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News: An Agrologists' Food Story - Diana Sambrook

I have grown food my entire life. I have pictures of me ‘helping’ my dad in the field before I could talk. I helped my mom in the garden from the time I could walk; if you can walk you can weed. I bought my first steer when I was 8 years old for a 4-H project and my first breeding cow shortly after my 11th birthday.

Fast forward 20 years. I am now married to a farmer and employed as a Crop Production Advisor (CPA) with Crop Production Services (CPS) in Weyburn. It is my job to help farmers make the best decision on how to grow your dinner. Although the final decision on what goes into the crop is, and always will be, the farmers’, I help ensure they make an informed decision. As an agrologist, I have ongoing continued education to keep informed of new information that can be useful to farm operations.

The first decision that goes into every acre of land is what will be grown. Farmers know rotation is important to break weed, disease and insect cycles, and that means less herbicide, insecticide and fungicide will be required. However, as a CPA I also have new information on crops and varieties as well as multiple resources to help producers make decisions based on disease or insect forecasts. Crops such as canola have many attributes that must be weighed to determine what variety best fits each acre. 

Once rotation is determined, fertility is next on the list. Fertility decisions are made based on the current soil condition and the chosen crops. I can make a prescription for each field and if the farmer’s technology allows, we can get down to every 5 m2 by using variable rate prescription maps from Echelon. This results in getting the right nutrients into the soil, and in the most efficient manner possible. This in turn is environmentally friendly; as it reduces opportunity for fertilizer to escape the field and end up someplace we don’t want it.

The chemical application decision is an ongoing venture for farmers, with decisions to be made for pre-seed, in-crop, desiccation, post-harvest as well as fungicide and insecticide applications. Different crops have different decisions to be made; my job is to make sure producers understand what can be used with their desired rotation. I help farmers scout their fields and often teach them how to look for certain diseases or insects. One main talking point is thresholds, to help ensure applications are necessary.  I also help to identify weeds a farmer isn’t sure about and how to control it. For late fungicide and insecticide as well as all desiccation we have very important conversations about maximum residual limit (MRL). In order for a chemical to be used safely they are registered to be used at specific stages of certain plants. I help farmers understand this, to maintain the integrity of our food when it arrives in the grocery store.

My job is to educate the fine people who grow your food, how best to make your plate full of heathy, safe, and nutritious food. I have been groomed for this job my entire life. I was born to feed people!

Diana Sambrook-Tosczak
Crop Production Advisor
Crop Production Services (CPS)

 


Posted: October 13, 2016


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