Is it dirt, earth, mud, sand, clay, silt, muck? Yes, it’s all of these, but what really are Prairie soils made of? There are four basic types of Prairie soil: dark brown, black, dark grey and brown. Rainfall on these soils, the prime yield-limiting factor, ranges from around 11 to as much as 20 inches […] Read more
After 60 years of work and observations in Canadian, British and U.S. agriculture, most of it on the Canadian prairies, I still cannot believe how many farmers and scientists believe in plain falsehoods. Here are a few of those unsubstantiated myths. Manure causes lodging FALSE: If you apply 10 to 20 or more tons of […] Read more
How many times have I seen slogans that say, “No GMOs?” I even see it in Canadian horticultural seed catalogues. Do we expect the horticultural seed catalogues to sell Roundup Ready canola, soybeans or field corn? It’s just that the gossips and fuddy duddy’s of this world have seen or heard “no GMO’s.” It seems the anti-pesticide and organic food producers have […] Read more
Every year across the Canadian Prairies there will be many cases of herbicide damage to non-target crops. Some of this will be due to unsuitable weather conditions such as windy weather, wind gusts or inversions. Other causes are municipal roadside weed control leading to spray drift into cropland, on farm herbicide mix-ups, incorrect herbicides such […] Read more
Plant bioassays are a simple, inexpensive, accurate and direct method of determining if it is safe to grow crops on land previously treated with known herbicides or on cropland or compost with an unknown history of herbicide use. A bioassay can detect if herbicide or chemical residues are present in the soil or compost at […] Read more
Your cereal, oil seed or legume crop clearly shows that it has been significantly damaged by herbicide application or residual herbicide that was applied to cropland one or more years previously. You are considering possible legal action. What do you do next? First of all, you just don’t take a few photographs, complain about significantly […] Read more
Peat is nature’s natural organic compost. As a field crop amendment, peat has a lower carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C:N), 60:1, than straw or cattle manure — that’s around 80:1. Canada has 270 million — yes, million — acres of peat lands, making up 25 per cent of the world’s peatland supply. Peat is harvested right across […] Read more
Sandy soil areas are not uncommon on the Canadian Prairies, especially west and north of Edmonton, my home area. It made me wince when I saw endless lines of wheat straw bales on countless sandy fields this fall. Technically speaking, straw should never be sold on any kind of cropland unless there is a very […] Read more
Peas as a human and animal feed have been around since 5000 BC. The pea plant, a nitrogen-fixing legume, originated in the cooler areas of the Himalayas and was subsequently cultivated extensively in the Mediterranean basin. Peas, dried peas in particular, were a major part of the diet in the U.K. in the 19th and […] Read more
Aphanomyces root rot is not airborne or seedborne, like clubroot of canola, the disease is soil borne. This fungus, like clubroot, forms resting spores that can last for 10 years in infested soil. Infection of the legume host can take place at anytime in the season but is not obvious early in the year. The […] Read more
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