Learning in the Field - Summer Training Event in Strathmore, AB
Technology changes the way that jobs are done and the results that are possible. This is no different for the agricultural industry.
For agriculture consulting company Agri-Trend, this leads to the necessity for twice yearly training events, one in the summer and once in the winter. The most recent of which took place in the Strathmore area from July 19-21.
The winter event is about familiarizing the Agri-Trend's group of Agri-Coaches with new technologies before the two-day Farm Forum event that the company holds in Saskatoon. This event was brought to Strathmore thanks to Matt Gosling and Premium Ag Services.
The summer event is about getting into the fields and seeing the practical implications according to the company's CEO and founder Robert Saik.
"It's about understanding how the crops are growing and teaching our network how to better integrate technology and knowledge," said Saik. "To help farmers grow a crop in a reliable, profitable, and environmentally sustainable manner those are the things that we're after."
Agri-Trend, which was founded in 1997, has around 80 Agri-Coaches across Canada and the U.S.
The company is there to help farmers and not produce and sell products.
"We don't sell products, we don't sell fertilizers or chemicals we don't buy grain," said Saik. "Our role is really to coach farmers."
While Agri-Trend doesn't develop its own products it does work with other companies in testing their products.
"We are very much involved in the testing of products and we want to validate claims that people make on their products," said Saik. "More interestingly we want to do some technology stacking to see if we can take ideas that companies have and combine them in new and creative ways to help farmers."
At this year's event there was a demonstration of the Agroplow, which was developed for deep-ripping soil, which was retrofitted by Agri-Trend to apply fertilizer at depth.
This was the first year of the event, which was attended by Agri-Coaches, customers and interested people in the industry, in Strathmore. It has been held in Lethbridge and Brandon, Manitoba in the past with the company looking towards doing one in Ontario.
"We like to move it around so we have a look at different soil types and different growing and climatic situations and also different crops," said Saik.
"Agriculture is a biological system; we deal with the weather, nature and we deal with soil and plant physiology and chemistry.
The degree to which we can be useful to farm customers is the degree to which we are able to be detectives and unbundle situations that are happening in fields.
Whether the field is in Strathmore, Alberta or whether it's in Strathclair, Manitoba the methodology that we use can be applied no matter where you work in this world."
Most of the demonstrations were put together by local Agri-Trend Agri-Coach Matt Gosling. The event went to three farms in two days: Bruce Farms, Twin Creek Colony and Fairville Colony.
Special to the Strathmore Standard