Irrigation & Soil Management Symposium

Irrigation & Soil Management Symposium

Creston, BC
12th March 2020

Results & discussion on applied research in BC

This one-day symposium, hosted by Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Network, Climate Action Initiative and Kootenay Boundary Farm Advisors, is an opportunity to learn about results from field research on irrigation and soil management relevant to Kootenay-Boundary producers. The morning sessions will focus on optimizing irrigation in row crops to use less water while maintaining crop health. The afternoon will include a hands-on session on soil management practices for improved nutrient and water management. This is a chance to discuss your practices and challenges with researchers and fellow producers as well as learn about new field research studies now taking place in the Kootenay-Boundary region. 


9:30 – Registration opens with refreshments

10:00 – Welcome & introduction

10:15 – Results from the Erickson water demand study in the Creston Valley

Presented by: Uli Wolf, General Manager of Environmental Services, Regional District of Central Kootenay

10:35 – Mulching and post harvest deficit irrigation to optimize water use in Okanagan cherry orchards

Presented by: Dr. Louise Nelson, Professor in Biology, UBC Okanagan

Cherry production is expanding northward and to higher elevations. Expansion of agricultural capacity requires more efficient water use and consideration of potential for frost damage. Dr. Louise Nelson will be sharing results from her research on orchard floor management and Post-harvest Deficit Irrigation (PDI) in the Okanagan to increase the efficiency of water use.

11:05- Break

11:15 – Kootenay-Boundary on-farm research project for optimizing water use through mulching, a Creston orchard demonstration

Presented by: Don Low, Quiet Valley Farms & Catherine Tarasoff, Agrowest Consulting

Water use issues associated with cherry production from a Producer’s perspective. Overview of the on-farm research program underway in the Province with a focus on the development of Grab and Go Research Templates for water conservation, improved soil health, and increased yields. Preliminary results from Season 1 will be presented.

11:45 – Discussion on irrigation practices & challenges

12:15 – New project in the Kootenay-Boundary: Tools & Resources for Water Optimization

Presented by: Andrew Bennett, Living Lands Agroecological Consulting & Harmony Bjarnson, Climate Action Initiative

This two-year project aims to improve the quality and availability of tools and resources that support local producer’s efforts to increase their agricultural water efficiency. We will conduct on-farm demonstrations to address locally important issues in irrigation and water management, and share the result.

12:35 – Lunch (provided)

1:15 – Improving Soil Management in Organic Vegetable Production to Meet Multiple Objectives

Presented by: Dr. Sean Smukler, Associate Professor in Applied Biology & Soil Science, UBC; Kira Borden, PhD, UBC & Raelani Kesler, UBC

Managing soil amendments to meet crop demand can be particularly challenging for organic vegetable farmers. Nutrient values of amendments can be highly variable and often do not meet the nutrient ratios required of mixed plantings, cover crops are challenging to establish, and fertilizer costs are high. Since 2015, UBC has been trialling various nutrient management strategies and evaluating them for their impact on crop production as well as their impact on the environment and soil health. Results from UBC Farm and 18 other farms in southwest BC will be shared. We will also describe our new nutrient management trials in the Kootenay-Boundary region that look at soil management and changes in water availability resulting from climate change .

1:45 – Applying Nutrient Management Practices to Your Farm

Presented by: Dr. Sean Smukler, Associate Professor in Applied Biology & Soil Science, UBC; Kira Borden, PhD, UBC & Raelani Kesler, UBC

A hands-on session designed to help farmers take what is being learned through BC research results and apply it in their own fields, including soil testing and nutrient management planning tools. We will be working through nutrient management calculations if you can bring a laptop that would be helpful, otherwise, we will be working from worksheets.

2:45 – Event evaluation & closing notes


Creston Hotel & Suites

1418 Canyon St, Creston, BC


10am - 3pm

Lunch provided

Funding for this workshop has been provided in part by the governments of Canada and British Columbia under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.