Latest articles

Crop Advisor’s Casebook: Crop circles made by space invaders or salinity?

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

Jim, a Fairview-area producer, dropped into our office for coffee one morning in early October last year. When he spotted me, he called me over, eager to show me some photos he had taken of one of his canola fields. Jim said he’d finished swathing the day before, and he found something unusual in this […] Read more

Crop Advisor’s Casebook: What caused this 80 per cent loss in canola?

A Crop Advisor's Solution from the February 21, 2017 issue of Grainews

Ken, a central Alberta producer who farms 2,000 acres of cereals and oilseeds, in addition to 150 head of cattle, called me after he discovered 80 per cent of the canola plants he’d seeded in one field were dead in the seed row. He thought the problem might be a sprayer issue, since a prominent […] Read more

Farmers facing mixed bag of conditions

Farmer Panel: Most farmers are on track for seeding, but many are dealing with last year’s crop

On schedule with one-third of the crop seeded, still about a week away, and scrambling to get some of last year’s crop harvested while working to get the 2017 crop in the ground — these are the range of reports from western Canadian farmers as of early May as they look at the cropping season […] Read more

Want better insect surveys? Here’s how you can help

Provincial entomologists are looking to widen their insect survey networks

Every year provincial entomologists hit the fields, setting pheromone-baited traps and monitoring insect activity. Your help with these projects could improve the information available in your region. Alberta Alberta Agriculture and Forestry insect management specialist Scott Meers relies on growers. “We have large areas to cover, so when we get input from growers and agronomists […] 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

Midge scouting in canola

Scouting is an important component of management. If you don’t know what’s in your field, you can’t evaluate what control measures to use. Yearly scouting is needed to assess what pests exist in fields, as populations don’t always remain constant. For example, in 2016 there were higher counts of cutworm but lower incidence of Bertha […] 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

Want to know which bugs are in your field? Try traps

Trapping beneficial beetles can help you see just what’s living on your land

Wondering what types of beneficial insects you have beetling around your fields? Try a ground trap. “It’s nice to know that you’ve got some good guys in there that are eating the bad guys,” said Patty Reid, a research tech with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. There isn’t an economic threshold for beneficial insects such as […] Read more


Should you be planting green manure?

Researchers see planting and terminating ‘green manure’ as an alternative to summerfallow

Researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as well as the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture have published two recent studies about the effects of green manure on farmland in the Prairies. In one study specifically, the researchers looked at using green manure as an alternative to summerfallowing. Green manure “is a crop that is specifically planted in order to be terminated, […] Read more

Crop Advisor’s Casebook: Planter problems or pesky pests?

A Crop Advisor's Solution from the January 24, 2017 issue of Grainews

Three weeks after planting, I was called out to Mark’s 1,500-acre farm, located south east of Winnipeg, Man., where he grows soybeans, canola and spring and winter wheat. Mark wanted to know why an area of his soybean plant stand was so thin. The thin plant stand was located in the north 30 acres of […] Read more