Lakeland receives NSERC funding for crop research< All News
August 12, 2019
Lakeland College’s agronomic research has been boosted once more by federal funding.
With $150,000 in federal funding, Lakeland will be purchasing a specialized research combine to help build capacity and further serve the crop industry, as well as producers’ needs for small-plot agronomic research in the region.
This is the second Applied Research Tools and Instruments Grant that Lakeland has received this year from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) College and Community Innovation program. The investments from NSERC help position Lakeland as a leader in commercial agriculture research and innovation services.
“It is great to see NSERC supporting equipment that champions the development of crop research focused on commercial agriculture. It leads to technologies and practices that enhance the long-term sustainability of Canada’s crops industry,” says Josie Van Lent, dean of agricultural sciences and research at Lakeland College. “This donation also supports student learning as students learn about research and innovative cropping practices right here on our college land base.”
The new high-capacity research combine, which features an automatic weighing system, will allow Lakeland to execute more diverse crop research trials.
“The research program at Lakeland has grown significantly in the last four years, and this key piece of research equipment will allow us to further grow our capacity to better serve our producer, industry, university and government research partners,” says Laurel Thompson, Lakeland’s crop research scientist. “The increased efficiencies this combine brings will also allow us to further involve students in the research process.”
The new small-plot research combine will significantly increase the capacity of the research team due to several key functions, such as accurate in-harvest digital grain weighing systems, precision automatic grain density and moisture testing, and automatic sub-sampling. These features enable fewer personnel to process larger numbers of plots with higher accuracy in a shorter period of time. Currently, yield, moisture, grain density and sub-sampling are done manually post-harvest and take a significant amount of time to complete, which limits the research team’s ability to meet industry needs to execute a larger number of research projects. Automation of these processes will significantly increase harvest throughput and timeliness of harvest data acquisition. The new equipment will improve Lakeland’s functional capacity to complete research projects of importance to industry.
As part of Lakeland’s student-managed learning model, more than 70 crop technology students are exposed to small-plot research activity annually. They have the opportunity to engage and participate in applied research in their programs. The acquisition of the specialized research plot combine exposes students to unique equipment and helps them develop an understanding of how to apply the outcomes of research as they enter the workforce.
Lakeland anticipates the new combine will be on campus for harvest 2020.