by Lucie Roy
On Thursday, Ward and Jo-Anne Middleton opened the doors to Midmore Farm, located just north of Morinville. The Farm Field Day In-Crop Organic Weed Management Tour drew more than 50 people from across Alberta.
“The field day is part of a larger project called the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative, a four-year program dedicated to achieving resiliency and stability in the prairie organic sector,” said Karen Snethun, Bsc (ag) Agriculture Outreach Coordinator. “We do this by focusing on increasing the quantity and quality of organic grains and developing relationships across organic market value chains. Events such as this field day are part of our work of promoting organic field crop production in the prairies with the aim of bringing non-organic producers into organics.”
At this field day, participants got to look specifically at in-crop and post-emergent weed control for field crops and organic farms.
One of the highlights of the tour was a demonstration of the selective weed mower CombCut, one of only three in Canada. Speaker Charles Newell of Radway explained the workings of the equipment and said the one he was demonstrating was on loan from elsewhere in the province. Of the remaining two, one is at the University of Saskatchewan, and the other is in Ontario.
The CombCut combs through growing crop, cutting weeds and leaving the crop unharmed. It was introduced in Scandinavia in 2008 and expanded to European countries in 2014. It was introduced in North America this year.
Another speaker was Dr. Neil Harker, a Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lacombe. He spoke throughout the day on environmentally sustainable integrated weed management systems, weed biology, competition and weed-crop interactions. Breanne Tidemann, a Ph.D. student, also made a presentation. She has been investigating machinery in this realm with a particular focus on harvest weed seed control. Organic Alberta Staff were also in attendance. Jared Scholten of frontline inc.spoke of the Einbock Aerostar tined weeder and choosing the perfect tine for successfully fighting weeds.
A tour of the Morinville Municipal Cleaning Plant followed the Midmore Farm tour.