New technology, drones and gadgets part of 2014 Crop Diagnostic School

There’s also a one-day Organic Diagnostic Clinic July 18

New field-scouting tools, including drones, will be part of this year’s Crop Diagnostic School at the University of Manitoba’s Ian N. Morrison Research Farm at Carman.

The annual event that provides agronomists and farmers with hands-on, in-field learning, runs July 4 to 11 and July 14 to 17.

During the mornings, Crop Diagnostic School participants will learn about weeds and herbicide resistance, insects, cereal and soybeans diseases, nitrogen management in wheat and canola and vertical tillage, said John Heard, a soil fertility specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and school spokesman.

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There’s increasing interest in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones for crop scouting. A fixed wing and ’copter drone will be demonstrated.

The school has partnered with Enns Brothers Equipment to demonstrate precision management techniques, Heard said.

“We’re going to be looking at some gadgets too,” he said. “Not everyone has a trained eye or calibrated eye for crop nutrition.”

The GreenSeeker, a tool for assessing nitrogen fertility based on crop colour, is now available as a hand-held unit for $500, Heard said. It can also predict yield.

An iPhone app that helps assess crop fertility, providing guidance on whether to add more nitrogen will be demonstrated.

It costs $175 for a day at the Crop Diagnostic School. (The group rate for 50 or more is $125 each.)

Credits are available to Certified Crop Adviser and Certified Crop Science Consultant.

The Organic Diagnostic Clinic July 18 costs $35. It will be an advanced course for commercial organic producers and advisers focused on field crops. Many of the weed and nutrient management concepts and strategies could have application for vegetable production, but the focus is on cereals, oilseeds and pulses.

Some information, such as cultural weed control, will be valuable to non-organic farmers, Heard said. It’s a tool to delay the onset of herbicide-resistant weeds.

“Management plays such an important role in organic,” he said.

“There are gleanings people can take from that they might work into their system at some point.”

To register for the Organic Diagnostic Clinic and/or the Crop Diagnostic School call 204-745-5663.

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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