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Saskatchewan Crop Diagnostic School to take place in Melfort this July

A team of crop extension specialists from the Ministry of Agriculture is gearing up to provide another year of Crop Diagnostic School this summer.

The field days are set to take place in July at one of Saskatchewan’s Agri-ARM sites – the Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation (NARF) in Melfort, SK. Crops extension specialist Tyce Masich said it’s a great opportunity for members of the agriculture industry to network and learn new crop scouting skills from provincial specialists and researchers.

“There’s about ten of us crops extension specialists scattered all throughout the province. So basically, we offer unbiased agronomic advice to producers,” Masich said.

The team has worked the last 11 years to plan and run the school. They also update a handbook each year written for the participants. There will be five different stations with presentations or demonstrations and the opportunity to practice technical field scouting skills with the experts. The stations include weed identification, disease, insects, herbicide injury and soil science.

“Insects are a big part of pollination within crops and plants in general. We have a provincial beneficial insects specialist and he’ll be there presenting on beneficial pollinator insects that are good for your crops and that farmers want to do their best to preserve,” said Masich. “On top of that, we’ll have two specialists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the provincial inspect specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture will be discussing harmful pests to crops. Grasshoppers will be a hot topic there among other insects.”

The soil station will feature demonstrations on establishment of forages, diagnosing seedling damage from improper fertilizer management, and variability within the soil profile. At the herbicide station, two experts that specialist in weed biology and spray technology will discuss Group 2 injury, how tank mixing affects herbicide efficacy, and canola’s response to low doses of different herbicide groups.

“Part of our role as crops extension specialists is to put on events like crop diagnostic schools, agronomy research updates and other events that connect farmers, producers, agronomists in the industry with these researchers, entomologists, disease pathologists so they can also use our extension events as a platform to promote their research findings and best practices in crop production,” Masich said.

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