After a one-year hiatus, the annual Summer Field Day at the University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE) took place earlier this summer on July 20.
The Canadian Western Agribition (CWA) sponsored the one-day event that attracted 142 people to the research centre. Organizers described the day’s theme as “Back to Business” — signifying the world’s gradual return to regular activities after the COVID-19 pandemic.
All the field day’s events took place at the LFCE’s Beef Cattle Research and Teaching Unit (BCRTU) and Forage and Cow-calf Research and Teaching Unit (FCRTU), which are both located south of Clavet, Sask.
“This field day was a shining example of the cooperation and partnerships inherent in the LFCE. Ministry of Agriculture staff chaired the field day committee, with engagement by researchers and students from across the university, LFCE staff members and our Strategic Advisory Board, and direct involvement by the Saskatchewan Cattleman’s Association,” said LFCE director Dr. Scott Wright (PhD).
“Amidst the challenges of Covid, field day attendees were treated to a variety of perspectives and research findings, backed up by forage videos made available on our YouTube channel and Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association website for research we were not able to include in the tour. LFCE is open for business!”
The morning kicked off with a panel discussion featuring Dr. Scott Wright, the LFCE’s new director, market analyst Anne Wasko, and Cynthia Beck, a clinical psychology graduate student at the University of Regina.
The three panelists spoke about what the pandemic has meant for the agriculture industry, for researchers and for the mental health of farmers, as well as what getting “back to business” might look like in the coming months.
Next, the crowd welcomed WCVM reproduction specialist Dr. Gregg Adams, who gave more details about his multi-year, multi-phase research initiative called “IntegrOmes” that will create and apply genomics and other technological tools to enhance sustainable animal agriculture and environmental stewardship.
The wide-ranging research program includes working with Indigenous communities to develop the world’s first bison genome biobank at the LFCE, which is already home to a herd of wild bison.
During the afternoon, attendees boarded one of three buses for the Pens, Plots and Paddocks Tour to visit forage test sites as well as the two research and teaching units. At each stop, visitors had a chance to hear more about current research projects taking place at the LFCE.