As part of WGRF’s 40th Anniversary, we are reviewing our cross-cutting crop research funding priorities. We began in winter 2021 by gathering views on changes in crop production and the most pressing current and anticipated crop production issues affecting farmers.

WGRF contracted Dr’s. George Clayton and Stephen Morgan Jones to reach out to farmers, agronomists, scientists and industry for views on what western Canadian field crop production could look like in the short (5 year) and longer term (10- 20 years). This resulted in the Amaethon Report ‘Survey on Future Changes in Crop Production on Prairie Farms and Implications for Research’ 

There was general agreement that farms would likely continue to get larger. Cereals, canola and pulses would continue to be the major acreage crops grown but there was considerable divergence of opinion on which crops would have expansion opportunities and those that would decline in popularity. Research implications were identified in the areas of crop and soil management, sustainability and precision agriculture.

This report was the first step.  WGRF conducted a series of Virtual Workshop Series on July 20, 21, 22 to Identify cross cutting research gaps (questions) arising from issues identified in Amaethon Report. Each workshop consisted of a plenary session by theme, followed by breakout discussions by sub-themes.

Crop and Soil Management (weeds, diseases, insects, plant nutrition)

Precision Agriculture (variable rate, soil management zones, data)

Sustainability (cropping systems, diversified crops, climate change)

The document WGRF-Research-Workshop-Summary captures the workshop discussions for each sub-theme.  It lists the Crop Production Issues, including those identified by the Amaethon Report, and those that arose during workshop discussions.  This is followed by the Implications for Research as identified by the participants, which formulates the identified issues into associated research questions and suggests the directions for agricultural research to contribute to addressing the cross-cutting issues.  Note that participants were not asked to prioritize these implications, as WGRF will do this later in consultation with member organizations.

We are seeking comments on this draft document by Monday September 27, 2021. Please email your comments to patflaten@wgrf.ca. The final version will be shared on our website and will contribute to WGRF’s research priorities for cross-cutting crop production issues.