This post is part of a series of short introductions of Students of Agriculture. From undergraduates, to PhDs, or those learning out in the world, this series will share snippets of different journeys in agriculture education. Know a student with a neat story? Send Lyndsey a message ([email protected]) to have them recognized as a Student of Agriculture!
Graham Collier is working on his Ph D at the University of Alberta (U of A), and is a portfolio manager with Nufarm.
Collier grew up on his grandparent’s farm just north of Edmonton, Alta. With lots of kids in the family, Collier didn’t see an opportunity to carry on farming there so he decided to study agriculture systems at the U of A. Following his undergrad, Collier became an agronomist for Cargill.
After a few years, Collier had the desire to learn more, and he returned to the U of A to complete his masters degree. His masters project was focused on cereals, including triticale. Upon completing his masters, Collier ran a research farm for Syngenta.
Eight years ago, Collier started with Nufarm in research and development. A motivating factor for Collier to move to Nufarm from Syngenta was to begin his Ph D.
Collier’s project is on ultra early seeding of spring wheat. In this research, wheat is seeded when soil temperature is at zero to two degrees celsius (regardless of the calendar) to evaluaate if there is a yield advantage or cropping benefit to the early start. Collier says early findings do suggest benefits of ultra early seeding and they have built out a management system for this to be implemented on-farm. Collier is just finishing his project and is hoping to defend in early next month.
Looking back, Collier says that each time he finished school he thought it would be the last (saying now that this time it is REALLY the last). Even though each time Collier thought he was done with school he made sure to set himself up to be able to return. This is the lesson he shares with others — don’t just finish out your degree, but finish well to give yourself the freedom to pursue more.
Collier says never underestimate the power of practicality. Field and industry experience are both key pieces of the puzzle when it comes to research and development in agriculture.
Looking ahead, Collier would like to take his experience in his Ph D and ensure research practices are applicable on-farm.