Lethbridge (Rural Roots Canada) – In 2022, the Alberta Silage Trials, an initiative aimed at improving silage variety information for farmers across the province, found itself without an owner. So, the Alberta Seed Processors decided to step up.

“The ASP took it upon themselves as seed processors and as an integral part of the grain industry in Alberta to take it on the challenge,” says Todd McCann, president of the ASP. “We requested the funding to take hold of this project and make it work.”

One year in, the initiative has yielded promising results across the different sites involved. It wasn’t without its challenges, however. Some regions grappled with dry, arid weather while others benefitted from precipitation or irrigation, underscoring the importance of the weather in shaping agricultural outcomes. But with a meticulous selection process, including barley, oat, wheat, and triticale entries, and rigorous testing to identify top-performing varieties, the data provides valuable insights for farmers and producers seeking vital information necessary in making crop selection decisions. Results from 2023 can be found at https://www.seed.ab.ca/variety-data/silage/.


The initiative’s success hinges on the scientific expertise of the individual managing the project. Monica Klaas, general manager at Alberta Seed Processors, says without bringing on Dr. Sheri Strydhorst as the silage regional variety trial coordinator, the project might not have made it off the ground.

silage“Her dedication to data with high integrity and her ability to get out and physically inspect every site is the reason the entire project works,” says Klaas. “It would just be a two-dimensional project on paper without her.”

“We have a robust set of data for Alberta producers.”

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Klaas also stresses the importance of collaboration with the Silage Trial initiative. They’ve worked with industry shareholders, including Alberta Beef Producers and Alberta BC Seed Growers which has helped with financial sponsorship and coaching.

“We’re not silage experts. We do have people on the board that feed and grow silage crops, but we look for outside experts throughout the industry and draw on their expertise,” Klaas adds.

Amidst the strides made so far, there are additional challenges on the horizon. The need for enhanced research capacity, coupled with core funding of public research organizations, issues such as research land management, potential salary expenses, and equipment costs, makes broader agriculture industry support vital, says Klaas.