The final instalment from Melrose Agronomist, Sarah Connor. Learn all about her travels across Canada thanks to AgLink Australia and AgLink Canada.
July 17th -18th
Toured Ag in Motion tradeshow in Saskatoon. Farm fest and Agquip on steroids. A massive array of Canadian agriculture at its finest. From full machinery displays, try and drive sites, planting, spreading, farm demonstrations, variety displays, nutrient trials all to name a few. Over the two days I had clocked over 26kms walking around through sites. I sat in on a financial farm succession advisor which was a great insight into the difficulties and limitations people struggle with during family operations.
Picked up our loan car while because of the rush of Ag in Motion we scored a brand new full tonne dodge ram truck, a beast!
July 19th – 22nd
Travelled to Bigger to stay with Dennis and Linda on their farm from the weekend. We were set and well warned for a weekend of fun. A truly motivated couple who have sailed through their business life and so full of enthusiasm for the upcoming future of their business and agriculture. We toured plot trial sites of soybeans (variety demo) and canola (nutrient trial), went quading (side by side) through the scrub with their long standing friends, neighbour and client. Safe so say we come out the other side, blood pumping and in need of a pressure washer for the vehicles and ourselves. But boy what a ride. The following day we were off air boating on a local hidden lake, like real life swamp people, we cruised around on the glass like lake for the afternoon. We had an authentic Canada lunch, a weaner roast. Then back out to the waters.
July 22nd – 23rd
Travelled to North Battle ford depot to meet with Alex, a young into her career agronomist.
Toured farms and did crop scouting in Canola, durum wheat, malt barley, flax (linseed), mustard seed, field peas and lentils and triticale.
Stayed with Alex who lives on a horse Ranch, Hidden Meadows Ranch. Another fantastic home stay. There I got to help around feeding out horses and even go for a ride and with a very patient teach did some cutting on a mechanical flag. The facility hosts summer programs, riding lessons, competition weekends and horse therapy lessons. A massive indoor arena on a beautiful farm that overlooks a valley.
Travelled to outlook, attended the crop diagnostics school run by the Sask government. Trial and showcase facility. There they had a number of demo sites for herbicide residual demonstrations, insect detection and identification, pest weeds species, club root awareness and more. Club root, not something we want spreading down under that’s for sure! That afternoon Brendan and I travelled back to Saskatoon.
Travelled to Broderick in the morning to meet with Scott the local Rack agronomist for the area. The rain was well set in for the day, so not so much field touring was ahead of us. We toured a seed farm and grading and dispatch facility, for both organic and non-organic seed grading and packing. Toured a vegetable growing farm, an incredible young enthusiastic farmer with big intentions to develop further.
A major highlight for the day was seeing the areas irrigation channelling, that origins from the Gardiner Dam. This dam which is mostly fed from snow melt into Lake Diefenbaker. The largest earth filled dam by volume. This lake feeds to over 60% of the provinces populations’ drinking water alone. A large portion of the province is now irrigated farm land thanks to the irrigation project established when the lake was dammed.
The night followed with NASCAR races in Saskatoon courtesy of BASF Canada. Woah noisy, fast, wet it all happened but certainly a good night.
Debriefed with Denis, Cassandra and Katie. A bitter sweet ending to a fantastic trip. There are far too many highlights to narrow it down to one and very hard to illustrate the experiences into words.
Overall I ate and drank my way through the trip with wonderful hosts who were more than welcoming. Without whom the trip would not have been the same. The mosquitoes are horrific, the coffee you become accustomed to and the landscapes are beyond words. Industry wise Canadian agriculture is very much supported by government in comparison to Australia. An intense growing season (90-100 days) has farmers and agronomists needing to make decisions quickly or have them pre planned, so lucky they have a fair planning time while they are covered in snow. To answer who does it better is impossible. Australia and Canada both have their restraints. However as always the main limiting restraint is water. Industry wise in Australia we have a lot more research result availability being presented most of which can often be taken for granted especially results.
An incredible experience. All in all you won’t even be able to grasp 10% of my experience via this but ask away and you’ll get an ear full more if you’d like. It was very difficult to board the plane home. What a trip, I will be back!!