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To combat the effects of flea beetle damage, the Canola Council of Canada advises that canola be sown at higher seeding densities, larger seed size, and later in the season. Research has shown the benefits of each practice independently, but there exists limited literature on how all these recommendations, acting in conjunction, affect canola production. Through this experiment, by assessing interaction effects we may be capable of measuring the true flea beetle response to these recommendations and provide new recommendations based on these possible interactions. 2020 was the first year of this three-year study, and canola growth was greatly limited at NPARA due to weather-induced stress. Through the years to come, however, the accumulation of data across multiple sites will provide for a robust assessment of these cultural practices.

The experiment was carried out at three sites across northern Alberta: NPARA, Mackenzie Applied Research Association, and Smoky Applied Research and Demonstration Association, and set up as a four-replicate, split plot analysis. The objective of the flea beetle canola trial was to evaluate the impact of seeding date, seed size, and seeding rate on flea beetle leaf damage and flea beetle population:

Along with total flea beetle counts, counts of each particular species was recorded. Other dependent factors assessed include percent damage of seedlings up to two leaf stage, percent of planted canola to reach maturity, and harvest yield.


Seeding spring wheat early has the potential to increase yield, improve grain quality, and result in earlier maturity. Early seeding may allow wheat to avoid/miss the damage caused by wheat midge and Fusarium head blight; be better suited to defend against weed competition, allowing for less pesticide usage; and be harvested earlier and at a higher grade due to the reduced risk of late season frost events and damp weather at harvest.

Performed across seven sites throughout Alberta, the ultra-early wheat trial was designed to assess whether there is an advantage to seeding spring wheat ahead of schedule. By seeding wheat early when soil temperatures range 2-6 Celsius, rather than the norm of 10-12 Celsius, might yield increase? Further, are test weight and protein values at all affected? This experiment compares wheat growth subject to three levels of differentiation: date planted, crop variety, and seeding rate. On two dates, early and normal (where normal refers to when local farmers will commonly seed their spring wheat), two varieties of wheat, AAC Brandon and AAC Connery, were sown at rates of 19, 28, and 37 seed/sq. ft., respectively. The experiment followed a complete randomized block design having treatments replicated four times.


Knowing the levels of nitrogen in your soil provides a base in which one can confidently decide on the amount of fertilizer that must be applied to achieve a desired yield. Similarly, being conscious of carbon levels in soil provides an indication of amendments required, such as manure or green manure (cover crops). To know how much N is available to the plant, a standard soil chemical test exposes soil samples from the field to a salt solution. The cations from the salt solution compete with cations on clay mineral surface exchange sites, thereby releasing N ions in solution. Extraction of nitrogen and/or carbon can also be achieved by combustion, where the soil samples are burned, and the emanating smoke is tested for C and N content. Soil chemical analyses will provide results for C as percentage of organic matter (%OM) and N as either ammonium (NH4+) and/or nitrate (NO3-) ions. The Haney soil analysis test, developed by Rick Haney at United States Department of Agriculture research station in Temple, Texas, is an alternative test to the standard soil chemical analyses for carbon and nitrogen. The Haney soil test replaces a salt solution with water as the extraction medium.

This project investigates methods to lower input costs and maximize profit, not necessarily yield. The rate of fertilizer applied to a crop should influence its growth and the amount of C and N readily available for the season. Cash crops such as canola, pea, and wheat were selected and sown under three different fertility levels (no fertilizer, 30%, and a 100% of the nitrogen rates recommended by the Haney soil test). This experiment was treated as a randomized complete block design and replicated four times. This trial will be conducted again in 2021.


There was no significant difference in canola yield when subject to either 0%, 30%, or 100% of the Haney soil test recommended fertilization levels (P=0.13). Applying 0% of the recommended nitrogen led to the lowest yield of 6.8 bu/ac; applying 100% led to the highest, 8.3 bu/ac. The C.V. is 54.8, too high for results to be accepted as reliable. As with other experiments, this is likely due to weather-induced stress.

Field Pea

Treatment yields all fell within the range of 6-9 bu/acre. There was no significant difference in pea yields when subject to either 0%, 30%, or 100% of the Haney soil test nitrogen recommendations (P=0.4). As with canola, the coefficient of variation coinciding with the pea yield analysis was high at 28.4. Consequently, the results are unlikely to be indicative of true treatment effects.

Spring Wheat

The mean weight yields from each of the three treatments spanned two bushels/acre (50 bu/ac to 52 bu/acre). Similarly, test weight values for each treatment were nearly the same, 63-64 lb/bu. There was no significant difference in wheat yield regardless of the level of nitrogen applied (P=0.98). Likewise, test weight values were not significantly different (P=0.47), nor were protein contents (P=0.85). 


This trial compares wheat subject to differing combinations of in-furrow and foliar applied nitrogen (N) and fulvic acid (FA). Yield, test weight, and protein content was assessed. The trial will be repeated in 2021 and 2022.

There were no significant differences between the measured yields (P=0.04). Similarly, all treatments (control; soil applied nitrogen + fulvic acid; soil applied nitrogen + fulvic acid AND foliar applied nitrogen + fulvic acid) exhibited test weights too similar to be regarded as different by the statistical analysis. Test weight (P=0.52) values ranged only one lb/bu, that is, between 63.5-64 lb/bu. No significant differences were found in protein content (P=0.09). 


In-Furrow Amendments

Four different in-furrow Alpine fertilizers were applied to CS 2000 RR canola plots and the yields analyzed. In-furrow applications coincided with seeding, treatments included: G22 – 20 L/ac, F18 Max – 0.5 L/ac, K20-S – 4 L/ac, K24 – 4 L/ac, and urea in furrow – 32.61 lb/ac.

F18 Max in-furrow fertilizer led to the greatest canola yield relative to the other products used in the trial (P=0.002). For said treatment, yield was 4.7 bu/acre. Untreated, K20-S, and G22 treatments led to similar yields, all between 2.4-3.3 bu/acre. The lowest yielding canola was that subject to K24 fertilizer, producing 2.1 bu/acre.

Foliar Amendments

Five foliar Alpine fertilizers were applied to CS 2000 RR canola plots and the yields measured. Foliar applications were carried out on June 5. Fertilizer treatments in this experiment were: F18 Max – 2 L/ac, 6-20-3-1S – 20 L/ac, 6-20-3 – 20 L/ac, 7-21-3-1S – 20 L/ac., and Microbolt (Mo) – 18 g/ac.

There were no significant differences in canola yield regardless of the foliar-applied fertilizer used (P=0.16). The yield values ranged from 1.25 bu/acre to 5 bu/acre. The coefficient of variation is 60.5, indicating that values contributing to the means were highly dispersed, likely due to weather-induced stress throughout this wet season.


AAC Brandon wheat yields were observed under the influence of different R.A. West Int. proprietary amendments including humic acid.

As per being a demo with only one replicate, there is not enough data to bring forth a statistically proven conclusion.  Looking at the results of each respective plot, Calpak Foliar treatment yielded highest at 35 bushels per acre and exhibited the lowest test weight at 42 lb/bu. The test weights of all other treated plots ranged from 61-64 lb/bu. Protein content ranged from 10.6% to 14.5%, with Humik Blend 2 representing the former, and Humik Blend 1, the latter.


Six of the eight intercrops were shown to yield more as an intercrop than as monocrops sown separately across an equivalent area of land. These mixes included faba bean and wheat, barley and peas, oats and peas, oats and crimson clover, wheat and red clover, and barley and red lentils. As seen from the yield graph below, peas did not emerge in this year’s intercrop trial, nor did canola due to excess moisture. The C.V. value corresponding with the yield analysis is 60.3, thus results should not be considered reliable.


This year’s faba bean trial consisted of seven varieties. Unlike peas, this pulse crop was relatively resilient to the high moisture environment that defined the 2020 growing season.

Though production ranged from 40 bu/acre to a high of nearly 64 bu/acre, the analysis could not define a significant difference between the output yields (P=0.05). The lack of statistical confidence in this experiment is due to a high C.V. value of 20.5, which indicates there was a large amount of variability in the experiment.


Differences in yield were not significant among the green pea varieties. All ranged between 6-10 bu/acre (P=0.09). The green peas did not fair well this season, nor did the yellow peas due to the stressful weather. On a “normal” year, green pea and yellow pea yields at NPARA range 30-40 bu/acre. The coefficient of variation coinciding with the yield analysis was 17.4, thus the results do not indicate a variety’s true yield potential.


Eight cover crop blends were subject to a nutritive analysis.  There were significant differences in many of the nutritive indicators measured including dry matter (P=0.002), crude protein (P=0.001), TDN (P=0.02), and phosphorus content (P=0.03). ADF (P=0.18) and calcium (P=0.06) were statistically similar between treatments. NPARA Blend #6 produced 2.6 tonnes/acre of dry matter, the highest of any treatment. NPARA blends #4 and #1 had the highest level of crude protein at 33.4% and 31.5%, respectively. NPARA Blend #1, 75.1%, and Pinpoint Blend, 74.7%, exhibited the highest TDN. C.V. values were high for all except ADF and TDN.


The annual forage trials are performed every year to report yield and forage quality of several varieties at each trial type (alternative, oat varieties, and mixes such as spring and cereal and pulse and cereal). This is a project performed with sister associations such as Battle River Research Group (BRRG), Chinook Applied Research Association (CARA), Gateway Research Organization (GRO), Lakeland Agricultural Research Association (LARA), Mackenzie Agricultural Research Association (MARA), Peace Country Beef and Forage Association (PCBFA), and West Central Forage Association (WCFA).


Feed Barley

CDC Austenson and Claymore displayed the highest of yields, ranging 24-26 bu/acre. These were particularly high when compared to the four least yielding varieties: Gadsby, Amisk, Trochu, and CDC Carter (P=0.001). CDC Carter had the highest test weight among the treatments at 52.5 lbs/bu, while Amisk had lowest at just over 40 lbs/bu (P=0.003). The C.V. in the yield analysis was 24.6, thus the results may not be a proper indicator of true varietal yielding potential. Such lack of confidence was likely due to 2020’s adverse growing conditions.

Malt Barley

Yield ranged from 19-31 bushels per acre; test weight ranged from 44-60 lbs per bushel. CDC Fraser and CDC Kindersley yields of 30.5 bu/acre and 29 bu/acre, respectively, exceeded that of the other varieties (P=0.003). For test weight, CDC Clear and CDC Ascent produced significantly higher values than the subsequent 8 varieties (P<0.0001). As with feed barley, a high C.V. value in the yield analysis indicates high levels of variability in the experiment. Thus, yield results can not be considered reliable.