Latest articles


Improving flax one allele at a time

Rust hasn’t affected Canadian flax for more than 40 years, but new varieties must still incorporate resistance

On the surface, you’d think that a research project seeking to locate and sequence specific rust-resistance genes, then find ways to quickly identify the presence of these genes in plant breeding material is ultimately about preventing crop loss to rust. But we’re talking about flax here, so think again. Flax is a one million-acre crop […] Read more


The Catch-22 of oat production

Tests in central Alberta yield some useful information on N rates and the effectiveness of plant growth regulators

Linda Hall has a soft spot for the humble oat, mainly because she doesn’t think it’s really all that humble. “Milling oats are a high-value crop,” Hall says. “We’re seeing companies like Richardson buying up oat milling capacity, so the markets are there if we can grow the right kind of oat.” It all depends […] Read more



Row upon row of fusarium

At this ‘nursery’ at Carman, Man., researchers simulate exactly the conditions wheat farmers fear — warm, humid and loaded with fusarium spores

It’s incredibly labour intensive,” says Anita Brûlé-Babel of the FHB screening process. She should know. A professor at the University of Manitoba, Brûlé-Babel established the FHB screening nursery at the University’s Carman location back in 2001 and has managed it ever since. “It’s much more efficient to do disease screening in a nursery like this, […] Read more


Why weed surveys matter

Regular inventories across the Prairies provide a valuable indication of emerging problems

Every decade or so since the mid-1970s, scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), with the help of many others, have co-ordinated and compiled weed surveys in each of the three Prairie provinces, counting, mapping, noting changes and marking trends. The most recent survey was conducted in 2014 and 2015 in Saskatchewan, with financial assistance […] Read more



Sprayer speed a turbulent topic

As sprayers go faster, aerodynamics start to come into play. A PAMI project is evaluating if they affect spray deposition

On the surface, spraying seems straightforward. But a closer look at the multitude of factors that can influence how best to get product from the spray tank to the plant surface reveals something akin to a massive puzzle with a couple of pieces missing. One of the people trying to make that picture complete is […] Read more


WGRF research offers faster herbicide testing

WGRF-funded research offers a rapid test to determine whether your weed escapes are Group-2 herbicide resistant

You sprayed 10 days ago and yet that patch of wild oats is still thriving. So you do what farmers across the Prairies do in this situation: take a sample and send it in to the Crop Protection Lab (CPL) in Regina and wait. Depending on the problem, some answers come in just a few […] Read more



Shatter losses in straight-cut canola

PAMI research funded by WGRF shows that the type of header makes a difference

Halfway through a study examining the role that harvest equipment plays in shatter losses when straight-cutting canola, Nathan Gregg is noticing some trends. “We saw higher losses out at the edges of headers,” says Gregg, a project manager with the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) in Humboldt, Sask. “And losses dropped off as you moved […] Read more


Mycotoxin detection may get even simpler, cheaper

WGRF-funded research produces test that can detect fusarium toxins at the elevator

It’s a typical kind of research story,” says Maria DeRosa with a knowing laugh. “Something doesn’t quite work and you think, oh no! This isn’t what I anticipated. But then it turns into an opportunity you hadn’t thought of before.” She’s right, of course. Science is littered with stories of successful accidents, and for DeRosa, […] Read more



Getting better at fungicide application

You may be doing a good spraying job now, but new WGRF research shows it might be relatively easy to do a whole lot better

A set of new sprayer nozzles can cost $500 to $1,000, while a new sprayer can clock in at $400,000. “But almost the entire probability of application success depends on the nozzle,” says Tom Wolf, co-owner of Agrimetrix Research and Training in Saskatoon. He’s not saying that farmers shouldn’t invest in a new sprayer if […] Read more


soybean test plots

Exploring the soybean nutrient cycle

New research aims to end the guessing on fertilizing soybean rotations

If you had asked Saskatchewan farmers 25 years ago if they thought they could grow soybean, they would likely have laughed out loud at the very idea. Fast-forward to today, however, and StatsCan says 300,000 acres of soybeans were planted in Saskatchewan last year, up from 170,000 acres in 2013, and the province’s soy acreage […] Read more