CAFAD 2023 – Experimental Field Plots with Lana Shaw

Experimental Field Plots

Building soil health on the Canadian prairies has been the focus of agronomist Lana Shaw, Research Manager of Saskatchewan’s South East Research Farm, for many years. At Avena’s Customer and Farmer Appreciation Day (CAFAD), Lana guided participants through 24 seven-meter by one-meter experimental field plots. The plots demonstrate intercrop and cover crop combinations of oats, pulses, flax, canola, rye grass and red clover and new oat, chickpea, lentil and pea varieties.

The plots are a joint project between Avena, Bob’s Red MillDanone CanadaField to Market CanadaHIPPEASNinth Avenue FoodsOld DutchOnly OatsProtein Industries CanadaSouth East Research FarmTheoryMesh, and Warburtons. Several plot partners were on hand at CAFAD to network with farmers and talk informally about their products and companies.

“Food companies want to encourage farmers to try new practices,” Lana told the group at the plots. “Basically, grain is a commodity, but farm production methods are also becoming a bit of a commodity now as well. There are organizations incentivizing farmers to do more on the sustainability front and they’re showing up with some means of compensating farmers for the time, effort and whatever risks are being incurred by doing these things. That seems like a mutually beneficial situation to me,” she said.

Lana talked about specific seeding and harvesting techniques, compatibility of various crops, and answered many questions from farmers on how to adapt what they’re doing for working two or more crops in the same field.

“If you’re looking for something to try, just doing rye grass under oats is a very easy thing to do,” Lana advised farmers. “None of these techniques are likely to have any negative impact on the field at all.”

She pointed out a row containing Desi chickpeas alone, next to a robust row interseeded with desi chickpeas and flax, saying: “Here is a Desi with no buddies and there a Desi with buddies. Looks like the Desi likes having a buddy.”

Interest was high in hearing about raised beta-glucan levels in new oat varieties and seeing first-hand the new high protein pea variety, Boost.

Desi Chickpeas

Desi Chickpeas x Flax

Kabuli Chickpeas x Flax

PS Boost, yellow pea variety

Yellow Peas x Canola

Oats x Red Clover x Rye Grass

Wherever you may be in your sustainability journey, our team is ready to connect, share and explore opportunities to partner.

Contact us to learn about Avena’s journey.

contact us today

Partnering for safe, healthy diets and a sustainable world.