A seeding rate calculator can be a boon to determine seeding requirements. Mark Cutts, crop specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre explains how these calculators can benefit producers.
“Establishing a crop with an optimal plant population is an important step towards meeting harvest yield goals,” says Cutts. “The advantages of an optimal plant population include the potential for higher yields, uniformity of the plant stand and, for some crops, less competition from weeds.”
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s website has two seed requirement calculators – the Cereal Seeding Calculator and the Peas, Pulses and Other Large Seeds Calculator – that can help with ensuring optimal plant populations.
“These calculators require the user to input various pieces of information,” says Cutts. “These include desired plant density (plants per square foot), germination rate (per cent), seedling mortality (per cent) and 1000 kernel weight (grams). Once these are inputted, the calculator will determine a seeding rate in pounds per acre. It will also provide information that will allow a producer to calibrate their seeder (seed weight per 100 feet of travel or number of seeds per foot of row).”
Cutts says producers using the calculators will notice that the interaction among the required inputs will impact the seeding rate. “For example, a change in the 1000 kernel weight can have a significant impact on the calculated seeding rate. As a result, when using seeding rate calculators it’s important to ensure that the inputs accurately reflect the seed being planted.”
The Canola Council of Canada also has a seeding rate calculator to help producers determine a seeding rate (pounds per acre) for canola. “The inputs required for this calculator include target plant density (plants per square foot), estimated survival (per cent) and thousand seed weight (g),” says Cutts. “It should be noted that the thousand seed weight should be provided on bags of certified canola seed.”
For more information on seeding rate calculators, contact the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).
Entering Alberta’s fruit market
Every year, a number of Albertans contemplate growing fruit for a living. Robert Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry looks at what to consider with this potential endeavour.
“It is an exciting prospect, to be sure,” says Spencer. “Fruit is something that is generally loved by most people. It is healthy, and there are lots of good options to consider.”
Everyone who considers entering the fruit industry in Alberta comes with their own unique experience, knowledge, and approach. Some may already own land and have grown a crop. Others may know nothing about agricultural production.
“Regardless of your experience level, there are resources to help you get started,” adds Spencer. “First, by answering the plethora of questions that need to be answered to make an informed decision, to formulate a concrete business plan, and then to support you as you go along.”
Learn all that you can about the land that you will be using. Explains Spencer, “Get a soil test, look at the topography, and see if there are any wind breaks or shelter belts to offer some protection from the elements. Consider what you want to grow and why. You will have more questions but you will find the answers as you work out a business plan.”
“It is critical you take the time to prepare both yourself, your business plan, and the land,” adds Spencer. “Fruit production is intensive, involved, and generally a long term investment.”
“Find some excellent, inexpensive, comprehensive production manuals to you can use to get a sense of what is involved in fruit production in Alberta at agriculture.alberta.ca/publications and agriculture.alberta.ca/horticulture,” says Spencer. “There are also some good economic overview studies for bush fruit that might help you consider the costs before you incur them.”
To connect with a new venture specialist about the business side of the fruit industry and a commercial horticulture specialist about fruit production, contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).
-Submitted by Alberta Agriculture