Latest articles

Organic wheat and fusarium head blight

There have been recent farm press talks about the lack of fusarium head blight and associated vomi problems in organic wheat. Organic farmers do not spray with fungicides so how can that be? Some experts say that in a fusarium area and year there is no way to grow wheat without spraying with a fungicide. […] Read more

Testing cereal seed before spring seeding

Test results show low quality in cereal seed submitted to labs for 2017 planting

Durum in Saskatchewan has been a “complete disaster” for the third year running. That was Bruce Carriere’s grim assessment at the Bayer SeedGrowth Solutions Expo in Saskatoon this spring. Carriere, president of Discovery Seed Labs in Saskatoon, said Saskatchewan durum growers usually have a year carry-over of seed. “They used that last year,” he said. […] Read more

Crop Advisor’s Casebook: Deformed wheat spikelets spell trouble

A Crop Advisor's Solution from the February 7, 2017 issue of Grainews

Dan operates a 5,000-acre grain farm south of Canora, Sask. Last summer, he called me mid-July to inquire if any other producers in the area were discovering white heads in their hard red spring wheat crops. In certain areas of his fields, he said, shortly after heading, some wheat plants had developed a whitish tinge […] Read more

Use those fusarium maps

Know your risk: fusarium maps offer another metric for spraying decisions

What if farmers could predict Mother Nature’s moods in the growing season? The idea is becoming less and less far-fetched with advances that help producers put a number on disease risk. But fusarium head blight (FHB) risk assessment maps are only one factor among many influencing spraying decisions. FHB risk assessment maps have been available […] Read more

Add a refuge to your soft white wheat

SeCan asks Prairie soft white wheat growers to protect midge-tolerant technology

It was a great day for wheat growers when breeders first transferred the Sm1 gene from varieties of soft red winter wheat into spring wheat. Commercial midge-tolerant spring wheat varieties launched in 2010. But, as they state on the Midge Tolerant Wheat website (, “there is no Plan B.” To keep wheat midge populations from […] Read more

Malted Barley grains

Vigour tests recommended for wheat and barley

Last fall’s harvest may have left some wheat and barley seed less than ideal

Poor harvest conditions can create poor seed quality, and in some cases affect germination and vigour. As a result of last year’s harvest conditions, seed analysts are seeing a wide gap between germination and vigour in Western Canadian wheat and barley seed. Analysts are urging growers to test seed so that they can take action, […] Read more

Poor quality cereal seed on deck for 2017

Cereal quality is down across the Prairies, but pulse and soybean seed looks good for 2017

Farmers across the Prairies will remember 2016 as the year when they had frequent, above-average moisture right through the growing season, delaying both seeding and harvest in many cases. All that moisture means there will be some poor quality cereal seed around for the 2017 season, although the quality of pulses like peas and fava […] Read more

Hand going through the field

Farmers a hit on international crop missions

Buyers of Canadian grains had some questions that only actual producers could answer

If you want to know about Canadian agriculture you ask a farmer. That was the simple reality that farmers who accompanied industry experts on the 2016 Canadian Wheat New Crop Missions learned fast. “Meeting a producer, and seeing and hearing how the wheat they are buying is grown, stored and delivered are essential parts of […] Read more

Watch out for ergot in grains

Another wet growing and harvest season in 2016 is increasing the level of toxins in some feeds

Ergot is a fungus that can grow on certain grasses and grain plants when moisture conditions are just right. Ergot becomes a problem mainly after a wet season, rarely during dry conditions. The fungus replaces seed in the seed head with a dark-brown/black mass and produces toxic alkaloids. One or more of the kernels in […] Read more

Winter wheat stands: how thin is too thin?

Give your winter wheat crop time to fill in. Assess your stand in May

If you’re used to growing spring wheat, your winter wheat stand in May might seem a little lacking. That’s to be expected, says Paul Thoroughgood, an agronomist with the Western Winter Wheat Initiative. “With winter wheat, growers need to be patient,” he says. “Winter wheat out-yields spring wheat by a sizeable amount most years, but […] Read more