b'Here, experts from across the industry will discuss issues that are top of mind, share technical advancements, talk about tips for success and provide perspective on policy.SEED TESTINGAre we in for a Cold, Early Spring? Its Time to Think About Vigour TestingMoses Palmer, senior seed analyst/laboratory manager for 20/20 Seed Labs, 2020seedlabs.caTHE FARMERS Almanac made headlines again recentlyand it was. Disease levels have indeed been muted in cereals when it predicted a record-breaking cold winter for Canadalike wheat, barley, and oat. So far, weve had just about one or and the United States over the next several months. The Prairietwo percent of samples that tested positive for fusarium, and provinces will be hit the hardest this year with heaps of snow inthese samples came from southern Alberta, which is normal both January and February, the Almanac is predicting. because of the higher prevalence of irrigation there. Whether the predictions end up being accurate or not, itDuring spring, one thing I usually worry about is dormancy. seems weather records are broken left and right these days, andThats why weve again encouraged dormancy testing right after as climate change continues to rear its head, its not hard toharvest, as well as further testing in the spring. imagine that extreme temperatures are heading our way. That brings me back to the possibility of a record-breaking But first, the good news. Overall, the seed quality this yearcold winter. Lots of snow is good news for fields, as it ensures has been very good. In many ways, it was an ideal year for mostgood moisture early in the season. That said, what if a record-parts of Canada. We havent had the typical issues we have withbreaking cold winter leads to a cold, early spring? a lot of dormancy at this time of the year in cereals.Cold weather early in the year has implications for seed One thing weve been keeping an eye out for is mechanicaldevelopment and growth. If this plays out, it will mean that damage in peas, due to the really dry conditions we had invigour testing in the early spring will become important. Seed August, which was the peak time for pulse harvest.can easily have a 98 per cent germination rate, but vigour is Weve had some samples coming to the lab that have varyingreally important because you need to know how your seed will degrees of mechanical damage, but nothing thats a massivehandle such cold, early spring conditions.concern at the moment. Its never too early to think about spring and what tests you I expected the disease pressure to be relatively low in 2022,may need to do to ensure a successful growing season.CEREALS SEED VARIETY Debates, Discussion and Variety Selection on my Family Farm Karlene Yakemchuk, sales manager for Alliance Seed, allianceseed.comIF YOUR HOUSE is like ours, the beginning of October isWe also look at marketability. For example, Im prime season for some very passionate (read: noisy!) debatesrecommending we consider CDC Endure oats for its yield about next years variety options. Im fortunate to have apotential, disease package and the fact that, as a milling oat, it seat at the table and blessed to be part of a family that valuesoffers more marketing potential. discussion and group decision making.We always trial. As someone who practices agrology and Heres what weve found works for us: advises farmers, I never recommend jumping with both feet into First, we do good research. Were not afraid to try somethinganything new. On our farm, weve designated a couple 40- to new (we usually select one or two new varieties to trial each50-acre fields as trial fields. We know those fields cropping year) but were realistic and always do due diligence. Everyoneand production history well, so they give us the best possible reviews the Alberta Seed Guide to start. Im able to add insightopportunity to see what a new variety can do on a field scale in because, as a sales manager for Alliance Seed, I get to see howour conditions. varieties from all the major seed companies perform in a wideWe dont put all our eggs in one basket. Yes, there have been variety of settings.years when we wished wed planted all of one variety and none We consider multiple traits. Like everyone, we chase bushels,of another. But overall, we know diversifying mitigates risk. but disease resistance is important too since eliminatingAm I happy that we are leaning towards AB Cattlelac barley to fungicide applications saves money and time. As cattleserve our needs for silage and combine-able barley? Absolutely, producers, we bale straw so dont mind taller varieties, butbut more because its a solid fit for our operation than because standability is a must-have. For us, wed rather have a steadyits my companys variety. Still, I expect more intense dinner Eddie variety that ticks every box than a variety that offersconversations ahead before we make our final decisions! exciting yield upside but high risk. 40seed.ab.ca'