Manitoba Agriculture continues their study of soybean performance in irrigated and non-irrigated conditions at the Melita test plot sites. 

Applied Research Specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, at the Westman Agricultural Diversification Organization (WADO), Scott Chalmers, says the purpose of the study is to determine why the prairie crops have a unique soybean profile which is a hinderance in its export. 

"We are continuing year 2 of three of that study with Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada," shares Chalmers. "For the dry-land soybean the yield was about 23 bushels to the acre which was quite dismal. The irrigated [land] was up to 65 bushels an acre."

"Visually it didn't look like much but then once the combine got into it, it was quite stark how much of a difference it was," he adds. 

"On the protein it was a 2% gain, I believe, on the irrigated soybeans for protein.  Now multiply that by the compounding bushels per acre, and that's quite a big difference."

Chalmers says the project is to understand why Manitoba, and the Prairies in general, have a unique protein profile for soybeans that is actually a hinderance in its export, "where our beans are generally inferior to most others in that they are deficient in certain amino acids, and they believe that it's possibly the rainfall amounts, or the lack thereof that we get in western Canada that modify that amino acid profile."

"And so, if we can better understand on a genetic level why things are changing that way, we can breed into the crop the correct performance that we're looking for in terms of the amino acid or the protein profile."

Chalmers says last year's test plots of irrigated versus non-irrigated, showed a stark difference between the two. 

"We certainly did get a great response last year, only because it was so dry and then on the contrary, under the pivot it's always so wet," he adds. "So, we had a dramatic difference."

He adds if the regular rain showers continue every 3 or so days then both test plots will both benefit greatly, "and so we may not see those stark differences."

So, what to do once the 3-year study is complete and proves that irrigated soybeans raise the protein and amino acid levels?

Please listen to more with Scott Chalmers below as he answers that question.

The WADO Field Day has been tentatively scheduled for Thursday, July 25th.  Please contact Scott Chalmers at 204-522-5415 for more information.

For more on Westman Agricultural Diversification Organization (WADO) visit their website HERE!