I started this May as the new research coordinator at Alberta Canola, freshly graduated from a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I hit the ground running, learning about and managing our research programs. I have big shoes to fill as I cover for our research director, Brittany, during her parental leave, but the challenge has been welcome. Working for Alberta Canola has opened my eyes to the complexities of canola research (and agricultural research in general).
I am impressed at Alberta Canola’s commitment to funding research that benefits Alberta canola growers. Every year, we allocate funds to a diverse array of research projects, ranging from combatting diseases such as clubroot and blackleg, to developing varieties resilient to the challenges of climate change. However, our million-dollar budget only goes so far. Part of my role here is helping discern which projects are most relevant and beneficial
It is exciting and rewarding to be involved in funding research projects that will have a positive impact on canola farmers, the canola industry and the environment. So far, I have enjoyed the process of reviewing research proposals and seeing so much potential for the future. I look forward to seeing which new projects we fund for the new year!
This year SaskCanola funded new projects with a diverse range of themes, including drought tolerance and water use efficiency from ancestral brassicas, insect pest monitoring, disease resistance and monitoring, phosphate management practices, micronutrient advantages in Canadian canola meal and high value uses of canola meal for industrial fermentations. We anticipate results from other applied agronomy projects including evaluations of nitrogen-fixing foliar biologicals, phosphate solubilizers, and effects of seeding rates and dates on yield and resilience to flea beetles.
This year also marks the completion of the previous five-year Canola Cluster. This included foundational research on verticillium stripe in Canada, an important new challenge. These verticillium research results provide base knowledge to continue forward with new collaborative research efforts by teams across Canada.
We were also excited by the launch of our first year of on-farm field-scale research trials, and hope to build on this program with our partners and new cooperators next year!
We look forward to meeting with you at our winter extension events to discuss the results of our many research projects your levy dollars are funding, as well as our other programs including free disease testing for verticillium, blackleg and clubroot.
As the research manager with Manitoba Canola Growers Association, I’m responsible for prioritizing farmer-identified research needs, managing funding, exploring new research collaborations and growing our on-farm research program. I have been immersed in agriculture my entire life through farming, industry jobs and post-secondary education. My love for the agricultural community paired with curiosity has driven my research career and continues to push me to ensure that the MCGA research program is aligned with the priorities of Manitoba farmers. I also ensure that results produced from our program are available to farmers in a format they can use.
In 2023, we saw a ramp up of our on-farm research program, including an increased range of trials and greater collaboration across the industry. The goal of this program is to create and report farm-level data to support canola farmers across Manitoba to make meaningful on-farm decisions. The program is still in its infancy with only two field seasons currently completed, but planning is underway for 2024 field season. Working alongside the other commodity groups in Manitoba with established on-farm research programs, our hope is to provide a well-rounded set of farm-level research results to growers.