Wednesday, 22 June 2016 16:25

Richardson Pioneer agronomist covers all sorts of territory — geographically and information

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Charisse Garland knows the highways and by-ways of rural southwest Saskatchewan like the back of her hand.
Garland is a sales agronomist with Richardson Pioneer based out of Swift Current.

A lot of her job revolves around crop scouting, crop planning and giving recommendations.
These recommendations include those related to soil and tissue sampling.
The area she covers includes Swift Current south to nearly the border west to the Tompkins area and up Highway 32 to Lancer. She also does scouting in the Kyle area.
There are some troubling trends she has noticed recently.
“I found wireworm damage in nearly every area where I scout. All crops are susceptible to wireworm damage, but you are more likely to find wireworms on fields that have been previously cropped to cereals or have cereals nearby. When they are hungry they will feed on whatever crop is on that field,” explains Garland.
“Wireworms are an insect pest where the only control is with seed treatments and even those do not kill the wireworms, but put them into a sleep until the crop is advanced enough damage (so they) will not cause enough harm. Wireworm species are found across the prairie provinces in varying numbers. Because wireworms are the larvae of click beetles there are usually many generations per year as the worms move up and down in the soil profile which makes them difficult to control even with seed treatment.
“I had had a couple calls about patchy areas on the side of Knolls where they are common to be found, but it is also a part of the scouting process early in the season where there are patches of the field or parts of the rows where no crops are emerging, that’s where we dig to look for seedling damage and if we cannot find any worms we can also set a bait trap for them to come back and checked several days later for wireworms ...”
“The typical pests to keep an eye out for early season in this area are pea leaf weevils in peas, flea beetles in canola, and cut worms in any field where there are also patches where nothing has emerged or evidence of plants being cut off at ground level or just below ground. Grasshoppers can also be out at this time of year but usually not in numbers that we worry about yet.”
  Garland knows what she speaks of regarding crops. She has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Agriculture with a Soil Science Major from the University of Saskatchewan.  She is also currently an Articling Agrologist with the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists.
“At Richardson Pioneer in Swift Current, we don’t charge our customers for our CropWatch Agronomy Services. The information we collect and provide is a part of a company database which is used at the location level,” Garland explains.
“I also write up an internal newsletter which  I distribute to my coworkers to help spark conversations within the office and also with our customers. At this time of year, I spend 75 per cent or more of my time on the road and the rest of the time in the office. I also work around the elevator blending fertilizer and delivering chemical and help out on the grain side of the business when needed.” 
For more information on the CropWatch Agronomy Services offered at Richardson Pioneer, contact Garland at 306-778-1616.

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Ryan Dahlman

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