Setting the stage for a profitable farm in 2024 is the theme of this year's series of Central Region Crop Meetings hosted by Manitoba Agriculture.

The first session of the day is called Finding Profit in 2024 and will be hosted by Manitoba Agriculture's Farm Management Manager, Roy Arnott, and Farm Management Specialist, Wendy Durand.

Crop Production Extension Specialist, Callum Morrison, stressed it's quite important to think about the business side of farms. 

"Farm business management is going to be what's going to help bring you through those tough years, whether that be problems happening with your yield, maybe if we go through a dry period, if you've been able to manage your finances well, our good years should be able to carry you through your poor year. So, the farmers that are going to set themselves up best for success will be those which have really taken the time to plan out and make sure that they are on top of their business management."

Growers will also hear from the department's entomologist, John Gavloski, on flea beetles, grasshoppers and southern surprises along with insect updates, forecasts, scouting and managment tips. Field crop pathologist, David Kaminksi, will deliver a session titled, Could Clubroot of Canola Catch You with your Plants Down (and why)? followed by Weeds to Watch for in Manitoba and Control Options with weeds specialist, Kim Brown-Livingston.

"Farmers are always supposed to be on the lookout for anything that's changing on the farm," noted Morrison, adding one thing they are always on the lookout for is any weeds that look a bit different. "I've encouraged, several times a year, producers to go out into their field, check for interesting looking pests, interesting looking weeds, anything that looks a bit different."

The one weed to look out for, added Morrison, is any strange amaranth species. 

"So, things which look like a sort of pigweed that might be different, because they potentially could be resistant water hemp, which is circulating more and more in the province. It's very important that farmers be aware of the signs of how water hemp could look."

He invites growers to come to one of the three meetings happening across the region to get more information.

"Essentially, if you see a pigweed that the leaves look a bit different, maybe they're a bit more elongated, maybe there's a bit less hair on the stem and the leaves and such. That's some signs it could be water hemp. And also, the massive size and such."

Additionally, Morrison says the meetings are a chance for growers to connect and network, which he noted, is an important aspect of the industry.

"Farmers, they do like to connect with other farmers and it's very important to how you benchmark and know what's going on with others in the industry and hear what their challenges are, see what they're doing, what works. But it's really important for just a sense of community and for our communities to do well, particularly coming out of COVID, I think it's great that we're getting these sort of events back up and running."

See below for details on when and where a meeting is happening near you.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024 
Time: 8:45 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
Place: Baldur Memorial Hall
142 First Street, Baldur, MB

Wednesday, February 21, 2024 
Time: 8:45 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
Place: Carman Legion Auxiliary Hall
 28 1st Street NW, Carman, MB

Thursday, February 22, 2024 
Time: 8:45 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
Place: Stride Hall
79 5th Street SW, Gladstone, M