Sunday, 7 July 2013

My Last full day in Canada

My last day of my Nuffield trip to Canada was a busy one. In the morning I drove to Carberry to meet Trevor Thornton whose company Crop care consultancy is heavily involved with Precision Farming and the agronomy involved with it. The Carberry region grows a lot of potatoes, as the soil type in the area is light and there is water available to irrigate.
Potatoes near Carberry, Manitoba
We talked about how Crop Care soil sample, and the merits and pitfalls of zone sampling against grid sampling, Trevor's preference was for grid sampling, as he has seen better results from this method. The soil sampling data is never used in isolation, but will build in a yield target value, to create a prescription nutrition application map. As Trevor is producing these maps himself he is able to tailor the map to the specific needs of each farmer or field. Trevor was also using organic matter maps to create seed maps, with seed rate and organic matter levels inversely related. Organic matter measurements is something that we don't pay enough attention to at home.
Trevor is also experimenting with an UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to capture images of crops with digital cameras and sensors, to identify weed areas and for variable rate applications.
The UAV that Trevor is using
After lunch I went to visit a family that I have not seen for over 10 years, since they emigrated from Shropshire to Manitoba.
 The Walker family farmed the next door farm to me in the UK, so I was looking forward to meeting up with them again. As I approached the farm, a sprayer was coming down the drive, and out jumped my old next door neighbour Richard Walker. It was great to see him again, whilst he did some spraying I went and had a "proper" cup of tea with his wife Frances. After a good catch up Frances had to go to work, unfortunately, but Richard soon returned and then I went with him spraying.

Applying Herbicide and Fungicide to GM Canola
After finishing the spraying, Richard and I had chance to look around the farm and equipment, which are very different from the machines he had in the UK. I was glad for him and his family that they have settled so well in Canada and are enjoying their new life, it was a brave decision at the time but obviously the right one for them. Later on I got to catch up with Richard and Frances's two sons, Lawrence and Joel, who are both now grown men and not little boys, but unfortunately I missed to see their daughter Amanda. After having some food we all headed over to Lawrence and his new wife's house, I got to drive his jacked up truck which was nearly as uneconomical as it was loud!
I thoroughly enjoyed spending some time with them all and would liked to have stayed longer, but an early start in the morning to fly to the USA was next.
Nice Plate
Lawrence's "little, quiet" Truck

Joel, Richard and Lawrence Walker
I had a wonderful time in Canada, a Huge Thank you to everyone that helped me and gave me time to meet them, and I hope to welcome you to the UK in the future.


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