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Flood takes toll on research centre

Flood water obscures Grand Valley Road and most of the crops in the eastern fields at the Brandon Research Centre west of 18th Street on July 4, 2014.

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Flood water obscures Grand Valley Road and most of the crops in the eastern fields at the Brandon Research Centre west of 18th Street on July 4, 2014.

The Brandon Research Centre has suffered more scientific losses from flooding this year compared to 2011.

Overall, the centre estimates it has lost 10 per cent of its research, but some programs have lost up to 60 per cent, according to Byron Irvine, associate director of research development and technology transfer.

"When it flooded in 2011, the crops hadn’t been planted," Irvine said. "This is the first time we have dealt with such severe flooding when crops were planted."

The research centre, run by the federal government, does agricultural research on different crops. Irvine does not anticipate any immediate short-term effects of the flood on their research.

"It is likely that some of our trials will have to be repeated next year," he said. "A lot of our crops go through several generations before we can see the results."

Most of the studies being conducted by the Brandon Research Centre continue during the winter in countries that have similar growing conditions as Canada. Certain programs have already begun preparations to send seeds to a winter nursery in New Zealand.

Right now, their focus is on how to best prepare should this type of flooding occur again in the future. If the area does not flood again next year, Irvine is confident that seeding will go ahead as planned in the spring.

"Past flooding has indicated that the soil works very much the same after it has the chance to dry out," he said. "It was difficult to seed right after the soil dried in 2011, but we won’t be doing that this year."

The centre has no way to anticipate if there will be a difference in the soil from this summer’s flood compared to the previous spring flooding.

In addition to flooded-out crops, the closure of the Grand Valley Road has added a little extra driving time for the centre’s staff. The road closed on July 2 to begin construction of a dike to eliminate flooding at the 18th Street intersection.

Fortunately for the centre, the Assiniboine River has receded fairly quickly and the City of Brandon is looking to reopen Grand Valley Road on Aug 8.

» mlane@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @megan_lane2

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 1, 2014

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The Brandon Research Centre has suffered more scientific losses from flooding this year compared to 2011.

Overall, the centre estimates it has lost 10 per cent of its research, but some programs have lost up to 60 per cent, according to Byron Irvine, associate director of research development and technology transfer.

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The Brandon Research Centre has suffered more scientific losses from flooding this year compared to 2011.

Overall, the centre estimates it has lost 10 per cent of its research, but some programs have lost up to 60 per cent, according to Byron Irvine, associate director of research development and technology transfer.

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