Latest articles


Flax opportunities

Agronomics and yield are the big priorities for flax growers in Western Canada

Flax acres have started to rebound over the past few years, with Saskatchewan still accounting for most of the flax grown on the Prairies. In order to entice more growers to flax, however, yields will need to increase. Average flax yields have hovered around 22 bu./ac. for many years, and although growers in some areas […] Read more


Plant Breeders Rights not so simple

New regulations give PBR regs more teeth, but breeders still want you to follow the law out of self-interest, not fear

When Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) got a major facelift two years ago, the seed trade in Canada responded with information campaigns saying that all was for the best. Upgrades in intellectual property protection weren’t a cash grab, farmers were told. Instead, they showed the international community that Canada takes property protection very seriously. That recognition, […] Read more



Detecting spoilage before it starts

An adaptation of cancer-screening technology offers a better and safer way to check for grain bin moisture, with a bonus of theft detection

An electromagnetic imaging technique originally designed to detect breast cancer tumours is now being adapted for a totally different use — locating spoiled grain in bins. The research project at the University of Manitoba uses electromagnetic imaging (EMI) to create a 3D profile of a bin, showing pockets of moisture which can overheat and spoil. […] Read more


Could camelina be ‘the next canola?’

You’ve heard the pitch on this oilseed before, but this time it could actually be true

[Updated Dec. 12, 2016; at bottom] – Jack Grushcow says the sky’s the limit for camelina, and he isn’t referring to the brief but well-publicized test when it was used for jet fuel a couple of years ago. Grushcow is CEO of Linnaeus Plant Sciences, which owns Smart Earth Seeds, a company developing new camelina […] Read more



SeCan at 40

Born in 1976, is SeCan living up to its promise to deliver better, more cost-effective genetics by supporting public research?

In the days leading up to 1976, new public sector seed varieties were few and far between, as Ray Askin recalls things. Askin, who grows seed at Portage la Prairie and is today’s president of the Manitoba Seed Growers Association also remembers it as a time marred by disorganization. “SeCan gave a structured format for […] Read more


Moisture in or moisture out?

Are you really drying that grain when you turn on the fans?

It’s the disaster no one wants to admit — a bin of spoiled grain can represent the loss of a producer’s entire year of profits. When grain spoils due to problems with storage, “farmers usually sell it, burn it or hush it up,” says Joy Agnew, project manager for Agricultural Research Services at the Prairie […] Read more



Flax on the road to recovery in a post-Triffid world

Flax is back now that a GM variety is flushed out of the system, but there’s new competition from the former Soviet Union

After six years, the “Day of the Triffids” appears to be ending for Canada’s flaxseed industry. Triffid is a genetically modified variety of flax that was rather unfortunately named after the creatures in The Day of the Triffids, a 1951 novel about carnivorous plants bioengineered in the USSR that escape and blind people with their […] Read more


Green soybean plants

Soybean market outlook

Soybean Guide: When a supply interruption eventually comes, which it will, soybean prices will have to go up to ration demand

Driving through Eastern Canada this summer, you could see the crop everywhere. Fields of soybeans stretched from Windsor, Ont. into Quebec and beyond into New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. And that’s without even mentioning the West. Soybeans have truly transformed the farm landscape over the last several decades. They have become an integral part […] Read more



Should agronomic practices focus more heavily on soybean production?

Growing soybeans more intensively raises crucial new questions

In the mid-2000s, a spirited discussion between a private-sector crop adviser and a public-sector employee working in extension reflected the disparity that existed between corn and soybean production. At the time, corn yields were climbing at a stronger pace than soybeans, despite the arrival of glyphosate-tolerant soybeans. The adviser suggested that more had been done […] Read more


Soybeans

Soy wins health claim

The label approval is seen as an important step toward increased Canadian consumption

The popular saying is that good things come in small packages, which exactly describes Canada in terms of its overall output as one of the world’s soybean producers. Because good things do come from Canada. In fact, they may even be great things, thanks to our capabilities at producing high-quality identity-preserved, non-GMO soybeans, as we […] Read more