Innovation and networking highlight seed Expo
400 growers from across the West meet to exchange new agricultural trends
When Bob Mastin goes to the Seed Expo he is like a kid in a candy store.
“My eyes literally pop open. This is really good,” said the Eagle Valley seed supplier who has been in the pedigree seed business in Mountain View County for more than 30 years. “The Seed Expo is a well-run show. It is educating farmers. They talk about cutting-edge stuff like variable rate technology and slow release nutrients.
“I think more local producers should be aware of it,” added Mastin, owner of Mastin Seeds, a company that has earned numerous seed awards throughout Western Canada. “When I go to these things it is just a wealth of knowledge just from talking to people. It is invaluable. What they are sharing is going to be new two or three years down the road.”
The Seed and Soil Expo, marking its fourth consecutive year, is the brainchild of Pat Hemminger, regional seed manager for Crop Production Services (CPS), a national supplier of products and services to the agricultural industry. For two days last week, July 24 and 25, up to 400 growers from across Western Canada gathered on 120 acres of leased land outside Didsbury, to learn about new agricultural technology, methods, science, management and techniques. It is not only a great venue to learn about new trends and technological advances, it is an opportunity for farmers to network, to stay one step ahead.
CPS puts on the Expo with a budget of up to $175,000, a figure the company is lucky to break even with, says Chuck McNeil, cereal and forage seed specialist for CPS and one of the primary organizers for the Expo.
“It is pretty unique, not the one and only, but still unique,” said McNeil. “The goal is to bring forth new demonstrations of growers, such as forage, serial and canola varieties, and for companies to demonstrate new products and to take that new technology and to have growers see it first-hand.”
For producers who came to the Expo, an impressive mixture of agricultural industry suppliers paid big money, from $2,400 to $12,000 depending on the complexity and scope, to set up plot sites and put on demonstrations for new products, services and innovations.
Expo attendees got the opportunity to tour the products and services at 20 demonstration sites. This allowed for optimal comparison of seed and fertility and a chance for exhibitors to showcase the efficiency of their products. These included a CPS research trial site, a variable rate field, and ones for barley, fertilizers, forage, seed treatment, and weed and pest control. There were also demonstrations on seed nutrition, foliar nutrition with herbicide and fungicide, as well as foliar nutrition on barley. There were also exhibits set up for the latest advances in telemetry and remote date management. Speakers were on hand to provide crop information and to answer questions at each of the demo locations.
At the end of the two days, organizers aimed for growers to have a better relationship and understanding of new technology and trends in agriculture.
“Any products and services they choose to use we want them to make money,” said McNeil. “It is an educational relationship and hopefully a profit experience.”