Latest articles


Disease-free boots and a testing tool

Spotted in the field: homemade ideas that don't cost a lot, but work

They are two separate topics completely, but here are a couple of good ideas that western Canadian field specialists came up with for sanitizing rubber boots to reduce the risk of spreading clubroot (or any soil borne disease), and a handy homemade sample collection tool for measuring spray volumes when calibrating a field sprayer. Boot […] Read more


Hart Attacks: No end to researcher ingenuity

I think I was sick the day we learned about this stuff in high school

I am often in awe of the agricultural researchers, which shouldn’t be surprising since I really have no understanding of 99.9999 per cent of what they do, or how they do it. Yet they manage to come up with answers. Recently I was speaking with three researchers in Alberta working to identify and quantify the […] Read more



Breeding program favours short-gestation bulls

Little or no calving difficulty as calves get off to a good start

For southwest Saskatchewan ranchers Barry and Anne Wasko, switching the heifer-breeding program a few years ago to select for shorter-gestation bulls is producing smaller but vigorous calves while reducing concerns about calving difficulty. By breeding their Hereford/Red Angus-cross heifers to Black Angus bulls selected for EPDs showing shorter gestation, heifers are calving about 10 days […] Read more


Emptying the tool box on fusarium head blight

There are no silver bullets, but these 11 agronomic practices can help

While there is no so-called cure for fusarium head blight a whole series of proper agronomic practices can be applied to stave off the impact of the disease, say Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers. Using FHB-resistant cereal varieties and applying registered fungicides is part of the story say Kelly Turkington, plant pathology researcher in Lacombe, Alta., and […] Read more



There is always Eastend in April

You don't have to leave Canada for that early spring get-away

My daughter spent a week in Palm Springs this winter and my son just got back from a week in Hawaii. My get-away in early April? An overnighter in Eastend, Saskatchewan. I’m not being smart about this. It really was great to spend some time in Eastend. I’ve heard the community name often, but don’t believe I have […] Read more


Good to be mixed up, in the right order

The sequence of the herbicide tank mix matters. Get it right with W.A.L.E.S

With more interest in recent years in tank mixing different herbicide products to provide more effective control of weeds, and reduce the risk of selecting weeds for herbicide tolerance, producers need to follow the proper mixing procedure. It’s not just a matter of which products can be safely tank mixed, but also what order different […] Read more



Elections can only make things better

But to get there, first you have to define what “better” means

With an Alberta provincial election coming up in mid-April and a federal election likely to happen in the fall of 2019, I know it is just a matter of days before all my problems will be solved. With either new or re-confirmed governments in place in both jurisdictions all my troubles will be lifted. Everything […] Read more


Barley growers impressed with VRT results

Crops hit yield and quality expectations, and bring an easier harvest

Data collected by Decisive Farming from several farms across Western Canada in a program using variable-rate technology (VRT) to produce malting barley crops in 2018 showed considerable production gains over industry averages. Data collected from 17 farms, involving about 9,300 acres of malt barley crops showed on acres seeded with both variable-rate seeding and fertilizer technology an average yield of 85 bushels per acre, […] Read more



Spornado could give heads up on disease

Collecting airborne disease spores could offer growers an early warning

An Alberta seed testing company has crop disease monitoring technology in the works that could provide some of the answers as suggested in the old Bob Dylan song about what’s “Blowin’ in The Wind.” 20/20 Seed Labs, based in Nisku, just south of Edmonton, is continuing its field testing in 2019 using fairly simple-looking equipment to collect the windborne disease spores such […] Read more


Holding an Earthworm in Hand

Don’t underestimate the power of soil bugs

Save money, increase profits by getting billions of little creatures working for you

There’s that message again — learning to farm without inputs. It is a pretty compelling concept: being able to grow a crop without $200 or $300 per acre invested in added fertilizer and crop protection products. Is it a myth? Does it work? What are these guys trying to sell me? Kevin Elmy says it works. […] Read more