The Olds College farm has historically focused its usable farmland to support the needs of the college’s livestock enterprises through hay, pasture, silage, feed grains and some cash grain. However, with the introduction of the Olds College Smart Farm a new agronomic approach is required to support the needs of students, staff, researchers and industry partners. 

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Renewed Approach to Agronomic Management

The Olds College farm has historically focused its usable farmland to support the needs of the college’s livestock enterprises through hay, pasture, silage, feed grains and some cash grain. However, with the introduction of the Olds College Smart Farm a new agronomic approach is required to support the needs of students, staff, researchers and industry partners.

Fortunately, Olds College was able to call upon one of its own to provide a renewed approach to agronomic management on the Smart Farm.

Steve Larocque is an independent crop advisor based out of Three Hills, Alberta. As owner of Beyond Agronomy, he manages over 30,000 acres of cropland and publishes The Spark, a weekly e-newsletter that focuses on innovations and new ideas gleaned from around the world. He is also a first generation grain farmer who farms north of Drumheller and one of the first to implement a full controlled traffic farming and inter-row seeding system in Western Canada.

Steve has been working with producers for over fifteen years. He is a Certified Crop Advisor, has a diploma in Crop Advisory from Olds College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Lethbridge. Steve is a 2007 Canadian Nuffield Scholar and spends much of the off season travelling internationally to speak to farm groups and scouring the globe for innovative crop production techniques to bring home to Western Canada.

Since the fall of 2019, Steve has worked closely and collaborated with Olds College faculty, staff and researchers to define the following agronomic strategy for the Olds College Smart: 

  • Be a leader in evaluating real world, problem solving technologies in crop and livestock systems.

  • Ensure the entire OC Smart Farm land base is optimized to generate the greatest return for all stakeholders.

  • Introduce and evaluate new farming systems such as regenerative agriculture, controlled traffic farming, relay cropping, fencerow farming, inter-cropping etc.

  • Introduce new and proven agronomic practices that ensure OC Smart Farm is environmentally, agronomically and financially sound.

  • To bridge the gap between academia, research and farm businesses by creating a space to tackle key cropping and livestock challenges together.