Editor’s Column: Seeding great ideas

One of the highlights of being the editor of Grainews is hearing from you through phone calls, emails and social media. I have appreciated your well-wishes, insights, suggestions, feedback and ideas for future stories. I’ve picked out a few examples to share with you.

A southern Alberta farmer emailed me this month to suggest there may be a need for some stories to keep the average irrigation farmer current. We followed that email up with a phone call and by the time we’d finished our conversation, I felt I had a much clearer picture of irrigation management in southern Alberta — and I had an outline for several future features on the subject for Grainews. That was time well spent.

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That farmer also told me how important this publication was to him as the only publication focusing on practical production information for western Canadian farmers. I consider Grainews to be your publication with content driven by you. I would like you to let me know about the topics important to you or the information you need to improve production and profits on your farms. Also, I’d like to hear from you if you have practical information other farmers could benefit from. Together, we can continue to make Grainews exactly what you want it to be.

A farmer with an operation near Dauphin, Man., called me in March. He said he’d really appreciate some articles on machinery repair, including features about older equipment. I told him I was sure he was going to like Travis, our new machinery editor, as those are both his passions as well. Other highly requested topics include farm business management and accounting and farm management programs.

I’d also like to mention an email I received from a farmer near Enchant, Alta., at the beginning of April. If you’ll remember that was a time of great uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on agriculture and food production in Canada and the world. He said he thought agriculture would be one of the positive stories to emerge from COVID-19. And he was right. The ag industry’s common attitude of we’ve got a job to do so let’s get to it is reassuring to other Canadians and the world that food production will continue despite COVID-19.

Already seeders are being spotted in Saskatchewan and Alberta fields and seeding activities will be ramping up in Manitoba by the end of this week. Even with an extra tight planting season for many, the attitude is we’ll get it done, no matter what we’re facing out there in the field.

With that in mind, we’ve got your insect pest outlooks covered in our May 12 issue of Grainews. There are a number of insects out there waiting to take a bite out of your crops and your profits. We’ve approached insect pest experts in each province for the latest information on what pests could show up in your fields this season. One topic we’re going to hear a lot more about over the next few years is insecticide resistance. It may not be as common as herbicide resistance in weeds yet, however, experts are encouraging farmers to get ahead of insecticide resistance to help prevent or delay its development.

Last October, it was announced new resources were available for farmers on the website manageresistancenow.ca. Insecticide best practices were added to the website’s strategies to reduce weed, disease and now insect resistance.

According to the website, although losses due to insecticide resistance may not be noticed at first, pest reproduction is exponential and can quickly result in significant yield reduction. The new resources include fact sheets on insecticide best practices, integrated pest management, information to evaluate the need for insecticides, and practices and case studies to manage insecticide resistance, not to mention the information on fungicide and herbicide resistance.

If you do find you’ve got some downtime, we’ve got a feature on the latest UTVs on the market and our machinery editor has written a story on Precision Planting’s SeederForce and SmartFirmer tools. In fact, we’ve rounded up so much information for you this spring, we can’t squeeze it all into the print issues, so we’ve decided to put some of the more timely pieces online first. That way you’ll have access to the information you need, when you need it. Head to grainews.ca for more features on insect threats, diseases and timely production news as well as COVID-19 updates.

Got some great story ideas? Reach out to me any time at [email protected] or on Twitter @Kari_Grainews.

Best wishes for a safe and healthy planting season!

About the author

Editor

Kari Belanger

Kari Belanger has been a writer and editor since graduating from the University of Calgary with a B.Sc. in Biology and a BA in English Literature in 1996. For more than twenty years, she has worked in many different industries and media, including newspapers and trade publications. For the past decade she has worked exclusively in the agriculture industry, leading a number of publications as editor. Kari has a particular passion for grower-focused publications and a deep respect for Canadian farmers and the work they do. Her keen interest in agronomy and love of writing have led to her long-term commitment to support, strengthen and participate in the industry.

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