Calvin Penner, Chair
By the time you read this, you will have talked to seed dealers and compared the data on varieties of pulses and soybeans that are the best fit on your farm. Hopefully, you have been able to use some of the data that Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers (MPSG) has generated for more profitable decisions for the upcoming season.
I hope that you have taken the time to talk to an MPSG director or staff at one of the agricultural shows or grower meetings that have taken place over the winter. These are all great places to gather information that you can take back to the unique needs of your farm.
Our staff are always working hard to try to get seed and variety comparisons out earlier to match the timing of the early sales discounts. MPSG’s Pulse and Soybean Variety Guide is a very useful non-biased source of information available to our members.
Last year, harvest was difficult not only for farmers, but also for field researchers. Although, there were challenges with some of the plots, we were still able to gather useful data from the majority of research plots. You will be reading about it in this issue of Pulse Beat.
The On-Farm Network has been a great source of information on our farm. We have been able to do field-size plots. We have tried population trials, seed treatments, fungicides, inoculation trials, rolling trials and other products in field-size replicated trials. Our On-Farm Network staff helped us check these and measure the different treatments on our farm and compare them to similar trials on other farms and other years.
I know that the trial results have saved us money in discovering that some things do not always work as advertised. MPSG also has information that has earned our farm money over the years. I have come to appreciate unbiased, independent research from a source like MPSG that is not trying to make a sale.
I would encourage you to consider an On-Farm Network trial on your farm. The few extra minutes that it takes could pay significant dividends. Our On-Farm Network staff would be happy to share this year’s or a past year’s data. If you have a production question specific to your farm, please call them to talk about setting up a trial. We also have a great website that I would encourage you to take time to check out.
MPSG is involved in small-plot research and have invested in and are collaborating with other groups to make our dollars go further. Together, we can find solutions to common issues and make our farms more profitable. An area of concern, however, is the trend to less government funding and extension.
Another area of immediate concern is, whether there will be enough fertilizer available to keep up with demands. One way to avoid this is to plant a crop that can fix its own nitrogen.
I want to thank our dedicated and hard-working staff for all the work they do for Manitoba farmers. I also want to thank the board of directors for all they contribute. They represent both MPSG and Manitoba farmers on various committees and groups they are part of. Our influence extends to many parts of the Canadian agricultural communities and it is my opinion that together we make agriculture a more profitable place.
I wish each of us a safe and productive growing season. A season that will make the difficulties of 2019 a distant memory, so that we can tell great stories to our children and grandchildren. May 2020 be the year when all the seed salesperson promises come true.