Farmers do the crop walk in High Prairie

Local producers get a close-up view of the plots. Left-right, are SARDA Extension co-ordinator Shelleen Gerbig, manager Vance Yaremko, local producers Tanner Pollack, David Zabolotniuk, SARDA High Prairie director Ron Matula and SARDA consultant Dr. Kabal Gill.

Richard Froese

Local farmers visited crop trials in High Prairie on the Crop Walk on Aug. 15 hosted by SARDA (Smoky Research and Demonstration Association).

Extension co-ordinator Shelleen Gerbig, manager Vance Yaremko and consultant Dr. Kabal Gill led the tours.

Producers value the services of SARDA.

“A lot of people don’t know about SARDA,” says Ron Matula, who farms in the Big Meadow area east of High Prairie and serves as a local director on the SARDA board.
“SARDA does a lot of researching varieties, so we know how season, nutrition, diseases, pests, and straw height affect the production, quality, yield and harvesting,” says Matula, who also serves as a councillor for Big Lakes County.

SARDA is a non-profit organization directed by producers of Big Lakes County, the M.D. of Smoky River, M.D. of Greenview and Northern Sunrise County.

About 40 producers and seed representatives participated in the walk of SARDA’s variety wheat trials, which features commonly grown local varieties against new varieties.

As part of the research variety trial program, SARDA tests wheat varieties each year.

“Ideally, differences in the performance of tested varieties at different test sites should help local farmers compare the varieties currently being grown to the new varieties that may perform better in the trials,” Gerbig says.

However, for the SARDA mandate area, very few currently grown varieties will be tested in 2017.

“We want to compare currently grown varieties that cover most of the AFSC insured acres in the SARDA mandate area to the new varieties likely to perform well in the area,” Gerbig says.
“Those tests allow us to compare the currently grown varieties to the new varieties in the trials plus some other varieties likely to perform well in the SARDA mandate area.”

In 2017, 43 wheat varieties are likely to be tested in the plots.

Trial sites are open for the public to view.

SARDA advises people to obtain the information in green boxes at each site and to wear the protective foot coverings.

For more information, visit the SARDA website online at

About 40 producers, seed representatives and SARDA leaders joined the Crop Walk in High Prairie on Aug. 15.
A sign shows the plot along Highway 2 with the project partners.

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