Latest articles


High disease risk sees many Manitoba canola growers spraying fungicide

A wet spring creates canola fields full of sclerotinia as flowering blooms

This season Manitoba canola growers shouldn’t be asking if they should be spraying fungicides — they should be asking themselves if there’s any possible reason they shouldn’t. Clinton Jurke, director of agronomy for the Canola Council of Canada, says it’s been a moist spring, yield looks good in much of the province and dense canopies […] Read more


Integrated Pest Management gaining credibility

More and more growers are beginning to embrace the IPM approach to insect control, and the system is beginning to bear fruit

A few years back Owen Olfert and other entomologists approached a group of growers with what might have seemed like an outrageous request — don’t spray for wheat midge. They were in the process of introducing a new parasite to knock back midge populations, but there was a problem — the critter in question was […] Read more



Crop pest scouts may gain from ‘app’lied knowledge

Insect ID is a challenge — but Prairie entomologists say there will soon be an app for that, and a whole lot more

One of the most challenging aspects of crop protection will always be the flying, crawling and chomping critters that show up every season, hoping to take a bite out of your profits. There are a lot of them, they can be hard to tell apart, and wind and weather can determine if insects arrive in […] Read more


Farmland for rent

Too often it seems you don’t hear land is up for rent until you learn someone is already renting it

It isn’t like commercial real estate, or even like housing markets where so much information is available. If you’re interested in a house, for example, your realtor can tell you what the last six houses sold for in the same neighourhood. If you want to rent office space in downtown Calgary or Toronto, finding out […] Read more



High-tech seeding

New equipment options promise growers more and better control over this critical field operation

Over the years, few field operations have caused growers more head scratching. Seeding is the critical first step in getting a good crop, and there are many variables in play. Is the seedbed right? Are the fertilizer and seed separation acceptable? Is the seed placed evenly? Is it being sown at the right depth? As […] Read more


The fine balance of controlling crop diseases

It's a classic example of where short-term decisions can mean long-term problems

Randy Kutcher recalls that when he moved to Saskatchewan 25 years ago, farmers were using hardly any fungicide. “They were using a bit of fungicide for sclerotinia in canola, and that’s about it. Now it’s pretty much part of the program, and often crops are getting two or more applications, and it’s almost become like […] Read more



The long-term battle of fighting crop diseases

Fighting crop disease isn’t a single-season job — you’ve got to be in it for the long haul and protect and maintain the capacity to do the work

In the winter of 1820, farmers at the embryonic Red River Settlement, at what is now Winnipeg, faced disaster after their seed grain was destroyed. The colony had dabbled in wheat production for the previous few years, but with little success. It was make-or-break time for the cold-hardened and dispossessed Scotsmen who had migrated via […] Read more


North of Superior, in ‘livestock country’

A northern Ontario mill town with a proud agricultural past and lots of essentially free land isn’t quite ready to call it quits yet

Coming from the west, it’s unexpected. You pass out of the Prairies just east of Winnipeg, then drive through mile after mile of rocks, trees and water — the typical geography of the Canadian Shield. But somewhere east of Kenora, something begins to happen… small meadows start to appear, finally broadening out and breaking up […] Read more



Canada’s agricultural research deficit

Public ag research in Canada gets cut again and again, all while proof grows that science is needed more than ever

Get public research right and the results can be impressive, whether the benefit is incremental, like the new crop varieties that, year after year, edge farm productivity up, or if it’s transformative like the invention of canola or the equally ground-shifting release of early genetics that saw corn and soybeans to sweep the East and […] Read more


Wheat class changes see the end of KVD

Kernel visual distinguishability (KVD) ended on paper in 2008, but new changes to wheat classes mean it will also end in practice

For decades, it was “What you see is what you get” when buying Canadian wheat. Not only did new varieties have to perform well in the field and in the bakery, they had to look similar to all the other varieties in their class. That helped ensure the consistency which has been such a strong […] Read more