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Your Farm Voice: Extremes of Moisture Initiative

A constant threat to grain production in Manitoba is extreme moisture, both too little and too much. How do researchers approach such a large and complex problem? How do you find, fund and prioritize research projects that have any hope of making a difference?

The Manitoba Canola Growers Association (MCGA), Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association (MWBGA) and Manitoba Pulse Growers Association (MPGA) are collaborating on the “Extremes of Moisture” initiative; a bundle of projects aimed to identify, develop and implement a wide range of multi-disciplinary water management tools and techniques for producers to reduce the negative impact of extreme moisture (with an emphasis on excess moisture).

The multi-disciplinary approach brings unique knowledge, perspectives and ideas to Manitoba from six different technical working groups: engineering, agronomy, genetics and plant physiology, systems and rotations, big data and forecasting, and socio-economic.

Why does this matter to your farm? No single farm or region will be able to resolve their extreme moisture challenges with just one farm management solution. The development of multiple tools addressing the problems from various angles is intended to expand the toolbox of options for each farm, finding the unique combination of tools that best address your evolving challenges.

Nine projects totaling $1.4 million in targeted high-impact research activities have been successfully approved for Canadian Agricultural Partnership funding and are now underway. Two additional projects are proposed and under review.


1. Prairies East Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (PESAI) tile drainage in heavier soils: Using a research protocol from a previous highly successful Winkler project with different soils to create the basis for modeling the requirements for all variations of soil combinations between the two.

2. Genetic selection: Adding extreme moisture (excess moisture) stress evaluation to a portion of Manitoba Crop Variety Evaluation Trials in Manitoba.

3. Genetic resilience: A moisture resilience marker Phytoglobin has been identified in corn and soybeans. Important implications for early screening of crop varieties of all types.

4. Soil moisture monitoring: Refining moisture predictability and crop health/risk implications in near real time from existing soil monitoring infrastructure.

5. Soil moisture capacity: Organic matter is the single most important soil characteristic for moisture resiliency. Review, standardize and compare multiple techniques for dramatic organic matter increases (including landscape restoration).

6. Cropping systems one: Integration of intensive measurement and monitoring systems into existing long-term rotation studies.

7. Cropping systems (two projects): Integration of intensive measurement and monitoring systems into existing crop intensification studies.

8. Optimum nutrient: Development of improved data based decision systems for Nitrogen management under extreme moisture conditions. Emphasis on extremes rather and averages.

9. Science to socio economic: A framework for quantitative analysis of produce and community economic impact of various farm based extreme moisture management options. Direct linkages and defendable economic consequences of captured and uncaptured opportunities.


1. Trafficability: Yield and profit consequences of various tire/track configurations of seeding equipment in sub optimal conditions. Measures of the impact of soil compaction in current and subsequent crop year resulting from each option.

2. Water management options in undulating terrain (surface/subsurface): Considerable emphasis on the unique climate and soil conditions of western Manitoba and the complicating challenges of salinity management. Development of best management practices for soil moisture management in undulating landscapes based on the application of core principles and the experimentation of practices from other jurisdictions.


If you have thoughts or questions regarding Manitoba Canola Growers research, please contact the Research Committee. You are also invited to join us at this year’s Annual General Meeting Feb. 13, 2020 at Crop Connect in Winnipeg and please stop by to see us at Ag Days in Brandon.

Chair: Ron Krahn, Rivers

Executive Director: Delaney Ross Burtnack

Charles Fossay, Starbuck

Clayton Harder, Winnipeg

John Sandborn, Benito