On-Farm Trial Results: 2023 Alberta Grains Plot2Farm

Jeremy Boychyn, Agronomy and Extension, Director | Alberta Grains

For the past four growing seasons, Plot2Farm has been supporting farms through the implementation and data collection of on-farm research trials that test specific agronomic questions.

In 2023, the initiative saw research conducted at eight separate sites throughout Alberta.

2023 trials included:

  • Increasing seeding rates in spring wheat (Willow Creek County)
  • Increasing nitrogen rates in feed barley (Mountain View County)
  • Application of plant growth regulators (PGRs) inspring wheat (Two Hills No.21 County)
  • Comparison of three spring wheat varieties (Foothills County)
  • Increasing rates of enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEFs) at seeding in spring wheat (Four locations: Mountain View County, Willow Creek County, Parkland County and Parkland County)

Alberta Grains is seeking producers for the 2024 season who are interested in implementing on-farm trials. Alberta Grains will work one-on-one with each farm to develop a trial specific to their interests. to get involved, head over to Plot2Farm.com and apply.

In this roundup, we will highlight the results of two of the trial designs. For full trial details, head to Plot2Farm.com.

CDC Go vs AAC Hodge VB vs AAC  Viewfield (Foothills County)

Partnering with Newman Farms in Blackie, Alberta, this trial compared three Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS); CDC Go (registered in 2004), AAC Viewfield (registered in 2016), and AAC Hodge VB (registered in 2022).

Table 1: Yield, and quality results comparing Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS) varieties CDC Go, AAC Hodge VB, and AAC Viewfield CDC Go in Blackie, Alberta, 2023.

At harvest, no difference in yield was seen between varieties. However, some quality differences were noted.

Significant differences in protein were seen between all three varieties. AAC Hodge VB had the lowest protein at 15.4%. CDC Go had a protein level of 15.9% while AAC Viewfield was slightly lower at 15.7% protein (Table 1).

AAC Hodge VB and AAC Viewfield had similar test weights at 76.6 kg/hl and 76.4 kg/hl. CDC Go had a significantly lower test weight at 74.9 kg/hl (Table 1).

Significant differences were seen in the amount of midge damage between varieties. AAC Hodge VB had significantly lower damage as compared to AAC Viewfield. Although midge damage in AAC Hodge were slightly lower than CDC Go, the difference was non-significant (Table 1).

Additional notes on the field trial included a low level of leaf disease across the trial. AAC Viewfield was notably shorter than the other two varieties. AAC Hodge VB also seemed to have a higher occurrence of wheat stem sawfly damage.

Rainfall between the beginning of May and the end of August totaled 5.57 inches. The month of May received only 0.33 inches. Consequently, this trial encountered significant drought stress which likely impacted the yield potential of each variety.

Increasing rates of Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers (EEFs) at seeding in spring wheat (Four locations: Mountain View County, Willow Creek County, Parkland County and Parkland County):

Partnering with Triple H Farms, Vermue Farms, Blue J Farms, and Bishop Farms, this trial compared the impacts of increasing the percentage of spring-applied nitrogen in the form of an EEF or Environmentally Smart Nitrogen (ESN). Although each trial implemented a similar concept, application rates and products differed between locations (Table 2).

Table 2: Treatments, enhanced efficiency products, nitrogen loss protection, and varieties used in each trial investigating the effects of EEFs on yield and quality of spring wheat.

SUPERU, Nitrain 2.0, ESN, and Neon Air are marketed as volatilization inhibitors. SUPERU, ESN, and Neon Air are also marketed as denitrification and leaching inhibitors. Note that each product uses different technologies or rates so equal control cannot be assumed.

For all four trials, there was no difference in yield between treatments. In the Willow Creek trial, the use of 25% or 50% of the nitrogen as SUPER increased protein by 0.3-0.4%.

In each of these trials, nitrogen losses due to volatilization, leaching, or denitrification were not significant enough to impact the yield or quality of the crop. This is likely due to two primary reasons.

First, all nitrogen forms were banded at seeding. Deep banding of urea significantly reduces the risk of volatilization loss. Second, spring conditions for all these trials were relatively dry. These dry spring conditions substantially reduced the risk of denitrification and leaching. This indicated that when banding urea deep and dealing with dry spring conditions, EEFs may not provide an economic benefit.

To see a complete breakdown and results of each trial, please visit Plot2Farm.com