I met up with agronomist and farmer Steve Laroque, together we visited
, a large scale
farming and cattle feed lot business.
Our tour also included a local Louis Dreyfus grain elevator. Of
particular interest was the increasing issue they are having with Ergot in
this part of Cattle
a black fungus that affects the grain. It has very low tolerance thresholds,
and they have had to introduce cleaning equipment which is capable of detecting
the black grains and uses air to remove them. The elevator we visited had a
annual throughput of about 250 kt. All grain delivered is cleaned at the
elevators prior to export to ensure it meets very tight specs.
|Black Ergot infected grains in a sample|
|A common sight in Alberta, machinery in snow drifts.|
|Feed mixing plant at Cattle land. The feed mixes are controlled remotely from a company in Texas|
We also visited a group of young entrepreneurs who are mentored by Nuffield Scholar Brenda Schoepp. I spoke to them about my research project and about our experiences in Bulla Burra with collaborative farming. Steve also spoke about his agronomy work. One of the group members shared his experiences of the effect of salinity on the ability of a crop to tolerate drought, and how he had manipulated the salinity in his soils through changing his fertiliser practices.