Latest articles


2018 weather—just part of cycle

Maybe there is climate change, but farmers figure this really isn’t out of the ordinary

Many farmers across Western Canada are counting on October to be a decent harvest month after combines in many areas came to a screeching halt about mid-September as daily rain showers, snow flurries and in some cases snowfall terminated what had largely been a hot, dry summer. But producers contacted in late September for this […] Read more


Species diversity is key to year-round grazing

Annual seedings provide important support to perennial pastures

Ben Stewart believes in using a diverse mix of annual, biannual and perennial forages in his summer pasture and winter feeding program to improve rates of gain on his cattle, reduce winter feeding costs and improve soil health. The fact that he also works with a company that sells forage seed might make him a […] Read more



Well here is a game changing concept

Profitable crop production with little or no added inputs. Is someone talking nonsense?

Talk about an interesting contrast in messages! In one week during my summer travels I attended a first-in-Canada Soil Health School in Manning (Alberta Peace River region) and a few days later I was eating dust at a tillage demonstration at the Ag In Motion farm show at Langham, Sask. My old brain had to […] Read more


A high clearance sprayer on a field in a prairie landscape

Ontario report backs value of glyphosate

Thirty years of crop data support economic and environmental value

The value of glyphosate to the agriculture industry, the economy and the environment is getting a bad and uninformed wrap from critics, say two long-time experts in agronomy and pesticide regulation fields who have reviewed a mountain of data compiled by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) which shows just the opposite. […] Read more



You never know who’s out there

From a small town in the Basque country to the passenger seat of Lee Hart’s car

I don’t usually pick up hitchhikers. Partly because I really don’t see that many on the roads I travel, and largely because I usually have so much stuff — snacks, drinks, assorted wrappers, garbage, camera bag, briefcase — piled on my passenger seat that it becomes a major project to make room for someone. But I recently made an […] Read more


Ray Dowbenko changing hats

Retirement came earlier than respected, but he still plans to contribute

Western Canadian farmers aren’t losing a valuable resource, but a long-time soil fertility specialists and agronomist will be heading off in a new direction this fall, as Ray Dowbenko wraps up a 30-year career with a major fertilizer company. Dowbenko, who spent more than 20 years often recognized as the frontline man who figured out […] Read more



From barley seeding to beer sipping

Long-time Alberta farmers tap into vertical integration with malt barley

The photo above may look like some Alberta grain farmers taking a break in a barley field, but they are really brewery executives collecting inventory for an inter-national microbrewing industry. These are members of the Hilton family (Hilton Ventures) a fifth-generation farm near Strathmore, Alta., (just east of Calgary) and they are farmers having a […] Read more


Winter wheats get better and better

New winter wheats improve on yield, disease and quality; some with specialty appeal

Several promising new lines of milling winter wheat are coming along for cereal crop producers across Western Canada over the next couple of years, says an Agriculture Canada winter wheat breeder. Rob Graf, based at the Lethbridge Research Centre says producers in all parts of the prairies should be watching for a new line called […] Read more



Ventilation system takes chill off

Capturing the heat from stale air helps reduce this barn’s heating bill

Capturing at least some of the heat from stale or “old” air being exhausted from poultry and hog barns is one more step in developing intensive livestock operations with net zero energy barns. The net zero term means a barn is producing as much energy as it is using. Two poultry barns in Alberta, for […] Read more


Landscape featuring a harvested grain field.

Interesting twist on high cost of farmland

These high prices are great news for sellers, but they leave buyers out of the game

Just about every farmer I talk to in all parts of the country has a common buyer’s complaint — they want to expand their farming operation but land prices are high. It is difficult for established family farms to grow and new farmers are finding it almost impossible to get into the business on land […] Read more