Latest articles


Why don’t we know?

Whether you were in favour of changing the CWB or against it, isn’t it time we get clear, unbiased answers about what the impact has been?

Ask any western grain farmer what is significant about August 1, 2012, and most will tell you it was the day the federal government eliminated the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly on the sale and export of wheat and barley from Western Canada. Some farmers will refer to it as the “grain marketing freedom day.” Others […] Read more


The ‘Holy Grail’ in cereal technology

Can wheat and barley really be taught to act like pulses, and produce their own fertilizer?

A new research project funded by the Alberta Wheat Commission and the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission will try to answer a question that has bedevilled plant scientists for years: can cereal crops be made to fix their own nitrogen the way legumes do? The AWC is spending $100,000 to have Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists […] Read more



Protect your midge-tolerant wheat

The midge-tolerance gene was found in the majority of SWS wheats in 2017. Refuge seed is required to keep this trait in play

Producers should add refuge seed to most Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) and Soft White Spring (SWS) wheat varieties in 2018 to prolong the longevity of the midge-tolerance Sm1 gene, says Todd Hyra, western business manager for seed marketing agency SeCan. Last spring, Canadian researchers discovered Sm1 in most SWS varieties, including AAC Indus, AC […] Read more


Empty soils

Today’s big-yield genetics really are draining the nutrient supply in our soils

The power of today’s corn hybrids and soybean varieties to exceed farmers’ expectations is a testament to the science of plant breeding, and also to the value of selecting the best elite genetics. That farmers in Eastern Canada have been able to push corn yields to 200 bu./ac. and soybeans to 60 bu./ac., even in […] Read more



Governing the farm

On most farms, ‘governance’ sounds like the last thing you’d want to talk about if you hope to keep everyone happy. Steve Tomtene used to think so too, but is glad he changed his mind

Like many farms with added complementary enterprises like a trucking company or livestock barn or a seed business, Tomtene Seed Farm at Birch Hill, Sask., has developed systems to juggle all the moving parts. “Maintaining identification and producing seed products of quality merit takes a shift in thinking about the products, about production, about the […] Read more


Better than meets the eye?

Canada’s quality-control system still has a lot of support, but some are calling for grades to be determined by machines, not the human eye

Is that No. 2 CWRS just as good for milling and baking as a No. 1? Or does that No. 1 CWRS have some quality damage that can’t be seen with the naked eye, making it no better than a No. 2? The answer could be yes in both cases, sometimes, in cases that might […] Read more



Pest Patrol: Dealing with cleavers

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Q: I had a field of winter wheat with cleavers in it and it was a pain. What is the best way to get rid of this weed in winter wheat? A: I can’t think of a redeeming quality for cleavers, although apparently the fruit is considered one of the best substitutes for coffee (Malik […] Read more


Maltsters keen on promising new barley varieties

The recommended malting list for 2018 contains varieties with better agronomics than Copeland and Metcalfe

For a change, it’s not just farmers who are eagerly greeting new malting barley varieties. Maltsters, too, are singing the praises of emerging varieties intended to replace the big two. The Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre’s 2018-19 list of recommended malting barley varieties emphasizes growing demand for AAC Synergy, plus two new varieties, AAC Connect […] Read more



More than a rotation crop for feed

Demand is increasing for this officially ‘heart healthy’ crop, but growers need to pay attention to quality

New varieties that consistently yield 120 to 140 bushels per acre. Increasing demand, with buyers paying a premium. Competitive against weeds, with good resistance to fusarium. That hardly describes a feed crop you seed last because you need it in rotation. Demand for milling oats is on the rise and processors have announced expansion. Some […] Read more


Growing quality oats

Recommendations for oat agronomy from the new POGA Oat Growers Manual and research across Western Canada

Soil and rotation Oats grow best in black and grey wooded soil zones that have higher moisture, but can grow on sandy loam to heavy clay soils as long as they have good drainage. To reduce disease pressure and optimize yields, oats should not be grown after cereals. The best rotational crops include canola, hay, […] Read more