Farmers receive research award

Thunder Bay, Ont. — It hasn’t rained much this summer, but that doesn’t mean the Lakehead University Agricultural Research Station isn’t producing results.

The pilot farm for farmers and growing their crops – which has been in some form since 1991 – gave farm owners, their families and LU students a tour of their work on Tuesday, which included different varieties of wheat, barley, hops, Shown to oats, flax. , canola and alfalfa among others which are being grown with eco-friendly fertilizers such as Anvol and Super Urea.

Later in the day, the crew visited the Jaspers Dairy Farm on Boundary Drive in Niebing to analyze two different strains of canola and how the corn would stand up to closure in biodegradable plastics and whether it would be able to use any viable materials. was not like doing.

Director Tarlok Singh Sahota is the mastermind behind the research facility. Their relationship with farms and farmers – you might say – has developed quite nicely over the years.

“We believe to see is to believe,” said Sahota, who deals with about 50 farms in and around Thunder Bay. “If (farmers) see something happening here, they will try to implement it in their fields. , , , We keep in close contact with the farmers. I keep giving them advice, keep talking to them. We also consult with them, send them a list of projects we are doing and if they want to do something other than what we propose, I will send them a list.”

The key to keeping a research facility near you is funding. Currently, Ontario’s Agricultural Research Institute (ARIO) raised more than $2.5 million in 2018 in the five-year plan ending next year.

Sahota is hopeful that funding will continue to continue to pursue agriculture-based research.

“We had very strong public support,” said Sahota at the Little Norway Road facility. “People immediately (contacted) the ministers, wrote letters. , , It was originally called the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station (TBARS) and[the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture]gave us $200,000 of stop-gap funding. Then (ARIO) gave the university (in 2018) $2.65 million for five years to take over the research center.

“This is our last funding year. It will end in March 2023 and we hope to receive other funding . . . because we do good work and he shows good work because we supply the farms.

“I wish the research station continues to receive funding . . . The level of change that has come to farmers in Thunder Bay is hard to match anywhere else. Not only in Ontario, but in Canada as well.”

Andrew Breckveld, president of the Thunder Bay Soil and Crop Improvement Association, is a believer. While his group thoroughly studies the LUARS research each year, Breckveld Farms – Woodstar Farms in Murillo – has taken advantage of the knowledge provided by the research facility.

“Our association with (LUARS) is that they are doing these tests, they are doing these experiments and we will take them forward,” Brekewald said. “We get excited when we can try them out in our areas.

“In the last two years, (Woodstar Farms) actually grew a wheat variety which was a top-yielding variety recommended by Sahota. We found in our field that this was the highest yield of wheat ever.”

In recent years, Sahota has been releasing detailed LUARS annual reports in late November or early December.

John Nagy, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, The Chronicle-Journal