If you think you can do a great job of growing canola and are interested in a prize worth close a million dollars you’ll want to sign up for the recently announced Agri-prize Contest challenging Western Canadian and northern U.S. farmers to break the record on canola production.
The Agri-prize Contest announced at Western Canada’s newest outdoor farm show — Ag In Motion — near Saskatoon this week, is calling on farmers to produce a 100- bushel canola crop. It only has to be on 50 acres. It can’t be under irrigation. But other than that the challenge is to use all the genetic, agronomic and technical tools available and hope Mother Nature co-operates to produce an average of 100 bushels over that 50 acres— and you have three growing seasons to work on it.
The contest is jointly sponsored by Glacier Farm Media, Agri-Trend Agrology, and John Deere. The first farmer in Western Canada or the canola region of northern U.S. states to hit the 100-bushel yield will receive the use of a whole fleet of John Deere equipment for 100 hours. The contest will run over the 2016, 2017, 2018 growing seasons. That prize package includes a tractor, sprayer, air seeding system, swather, and combine. And you can use each piece for 100 hours. One reliable source says a large John Deere tractor would rent out for about $250 per hour, so total value of the equipment package is creeping close to a $1 million.
POTENTIAL IS THERE
The 100-bushel canola challenge is a great opportunity for farmers to show the world the production capability of Western Canada, says Rob Saik, founder and president of Agri-Trend Agrology who announced the contest during the opening day of Ag In Motion, located on 320-acres just northwest of Langham, Sask.
Saik, who built his diversified company with a strong team of specialists committed to helping farmers be more efficient and better managers in all areas of crop management and production, says the genetic, technical, and agronomic tools exist to produce a 100-bushel crop — they just all need to be applied.
To achieve the yield he says producers need to pay attention to the fundamentals — to genetics, seed population/seeding rate, seeding speed, proper fertility, and a full palate of crop protection products. “All these elements need to be properly stacked and applied and if Mother Nature co-operates, we can achieve it,” says Saik. The Western Canadian average for canola production is about 40 bushels per acre. The Canola Council of Canada has set a target to increase that to 50 bushels by 2020. Saik says there are reports of farmers achieving 80 to 90 bushel yields, “but no one has hit that 100 bushel yield, as far as we know.”
Tom Mumby on behalf of Glacier Ag Media, the parent company of leading Canadian farm publications such as Grainews, Country Guide, Manitoba Co-operator, Alberta Farmer Express, and Western Producer says the company is excited about being part of the contest, and hopes its information resources will help farmers in achieving that 100-bushel goal. Glen Walsh, with John Deere based in Moline, Illinois says the company is also pleased to be able to offer a prize that can help farmers improve their crop production potential.
Contest registration details will be announced September 15. Farmers will have until Jan. 1, 2016 to register. More information on the contest is available on-line at: www.agriprize.com. While the contest is targeting a 100-bushel yield, there will be a winner regardless. The first farmer to achieve a 100-bushel yield will win, or in the event at the end of the three seasons no one has hit the target, the highest yield over the three years will be deemed the winner.
Lee Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]