Keri Adams and her son Korbin in the kitchen where Stellas Perogies are made in Lacombe.

Keri Adams and her son Korbin in the kitchen where Stellas Perogies are made in Lacombe.

Stellas cooks up stomach-friendly perogies

Agricultural scientists from across Alberta are in Red Deer this week for Agronomy Update 2014.

Agricultural scientists from across Alberta are in Red Deer this week for Agronomy Update 2014.

The annual event, which kicked off Tuesday and continues today, features presentations on soil and crop issues.

About 400 people were on hand for yesterday’s proceedings, which included pest and disease forecasts for 2014, as well as discussions on control measures.

Among Tuesday’s presenters was Kelly Turkington, a plant pathology research scientist at the Lacombe Research Centre. He discussed how digital photography provides a good tool with which to diagnose crop problems.

“You’re in the field, you see an issue, you can act on that,” he said, explaining how a producer can snap a photo with a smartphone and email it to a crop specialist — and possible receive a reply within minutes.

That compares with the old practice of collecting samples, packaging and transporting these, and then waiting for a response. In 2012, said Turkington, he received 40 to 60 emailed photos with requests for feedback.

When he’s uncertain about a problem, he’s able to forward the image to other experts for their opinions.

“In some cases, we’re starting to see these images and requests being posted online on some of the social media sites, like Twitter.

“In that case, you might actually have advice from all over the world.”

Unfortunately, said Turkington, the images he receives are sometimes of poor quality or lack sufficient background information with which to make a diagnosis.

He offered tips for taking usable pictures, including placing plant samples on a flatbed scanner to obtain a magnified digital likeness.

Also speaking on Tuesday was Daniel Itenfisu, a drought modeler and agricultural water management engineer with the provincial government.

He described how Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development has developed a weather station network with which to monitor draught and excessive moisture, among other climatic information.

Itenfisu explained that the province decided to adopt a risk management approach to drought after particularly dry years in 2001 and 2002. But it lacked reliable data with which to do so.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development responded by setting up 47 weather stations in 2003 and 2004, and has since added more. Agriculture Financial Services Corp. also contributed more than 100, and with weather stations belonging to Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Alberta Environment and other organizations, the tally is up to about 373.

“So we have now a really reasonably good density of weather stations across the province,” said Itenfisu.

Among the data being collected is temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, precipitation levels and solar radiation. This information is valuable for such applications as irrigation and farm water management, crop insurance, grass fire risk reporting and more.

Because the data can be accessed online at www.agric.gov.ab.ca/acis, farmers can also use it to manage their operations, said Itenfisu.

They can check current and historic conditions at nearby weather stations, he said, and even overlay Environment Canada radar images onto their farms.

Also available are maps that compare current precipitation levels and other weather conditions to historical trends.

Agronomy Update 2014 was organized by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Battle River Research Group.

It’s geared for grain producers, crop advisers and industry representatives.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Gov’t of Alberta identifies estimated 300 new COVID-19 cases Sunday

Online COVID-19 dashboard unavailable as upgrades being completed

The Central Alberta Freestyle Ski Club is hoping to win $50,000 through the Mackenzie Investments Top Peak contest. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta ski club trying to win $50K in online contest

A central Alberta ski club has entered a contest where it can… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT) The Red Deer Rebels were able to… Continue reading

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa on December 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives to call top Sajjan, Trudeau aides to testify on Vance allegations

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives plan to summon two senior Liberal aides… Continue reading

Elvira D'Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada’s… Continue reading

Mount Pearl Senior High in Mount Pearl, N.L., remains closed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The provincial health authority says there were 185 cases at 22 schools, including 145 infections among staff and students of one high school in Mount Pearl that was an early epicentre of the outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
In Newfoundland and Labrador, three ingredients made for explosive COVID-19 outbreak

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — With her classes, three part-time jobs and a… Continue reading

A passenger places a tag on luggage at the departure terminal at Toronto Pearson Airport, in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, May 24, 2019. The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many recent immigrants to leave Canada and return to their countries of origin, where they have more social and familial connections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
COVID-19 pandemic prompts recent newcomers to leave Canada for their home countries

OTTAWA — The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Rail cars wait for pickup in Winnipeg, Sunday, March 23, 2014. The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian oil and gas on trains destined for the United States — a country experts fear is ill-equipped for the potential consequences. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
As debate rages over cross-border pipelines, U.S. analysts brace for more oil by rail

WASHINGTON — The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian… Continue reading

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

VICTORIA — Legal experts and a mother whose ex-partner was convicted of… Continue reading

Radio and television personality Dick Smyth is shown in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Dick Smyth, Canadian maestro of news radio commentary, dies at 86

TORONTO — Radio and television personality Dick Smyth, whose booming commentary filled… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

Most Read