Hatching larvae burrow down to feed on the nitrogen fixing root nodules which is thought to compromise pea yield and quality. Research needs to determine whether winter peas can mature early enough to avoid much of the damage from pea leaf weevil. Even though winter pea may mature before the pea leaf weevil can destroy the nitrogen fixing ability, they do seem to attract the pest. This could be a real advantage if a strip of winter peas or a nearby winter pea field can serve as a “trap crop” to prevent infestation of spring pea fields. In fact, SARA is investigating this practice at two different farms. At Nobleford, the outside 80’ of a 160-acre field was fall seeded with winter peas and the rest of the field will be planted to a pea crop next spring. Another site at Lethbridge has 65’ winter pea strips seeded on both sides of an 80-acre field that will be likewise planted to spring pea. According to Dunn, the earlier growth/development of the

winter pea should attract and therefore concentrate the pea-leaf weevil, restricting pesticide control measures to the border versus entire field area. Benefits include reduced pesticide costs and exposure for the many beneficial insect species that inhabit the field area. The first winter pea trial at Lethbridge in 2004 showed good winter survival of a common Austrian winter type available in Alberta from Progressive Seeds. Because of local access to seed, this type has been used for the SARA field trials, although, according to Dunn, newer Austrian winter types have replaced this variety in the US. Austrian winter types have a very small seed size, high seed coat tannin levels, longer vine length and indeterminate growth habit (flower until drought). They work well for green feed but poorly for grain because they go flat, making for difficult combining and the peas cannot be fed to pigs because of the tannins. Some US farmers mix these types with winter triticale as a fall seeded forage. In 2005, Dunn and McKenzie screened some of the new winter pea types available from plant breeder Dr. Kevin McPhee at Washington State University. Several of the green and yellow cotyledon types looked promising which has led to further work in 2006. According to Dunn, the more upright, yellow and green peas yielded in the 80 bu/acre range compared to about 50 bu/acre for the Austrian winter types. Having begun to establish the agronomic viability of these suitable winter pea varieties, Dunn indicated that the 2007 AF small plot winter pea trials will be focused on agronomic issues related to the newer yellow and green types that have both feed grain and forage potential. SARA will continue to investigate winter pea potential in southern cropping systems as a pea-leaf weevil trap crop and summer fallow alternative using the locally available Austrian winter (AW) type. Thanks to the efforts begun by SARA and Alberta Agriculture and Food, winter peas now have to be further investigated as a potential crop option for southern Alberta dryland rotations. For more information, contact Rob Dunn, 403-381-5904 or

B. rapa trap crop in flower at the Fletcher site in 2006.

– Hector Carcamo

Save Money with a Trap Crop Using a trap crop to attract cabbage seedpod weevils that infest canola may save farmers a lot of money in pesticide applications according to Hector Carcamo, Research Scientist, Insect Pest Management Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “In the case of the canola crop trap, we estimated it’s possible to save up to 90 percent of the cost and that’s a major economic benefit,” he says. “Saving of that magnitude more than makes up for the inconvenience of having to seed the trap crop separately or make changes to the harvest.” Carcamo has worked on finding the best method of trap cropping to control the cabbage seedpod weevil in southern Alberta since 2000. Some of his findings include: the weevil can fly 5-10 kilometers and disperse on its own; they like to over winter in shelterbelts and prefer caragana; they can survive Alberta winters and they can cause huge yield losses up to 35 percent. For his most recent study, Carcamo wanted to determine if earlier flowering canola strips along the borders of large commercial canola fields could concentrate populations of the weevil for control with insecticides. “One objective of this study was to expand our toolbox for pest management,” Carcamo explains. The study area included sites near Stirling and Skiff under dryland agriculture and sites near Coaldale, Nobleford and Coalhurst under irrigation. He stresses that the most important factor for a successful trap crop is that it flower at least one week before the main crop. “We found the best way to establish a trap crop is by planting a Polish Canola species (Brassicaceous Rapa or B. Rapa) because it will flower one week to 10 days earlier than canola ( B. Napus L).” The continued on next page 17

continued from previous page

adults emerge from winter shelter in April-May and move to canola in early to mid-June. The adults feed on the flowers and buds; then lay eggs in the pods. It’s the larvae in the pods that cause the damage to yield. Carcamo found that the weevils first appear along the edges of the fields and quickly move into the crop. However, if an early flowering trap crop attracts them to the field, the farmer can control the population by spraying the trap crop before the main crop starts to flower. For this reason, it may be possible to carefully monitor a canola crop edge to get a jump on weevil infestation, but the trap crop increases dramatically the possibility of successful control. “They will be higher in abundance along the edges at the beginning of the flowering period. The only problem is they tend to move into the field quickly, so the farmer would have to monitor the field edges every two days prior to and during the flower emergence,” Carcamo says. He recommends sweep monitoring the crop – with or without a trap crop – while keeping in mind the economic threshold for weevils is four (4) per sweep.

Cabbage seedpod weevil.

– Hector Carcamo

Carcamo adds an extra caution for irrigation farmers growing canola. Because the weevils like humid and cooler weather, hot dry summers reduce populations for the following year. However, this also means entomologists suspect the weevils do better under irrigation. In fact, because irrigated crops often flower earlier and grow more vigorously, they attract the weevils. “Irrigated fields usually tend to get hit the worst by weevils. You can almost bet your money that irrigated fields will have the most weevils and act like a giant trap crop,” Carcamo warns. For more information or the complete report, contact Hector Carcamo, 317-2247 or CarcamoH@AGR.GC.CA.





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Research Funding Presents Challenges & Rewards As one of 12 Applied Research and Forage Associations under the umbrella of the Agriculture Research and Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA), the Southern Applied Research Association (SARA) provides research and extension services in a number of producer related interest areas. ARECA’s mandate has four main parts that are in turn applicable to each respective association such as SARA – fostering communication among members, partners and producers; achieving sustainability for ARECA and its members through successful partnering; representing its members and the interest of producers at all levels and promoting extension through coordination of member Association activities and hosting of conferences. (Information is available at Although each association provides individualized services for its members, this collaborative effort offers numerous benefits to the combined approximate 1,500 producer-association members and to over 50,000 other Albertans that attend events, receive newsletters and so on. Research funding for these twelve non-profit producer groups presents an ongoing challenge for the respective staff from year to year. SARA’s research receives funds from a number of sources with the majority coming from the programbased Agricultural Opportunities Fund (AOF) initiated by Agriculture Food (AF) in 2003. Portions of this financial support are directed toward both the Diagnostic Field School and the Novel Crops program. SARA’s extension side is partially funded by Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture (AESA). Created in 1997, this long-term, provincially funded program facilitates the continued development and adoption of management practices and technologies that make agricultural production and processing more environmentally sustainable. SARA is also involved in some Regional Variety Trial work funded directly through ARECA. On occasion private research is also conducted and funded by the respective agribusiness. Securing funding sources that will enable research in areas that members find significant is an ongoing priority. An example of shared event sponsorship was the popular two-day Southern Alberta Diagnostic Field School in 2006 that drew over 120 attendees. Sponsors included the Alberta Canola Producers Commission and Alberta Pulse Growers with additional contributions from many related companies and individuals. Agriculture Food (AF), Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Agrium and Complete Agronomic Services provided both assistance in the form of instructors and equipment. (Check

By Ron Montgomery for details on next year’s event.) Elizabeth Tokariuk, Manager of SARA comments that, “Funding concerns for us are a challenge that we are meeting head-on. Our board and members identify a large number of issues that they would like to see addressed through our work. However, there is never enough consistent funding to do everything we would like. The funding programs in place now are very good, but as with all programs, in order to ensure the projects remain relevant, each of the projects has to be renewed on a regular basis. The uncertainty of running a five-year project through an initial three-year program, for example, can lead to some anxiety no matter how current and relevant the project.” A visit to SARA’s website at will lead you to a newsletter link which in turn provides information on past, present and future activities. You can also contact SARA by telephone in Lethbridge at (403) 328-0059 or by e-mail to

Research Champions New Approach to Antimicrobials for Beef Industry Research is helping Canada's beef industry strengthen the management of antimicrobial drugs, to reduce resistance issues and producer cost while supporting animal health. "Finding ways to reduce reliance on antimicrobials is not an easy thing, but it's clear that's the direction the industry has to move," says Dr. Tim McAllister, beef cattle researcher at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) Lethbridge Research Centre. "We have the knowledge today to manage animals better. We know about handling procedures that minimize stress. And we know about a range of animal management practices in the feedlot, including dietary strategies, that can minimize the risk of disease without adding major cost to production. Employing those practices can go a long way toward reducing reliance on antimicrobials." McAllister discusses the research effort to strengthen antimicrobial strategies in a new, "Perspectives on Beef Science" article on the Meristem Land and Science Web site, For more information contact: Dr. Tim McAllister, Research Scientist Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, (403) 317-2240 19

Join the SARA Network Wouldn't it be nice to have a direct line to a network of agricultural practice experts on the leading edge of farming in southern Alberta? According to Ron Svanes, this is what you get out of a position as a Director on the Southern Applied Research Association (SARA) Board. "I always look forward to SARA meetings. I like the fellowship. When you serve on a board, you meet new people and get exposed to new ideas," says Svanes. He considers what he learns through his involvement in agricultural research a way out of a rut. In the past 25 years, Svanes has given a home on his farm to many applied and pure research projects and demonstration plots. He's worked with Alberta Agriculture, Agriculture Canada and SARA. "You always pick up some neat ideas and it gives you the confidence to try it on your own farm. When

you see the plots work, it's not a big jump to use the technology or management on my own farm," he says. He's also built up lots of contacts over the years to talk about farming questions. "It's a great network," he says. He points out there is another side to this coin. Some years back, Alberta Agriculture made cutbacks to budgets that ceased funding for many agricultural research projects. This has forced research scientists and applied scientists to search for other funding sources. "It's a fund raising game. I think one of SARA's roles is to provide mechanisms for applied research scientists to do their work," Svanes says. He believes the research community needs support and SARA takes the onus off the scientists to chase funding for their work. In this way, Svanes feels that by sitting on the board he contributes to the over-

Photo by Claudette Lacombe


by C. Lacombe

all progress of agriculture in southern Alberta. "Farmers need to see new ideas tried and proven in their area before taking risks," he explains and SARA makes this possible. "The scientists will challenge us to try something different." As just about anyone who's served on a board knows, the job can get bigger every time you go to a meeting. Not so with SARA according to Svanes. Executive Director Elizabeth Tokariuk keeps the organizations day-to-day business up to date freeing the Board members to concentrate on Board responsibilities. "She makes our jobs as directors easy and we focus on policy, direction and ideas," he says. The board meets six times a year in Lethbridge or Taber; which Svanes takes advantage of by using the trip to take care of other business as well. "When I go to Lethbridge, there's always things to pick up or I visit the accountant, so I tend to multi-task when I go to the meetings," he says. At the meetings, he enjoys hearing about what's new and talking with fellow members. Occasionally, the Board gets the opportunity to have a one-on-one meeting with an international expert visiting the region. "SARA will organize a small meeting that gives us the opportunity to ask direct questions. It feels very hands-on and intimate," he says. He lists the three greatest benefits of sitting on this board as: small time commitment, exposure to extension and research professionals and special meetings with visiting experts. The SARA Board has 12 directors who serve three-year terms. Elections take place at the annual meetings in a rotation so that there are always some experienced directors on the Board.

Reduce Fertilizer Costs through Soil Testing by Peter Scott

Fertilizer is one of the major costs facing farmers as they head back onto their fields each spring. The necessary nutrients to enable target yields come harvest are not cheap, but deciding what to apply and where can be a crapshoot without the proper information. That detailed support, however, is available to Alberta’s farmers through Alberta Agriculture’s website at and, coupled with their own knowledge of their fields and previous crops, can help farmers ensure they apply only what they require. It’s AFFIRM (Alberta Farm Fertilizer Information Recommendation Manager), and, says Ross McKenzie, a valuable tool that can save money for those who use it while aiding them in achieving their yield projections. McKenzie, a research agronomist with Alberta Agriculture in Lethbridge, favours a combination approach when determining fertilizer use. “Soil testing, combined with data from AFFIRM and each farmer’s knowledge of their operation makes for the best choice,” says McKenzie. Yet, the majority of the province’s farmers do not test their soil, relying instead on crop rotation to give them a benchmark for the coming season. It’s a gamble, another role of the dice that can be eliminated. McKenzie recommends farmers obtain soil samples from each of their fields in 15 to 20 locations at varied depths and have them lab tested to provide data they can then plug into the AFFIRM website. A reputable lab will send back comprehensive information on nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulfur levels and pH, along with a recommendation for the most effective use of fertilizer to obtain target yields.

McKenzie recommends using labs in Western Canada rather than American labs or those in Eastern Canada, as they will base their recommendations on prevailing conditions for the soils and crops in their areas. There is a price to soil testing, of course, but when fertilizer costs for a good-sized farm can run between $50,000 to over $100,000, a bill for $100 to $125 per field for information that can ensure it’s used effectively is a legitimate expenditure, says McKenzie. “It allows farmers to make informed decisions by indicating whether nutrients in a given field are low, marginal, adequate or high. It’s a great tool.” Soil testing in Alberta began in the 1950s at the University of Alberta, before being taken over by Alberta Agriculture. By the mid 1980s, says McKenzie, private labs had sprung up and the province slowly backed out, leaving them to provide the service. A similar evolution occurred in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. McKenzie notes soil testing is not always a yearly requirement; nitrogen and sulfur content can vary from season to season, while phosphorus and potassium generally remain fairly constant. Using this knowledge, farmers can make reasonable assumptions. “I recognize they may not want test every field, every year due to time and cost. But if they test representative fields and combine those results with their past experience and knowledge, they can make educated estimates of their fertilizer requirements.” Crop rotation plays a role in fertilizer use, as does weather. Peas, for 21

instance, use little nitrogen and, in fact, their stubble releases nitrogen into the soil. A farmer planning to follow a pea crop with wheat can cut nitrogen fertilizer requirements by 25 to 40 pounds per acre. A dry year and a low yield will remove fewer nutrients, thus requiring less application the following season. Location is another variable that AFFIRM addresses. Soil and environmental conditions in Lethbridge differ from those in Medicine Hat or High River. Using the data specific to the appropriate area, gleaned from 20 years of research, and factoring in soil test values, farmers can do their own economics. “If nitrogen fertilizer is 45 cents a pound and the price per bushel of barley is $2, the economics of applying fertilizer is quite different than if fertilizer is 30 cents a pound and barley is worth $4 a bushel,” says McKenzie. Fertilizer prices have been increasing of late, primarily the cost of nitrogen, which requires natural gas to manufacture. Potassium, meanwhile, is rarely needed in southern Alberta. Yet, fewer than one in four irrigation farmers bother to test their land; the number is even lower for dryland operations. “Without soil testing, farmers are merely guessing and it’s costing them money. The best combination is soil testing coupled with logic of knowing fertilizer prices, crop values, and the production potential of your land,” says McKenzie.

Book Review

by C. Lacombe

Until reading this book, the whole issue of global warming/climate change seemed like a block of Swiss cheese for me. It was a block of information full of holes. I kept adding slices of information, but those holes have a habit of lining up and making understanding incomplete. I'm a Canadian that lives in one of the coldest provinces in winter. The standing joke in our family is, "Global warming? Bring it on!" When the wind blows at -25, it's very tempting to think of a moderating climate for our region. In fact, a measly three degrees seemed not enough. Let's go for California north! Pump that CO2, it's still too cold around here. At the same time, it's been difficult to ignore how dry it's getting in summer and how much time we spend outside by the fire at my Christmas party. We still get cold snaps, but overall winter seems dry and warm in my neck of the woods - prairie actually. Flannery gave me the answers to many questions. Now I understand that what's happening in my backyard is a tiny part of a much bigger phenomenon. Flannery explains global warming, climate change and global dimming; the composition of the aerial ocean and the impact of chemical changes on its behavior. He explains the interaction between the aerial and liquid oceans that make weather and regulate climate. Also, the major climate regulators, such as the Gulf Stream, and some history of past changes to these that changed climate in different epochs. He also explains the fact that climate change science is about 50 years old and there has never been any scientific doubt that it is occuring. He gives the reasons the public has experienced confusion and doubt about the impacts human activities cause to the planet's weather making systems. He informs his readers about the climate changes we will experience that we are committed to as of 2006 due to the changes already made in the aerial ocean. Because certain substances have documented life spans in the atmosphere, the planet cannot avoid a 1-3C increase in temperature. He catalogues the likely climate impacts under these circumstances and points out that we continue to contribute the catalysts to the atmosphere that

The Weather Makers Author: Tim Flannery ISBN-13: 978-0-00-200751-1 ISBN-10: 0-00-200751-7 Published in Canada by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. can increase this range. He also explains why some regions will see more climate change than others, but that because climate is a global system, no one will escape hardship and changes. He tells us about the extinctions already directly attributable to climate change and those that are inevitable due to current conditions. He introduces the term "committed to extinction" and catalogues the ecosystems and species we will lose over the next 30-40 years - guaranteed. He introduces the term "climate magic gates" that occur at tipping points. Earth passed through two magic gates already - one in 1976 and another in 1998. He also cautions about positive feedback loops; which is when changes begin to create their own momentum. He also talks about how the problem will escalate if we don't make changes and writes about the solutions and steps humans can take to stop further climate change. He outlines which processes contribute the most dangerous emissions and the existing technologies that can replace them. This is where I realized leaving lights on can be more damaging than driving my car in Alberta. Partly because I drive very little, but mostly because we generate electricity with coal in Alberta. I cannot possibly give you all the information in this book in a book review. However, I will say that if you want to understand this issue, The Weather Makers offers the most information tied together to create a solid block that anyone can read. It gives you the ability to make decisions based on scientific information to date related to climate change. For me, it melted the Swiss cheese into cheese sauce that I can use to flavor my decisions.

New Publication from Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company A new publication available free of charge to Alberta producers provides an overview of the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) program in Alberta and an easily scanned snapshot of the resources available. The publication is a special print version of the AEFP Journal, a Web-based magazine that offers pro-

ducers success stories, EFP program information and links to resources. The AEFP Journal Web magazine is updated throughout the year and is also available free of charge at the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company (AEFP) Web site,


Soils & Crops Diagnostic Field School LethbridgeCollege Research CentreHusbandry – July 27 –Site 29th,– 2006 Lethbridge Community Animal July 10-12, 2007

Soil Fertility, Agronomy, Weeds, Herbicides, Diseases, Insects SARA, AAFRD, AAFC and industry to present hands-on workshops. Experts address current issues and challenge you to see more in the plots. An intense learning experience that's invaluable for crop planning, problem diagnosis and management. If you can't come, make sure your crop advisor attends. To register or for more info: Elizabeth Tokariuk 403-328-0059 (Fax 380-3889) E-mail:

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