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Western Sales, a six-location John Deere dealership in west-central Saskatchewan, is embarking on a five-year trial project, in partnership with implement manufacturer Bourgault Industries, to determine the efficiencies that variable-rate seed and fertilizer application offers to producers in the region. “Western Sales FieldSmart division, established nearly five years ago, was the first effort in Canada, and perhaps North America, to bring agronomy into a machinery dealership ,” stated Devin Dubois, Western Sales’s VP of Integrated Solutions.

“Our intention was to marry the science of precision agriculture to our customers’ equipment, the pinnacle of which is variable-rate application. Much of our customers’ equipment is already designed to apply variable-rate prescriptions, but only a handful of our producers are actually using the technology.” Western Sales hopes to demonstrate to the real value in variable-rate applications through accurate production data generated on local land using commonly available application technology and crop varieties on common-sized fields.

“We think variable-rate prescriptions allow producers to improve their gross margins with very limited initial cost and effort. For those who don’t have capable equipment, we want to help them assess the value of adopting the necessary technology by understanding the gross margin increase that precision applications can provide. We believe precision agriculture makes producers money. It’s not a cost – it’s an opportunity to increase gross margins by both increasing yield and decreasing unproductive inputs.”

Bourgault Industries Ltd., a leading manufacturer of seeding and tillage equipment, will supply the seeder for the project. Bourgault has long included variable-rate capability on its seeders, and now includes sectional control for even more precise delivery of inputs, and the reduction of over-lap. “This large scale trial will show how agronomic strategies, in combination with seeding technology, can optimize the placement and amount of inputs used in crop production. I am very excited to see how this technology will impact the bottom line of not only our customers, but all producers,” stated Curtis De Gooijer, Corporate Agronomist for Bourgault.

The project will be conducted in cooperation with a local producer on approximately 1,000 acres of land, all within 4 miles of Western Sales’ Rosetown location. The land locations will be marked with publicly visible signs, and a web-based portal with up-to-date agronomic and production data which will be made accessible to Western Sales and Bourgault customers, and other interested parties.

Dr. Jeff Schoenau, a professor of Soil Science at the University of Saskatchewan, is assisting the project team to assess suitable methodologies for the trials, and ideas for complimentary trials and tests as the project evolves, in order to maximize the productivity of the trials. “Farm scale evaluations of this duration are valuable in producing information that could lead to immediate production advice for local producers.”

Western Sales’ FieldSmart team will employ the latest mapping, soil-science and agronomic data tools to develop management zones, control plots and prescriptions for the research land. They will employ the same data collection and analytical tools available to customers, including JDLink telematics, John Deere Operations Centre and FieldSmart cloud services. All crop applications and yields will be verified by secondary sources, such as mass and volume measurements. As new sensing and production technologies become available, they will be employed in the project. Production results will be made public following each production season.

Grant McGrath, President of Western Sales and founder of FieldSmart stated, “Our vision at Western Sales, for nearly a decade, has been that the information and technology component of production equipment will become more important than the equipment itself. Our long-term success will be based on our ability to support leading-edge production technologies. This research effort is necessary to help us understand, improve and support precision agriculture for our customers.”


To learn more about this project, contact:

Western Sales (1986) Ltd.: Devin Dubois, VP of Integrated Solutions at 306.882.4291,; or

Bourgault Industries Ltd.: Jason Kirsch, Marketing Leader at 306.275.2300,


Western Tractor

(403) 327-5512


Western Sales

(306) 882-4291


Enns Brothers

(204) 475-3667