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Crop Production


With 3,600 acres of farmland to work with, the crops research team at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology is able to perform small plot, strip plot, or full-field commercial scale crop production trials.

The key goals for crops research are to develop and test ways to improve agronomic practices — including nutrient application or pest management — in order to enhance crop yield while consuming fewer resources. Ultimately, the intent is to transition the food production sector to a climate-resilient, agricultural, circular economy.

The crops research team delivers results that can be applied to real farms to meet the goals of efficiency, profitability and sustainability.

Crop research services include:

  • Conducting regional variety trials (RVTs) as well as fertility, herbicide, fungicide and insecticide trials. 
  • Performing field, greenhouse and laboratory studies focusing on chemical and biological integrated pest management, soil health, crop rotation, nitrogen use efficiency, new crop evaluation and crop variety testing programs.

Crops Research Projects

  • A precision sprayer technology is being tested at the farm level on the Smart Farm — in replicated field trials — and is achieving strong results with significant reductions in chemical application. Researchers aim to continue exploring the merits of green-on-brown precision spraying towards the identification of viable weed management options for barley, canola and pulse growers.

  • A project on enhanced yields in winter wheat versus spring wheat looked at profitability and suitability under the unique growing conditions in central Alberta. The team has also been testing winter rye versus spring rye with great success over the last three years, along with examining winter survivability, winter kill, disease resistance and yield. The findings are encouraging and should provide a good option for cereal growers — especially during drought prone years.

  • A pest-related project is exploring the prevalence of insect pests in cereal fields. For the coming year, the focus will be on root lesion nematodes and investigating possible spatial correlation with wire worm infestations. A second project is underway exploring the effectiveness of beneficial nematode species as a biological control measure for mitigating damage to canola crops caused by black cutworms and root maggots.

researchers in field

Crops Research Projects

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Current Projects

Small Plot Crop Research

Crop research, small plot trials or full field investigations, is key to Olds College crop research portfolio.

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Efficacy of Commercially Available Entomopathogenic Nematodes

In active research projects regarding nematodes, researchers aim to contribute to the development of sustainable pest management strategies and the promotion of ecologically sound agricultural practices.

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Greenhouse Trial: RezFree Application

The OCCI crops research team is conducting a potted greenhouse seed trial with AgroBiome comparing different timings of application of their product RezFree on seeds.

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Optical Spot Spraying

WEED-IT is a precision sprayer designed to apply herbicide directly on weeds and avoid wastage. The goal is helping producers reduce herbicide use and subsequently costs related to herbicide application.

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Team Members
Hilke Beuck headshot

Hilke Beuck

Research Technician - Field Crops

Shabeg Briar headshot

Shabeg Briar

Research Scientist - Crops

Dayani Patuwatha Withanage headshot

Dayani Patuwatha Withanage

Research Associate

Ike Edeogu headshot

Ike Edeogu

Research Manager

Leona Megli  headshot

Leona Megli

Research Technician - Field Crops

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Shabeg Briar, Ph.D., P.Ag.
Research Scientist - Crops

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