Applied research to drought-stricken farmers’ rescue
Albertan applied research associations come together on three new extreme weather-mitigation research studies.
May 3, 2022 (Forestburg, Alberta) In response to increasingly wild weather, applied research organizations from around the province are collaborating on three new RDAR-funded, multi-year research projects that aim to help crops – and farm businesses - better withstand heat, drought and other growing condition extremes.
“We know the weather is changing. The big question we need to answer – as researchers, as individual farmers, as an industry as a whole - is: how can we respond? What solutions can we find to minimize risk or optimize yield even in the midst of increasingly challenging weather? There is an important role for applied research organizations in finding those answers.”, says Dr. Khalil Ahmed, Battle River Research Group’s Manager.
The first two farmer-led research projects are collaborations between applied research associations representing seven different growing zones. The first project will study the inclusion of cover crops in traditional cropping systems to counter drought.
“We’ve known for some time that cover crops can play an important role in creating healthier and more productive soils,” says Dr. Nasima Junejo, manager at Battle River Research Group at Forestburg in east-central Alberta. “Just as their name says, cover crops are a protective cover of sorts, and we hope they can help protect from drought’s impacts too.”
The second drought-mitigation project will study planting winter and fall cereals for silage use.
“Many farmers last year told us they were almost out or entirely out of forage for their livestock. It was an incredibly difficult year for them to feed their animals, leading to a significant sell-off of many herds. What we’re trying to do is mitigate drought impact by finding new or less common feed options.”, says Junejo.
The third of the three new research projects – this one conducted solely by Battle River Research Group and supported by industry - will study the performance of nine wheat varieties grown in varying topography and differing temperatures. In this project, BRRG will be using spatial variable mapping and drone sensors technology to collect data from research sites.
“Not every year will be an extreme year, but we want to gain better understanding of which varieties perform best - and how that changes with topography and temperature - when conditions are extreme",says Ahmed.
“Our goal is to find answers to the questions Albertan farmers are asking,” says Junejo. “We can’t control the weather, but hopefully we can help come up with strategies to minimize the negative impacts of extreme conditions.”
Watch for first results from the studies to be available in early 2023.
For more information about these studies, please contact Nasima Junejo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Battle River Research Group
The Battle River Research Association (BRRG) came into existence after the amalgamation of the Battle River Forage Association and the Battle River Applied Research Association in 1993. We are located in Forestburg, Alberta, allowing us to easily serve the east-central region of Alberta.
Battle River Research Group’s vision is: beyond sustainability through innovation in agriculture. Its mission is advancing agriculture as an independent, producer-driven resource.