Saskatchewan Bulletin

Saskatchewan Bulletin

Introducing SaskCanola’s NEW On-Farm Research Trials Program

The 2023 growing season marked the first year of SaskCanola’s new on-farm, field scale research trials program. While there is merit to small plot trials, it is recognized that growers and agronomists have farm-specific questions that need to be answered and may work best when implemented over a large area. This program was designed to help answer these questions through replicated trials and data collection. The protocol for 2023 was employed on eight farms across Saskatchewan covering all regions and soil zones.

Why was this protocol chosen?

Some crops like wheat and canola generally require a large supply of nitrogen (N) to support high yields and quality, provided naturally from the soil as well as with applied fertilizer. New, commercially available biological products may have the ability to facilitate biological N fixation in non-legume crops, potentially reducing the N fertility requirements of these crops. However, there is little publicly available data regarding the performance of N-fixing biological products on canola.

2023 Trial: Foliar N-Fixing Biological Products

Objective: To determine if farms can see agronomic and economic benefits from applying a commercially available, foliar-applied nitrogen-fixing bacteria product in wheat or canola. Producer-cooperators will determine the value of utilizing this product under the typical management practices and environmental conditions of their operation.

Product: Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus Envita, Syngenta

Treatment: The two main treatments compared crop growth and productivity with and without an application of a biological product under a normal operational rate of applied nitrogen (N) fertilizer. Two optional treatments further compared the performance of the product with a reduced rate of applied N fertilizer. The decision to include two or four treatments were dependent on each cooperator’s objective for conducting this trial.

Protocols required that treatments were replicated and applied in randomized strips in the field. Option A was replicated a minimum of four times, for a total of eight strips. Option B was replicated a minimum of three times for a total of 12 strips. All strips were otherwise managed the same agronomically including seeding date, variety, seeding depth, seed treatment and pesticide application. The layout of Option B was dependent on the equipment width and capability of the operation for prescription-based application. Data collected by farmer cooperators included: spring soil sample, spring plant density, general observations throughout the season, weather data, yield and quality.

Results from this pilot year will be published in February – stay tuned!

Seeking Saskatchewan farmers!

Reasons to join the program and become a cooperator in 2024:

Click here to access SaskCanola-funded research results.

  • EXCLUSIVE NETWORK – opportunity to join a network of farmers and agronomists who are interested in on-farm research and learning from each other
  • ONE-ON-ONE EXPERTISE – working with a research specialist or
    agronomist to mark out trial locations, create maps, and collect data
  • CUSTOMIZED LEARNING EXPERIENCE – execute the trial using your own equipment, land and many of your existing practices while learning how to set up research trials
  • DATA ACCESS – you’ll be invited to partake in the public summer field tour and the private winter wrap-up meeting for primary access to the results of other on-farm, field scale trials in Saskatchewan

Farmers and/or agronomists interested in participating in the 2024 trials or who have ideas for future protocols are encouraged to contact SaskCanola.