BY RYAN WELLICOME
The Lacombe Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) held its annual Lacombe Field Day on Wednesday.
The event is held to inform growers of the crop research being done at the FCDC and new and upcoming crop varieties.
A tour of was held of the fields in which research is being conducted.
“The tour will highlight FCDC research alongside Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) research and that of Agri-Food Canada,” said Field Day coordinator Erin Collier.
Education on topics including disease control, wheat class modernization, future directions in cereal breeding and managing impacts of short canola rotations was emphasized by the FCDC’s experts.
According to FCDC Head of Research Flavio Capettini, crop adaptability is key for growers.
“The 2015 growing season emphasized how important it is for varieties to show adaptation, not just to variability in the field, but to changing conditions within a season and differences between years,” he said.
“We are looking forward to the new varieties that are going to contribute to the future of agriculture in Alberta.”
Varieties of wheat, barley and pulses were showcased in a tour through the fields of the research centre.
Varieties of general purpose, food and malting barley are one of the largest areas of research conducted at the FCDC.
The breeding program’s main target area is western Canada but some of their breeds have shown adaptability to other areas such as eastern Canada and other countries according to the 2016 research report.
One of the demonstrations included was ‘Malting the Way’, a demonstration of barley’s relationship to the brewing industry.
Malting barley is used not only by the big players of the brewing industry, but also the craft brewing industry.
“Craft brewing is the largest increase segment of our brewing industry and it’s exciting to the malting industry because, although the craft industry may only be 20 to 30 per cent of the (brewing) industry, they’re at least 50 per cent of the malting industry,” said barley breeder Dr. Patricia Juskiw.
“They eat up 50 per cent of the malt being produced by our malt houses.”
Also, some of varieties shown were those that were bred to create durum wheat, one of the most widely produced wheat crops in the world.
Other talks and demonstrations included a barley and wheat disease demonstration, a demonstration of how to use the CombCut – a new weed management technology – and information regarding the growing popularity of pulse crops in Alberta.
Pulses include chick peas, field peas, lentils and fava beans.
Research at the FCDC is funded through various organizations including the Alberta Wheat Commission, Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola Producers, Alberta Pulse Growers and Alberta Seed Growers.