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Field Crop Development Centre: Summer 2022 Overview

The Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology enjoyed a busy summer. Planting was finished mid-May and the growing season started out extremely dry. Although there was little subsurface moisture as a result of the previous drought last year, plant emergence at FCDC locations were still reasonable.

FCDC was fortunate to have more moisture this season and received average rainfall through the summer — although most of it came in a condensed period in June with minimal moisture from mid-July onward. FCDC was fortunate to escape the most severe storms with little hail damage, although high winds with these storms caused lodging in the barley. Overall, there was enough moisture to produce strong yields, but additional moisture during the fall and winter is needed to rebuild soil reserves. 

Lacombe Field Day

fcdc1.webpOn July 27, FCDC hosted its annual Lacombe Field Day with the largest attendance to date along with a hot, sunny day. Presented by Alberta Barley, over 240 people were in attendance and learned about the amazing research and industry collaboration that takes place at FCDC. Guests learned about released varieties of malting barley, feed and forage barley, triticale and the up-and-coming varieties in addition to the quality, biotech and pathology programs. Everyone enjoyed lunch and a can of FCDC’s feature beer of the year, Brew Ha-ha, then it was back to the field. In the afternoon, there were three demonstration stations set up including soil sampling from both the Olds College Centre for Innovation Smart Ag research team and Central Alberta Co-op. The lab trailer was set up to show FCDC's mobile weigh station, as well as a station that demonstrated crossing cereals to breed new varieties. FCDC received a lot of great feedback, and is excited to plan for the 2023 FCDC Field Day!


fcdc2.webpOn August 9 and 10, FCDC was pleased to be a part of AgSmart at Olds College Agriculture & Technology, and have the opportunity to highlight program achievements to the producers and industry groups in attendance. FCDC had a display setup, highlighted the newest crop varieties, and handed out samples of its “Brew Ha-ha” feature beer which was made from the latest malt barley variety AB BrewNet and brewed at the Olds College Brewery. FCDC also had larger demonstration plots highlighting eight crop varieties that were recently commercialized. Lots of people stopped by the plots to ask questions, and staff was on hand to give presentations and hand out information. FCDC also hosted four educational sessions on its pathology, feed and forage, triticale and malting programs. FCDC participated in the Smart Farm bus tours to present its research near the FCDC plots on campus.


fcdc-growth2.webpDuring the summer months, FCDC hosts numerous tours and visits. Many industry groups, researchers and commercial companies are interested in FCDC’s research and the new varieties that are coming into the market. This year, FCDC hosted 12 different tour groups.

With locations in Lacombe, Olds, Trochu and Morrin, FCDC staff is busy ensuring all the plots are harvested and the land is prepared for winter. This takes up the majority of time as there are approximately 10,000 plots, thousands of individual rows, and hundreds of lines that have heads to be picked!

The weather conditions this year were favorable for disease evaluations. The FCDC Pathology team was busy at the beginning of August with disease surveys and collection of samples to study the amount and type of diseases present in the province. FCDC plants a few winter triticale trials including the regional variety trials. These tests need to be prepared and planted in Lacombe in August/September. The indoor growth facility at Lacombe is also prepared and planted in September with material from all programs, which allows FCDC to speed up the breeding process and make new crosses during the winter season.

FCDC is looking forward to completing harvest and switching into winter activities where all of the data collected during the season is compiled and analyzed.