The 26th Southwest Agricultural Conference was held January 3rd & 4th 2019 at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus. The conference was sold out ahead of the registration deadline for the second year in a row with over 1350 registered for each day. The weather was exceptional once again this year making travel to the conference easier for the speakers and participants.
The theme of this year’s conference was “The Road Ahead” and presented topics ranging from increasing corn/soybean/wheat yields, soil health, pest management and precision to compaction, cover crops and fertility. Water quality, pollinator health, marketing, talking plants, sprayer technology, relay intercropping and woodlot management were some of the other topics included this year.
The feature speaker session on the first day highlighted the incredible work being done through The One Seed Project. Courtney Last, Megan Rizzo, David Page and Peter Johnson took the audience through the evolution of project which started as a half acre test plot in a small Zambian village that evolved to bring sustainable food security to more than 30,000 farm families. On day two Brynn Winegard gave the audience the some tips and tricks to using your brain more effectively when tackling the days toughest tasks.
The livestreaming of the sessions occurred again this year on January 4th with over 100 individuals participating from across Ontario. Various groups also organized satellite locations in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario as well as other provinces including- Kentville, Nova Scotia and Sussex and Barker Lane, New Brunswick. The sessions were well received and it is a great way to deliver this high quality program to those who may not wish to travel to Ridgetown or who may not have the same access to speakers.
The format of the conference is seven 50 minute concurrent sessions plus the feature speaker so it is a full day of learning! The presenters are a mix of farmers, researchers, government extension staff and agriculture industry personnel. The goal of the conference is to bring in the best speaker possible for a topic, by a number of means.
Here is a sample of the more than 40 sessions that were offered concurrently over two days at the conference:
- Wading Through the Weather
- Money from Manure
- Real Wheat Growers
- Top Soybean Management
- Spreading Resistance?
- Talking Plants
- Savvy Sprayers
- Dealing with Drift
- Trucking Challenges
- Disease Decisions
- Six Corn Secrets
- Insect Insanity
Once again the conference hosted a reception at the end of the first day. The Taste of Ontario reception featured meat, vegetables, fruit, beer and spirits from southwestern Ontario. The trade show once again attracted a large number of exhibitors.
The conference is a cooperative effort between the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Southwest Soil and Crop Improvement Associations, many agribusiness supporters and Ridgetown Campus, University of Guelph.
Adam Hayes, OMAFRA, Ridgetown, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Albert Tenuta, OMAFRA, Ridgetown, email@example.com
Visit our website www.southwestagconference.ca for conference information. A number of the presentations were recorded this year and are posted on the website under proceedings.