Director Profile: John Kowalchuk (PCN Spring 2016) MAR 29 2016 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News
This article appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Pulse Crop News.
John Kowalchuk, APG Director-at-Large (Non-Bean)
John Kowalchuk lives in the Trochu area. He was elected to a one-year term as APG’s Director-at-Large (Non-Bean) in January.
Pulse Crop News: Please tell us about your family and your farm.
John Kowalchuk: I have a grain farm at Rumsey which is about 40 miles north of Drumheller. My father started farming at this site in the early 1950’s. My wife Paula is an insurance broker in Trochu and we have three children, Jayden, 19, Kassidy, 17, and Kaley, 13.
PCN: What has been your experience with growing pulse crops?
JK: I started growing yellow peas about 10 or so years ago. I found them to be a good fit on my farm as they can go in the ground early as well as be harvested early most years. I farm mostly by myself so this has been a great help at spreading out my work load. The agronomic benefits have been great as well. I’ve seen better wheat yields and protein, as well as increased yields in canola with a more rounded rotation. This past year, I planted 30 acres of soybeans to test the viability in my area and had good results and plan on increasing my acres this year. I am in a non-traditional area to grow them but feel potential is there.
PCN: What percentage of your crop was made up of pulses last year, and what did you grow?
JK: About 15 per cent of my seeded acres were pulses last year consisting of yellow peas and soybeans.
PCN: What are you planning to grow this year?
JK: I will be growing soybeans and yellow peas again this year as well as seeding some yellows for my father-in-law who will be growing pulses for the first time.
PCN: What tips or tricks have you learned growing pulses that you could share with new growers?
JK: I guess my tip would be do not under inoculate. I’ve always made sure I place more than enough with the seed to promote good nodulation. Nitrogen fixing is one of the greatest benefits of pulses and without proper handling and delivery of inoculant you will not have very good results.
PCN: What sparked your interest in APG?
JK: I wanted to get more involved in the pulse industry. Being on the APG board will give me an opportunity to promote pulses as well as learn a lot more myself. The timing is right; I looked at it a few years back but with a young family it would have been tough.
PCN: Is there an issue that is particularly important to you?
JK: Disease research and ways to increase production are two things I feel are important to me on a producer level and promoting the benefits of pulses in our diets on the consumer side.
PCN: What was the biggest issue facing your farm last year?
JK: Weather! We went until the middle of July without any major rainfall. My crops held on surprisingly well though and I was still happy with yields.
PCN: Why would you recommend that pulse producers get involved with APG?
JK: Getting involved in APG either at a zone level or on the board is a great way to contribute back to the pulse industry and also a great learning opportunity. I have only been on for about a month and already had some great opportunities to learn and also contribute back. I look forward to this year and all the challenges and learning that it has in store.
Thank you, John. We are looking forward to benefiting from your contributions to the Board.