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Bean and lentil legumes background as a group of assorted fava soy red black beans as a healthy nutrition high fiber food concept as a healthy cooking natural food ingredient.

In response to, ‘Cover crops and green manure’

Clearing up a tillage misunderstanding from a previous column

It is always a thrill to get letters and book orders from readers. Most letters are complimentary and a joy to receive. But, a recent letter disagreed with ideas in my September column that talked about cover crops and green manure. A phone call cleared up the matter. It was completely my fault for not […] Read more


Soil background

Finally, soil moisture measuring meets new tech

A map of soil moisture at freeze-up can give you a good indication of your yield potential

Water in the bank is a certainty; rainfall is a probability. Much of what we do in farming is based on probabilities — a game of chance. What are the chances we will get timely rains to keep a crop from withering away to a low yield? What are the chances we will suffer disease […] Read more



Farming from plough to now

From mining the nutrients to zero-till farming, with ups and downs on the way

As we approach the happy Christmas season let us set aside the latest news and consider the steps that have taken us to this point in our farming endeavors. In Manitoba and southeast Saskatchewan some farming went on in the late 1800s but the big acres of the Palliser triangle were still in prairie grass […] Read more


Catalogue houses: the Foursquare house

Ordered by mail and delivered by train, catalogue houses helped settle the Prairies

When our ancestors broke the prairie sod in the Palliser triangle there was no local wood for building houses. Timothy Eaton and his T. Eaton Co. Ltd. to the rescue. The T. Eaton Catalogue was the shopping center for isolated Prairie farms. In 1910 the T. Eaton Co. Ltd. Winnipeg Catalogue provided the first offering […] Read more



Combines I have known, Part 3

In the third part of an ongoing series on combines, Les Henry goes for the green paint

This is No. 3 in an occasional series on combines. When completed, the series will span the 63 years that I have spent running combines. Some years just a few hours, but a bit in each of the years. The first piece included a bit about a Case K2 combine. I did not have an […] Read more


Cover crops and green manure

In the Palliser Triangle, cover crops aren’t the answer in a dry cycle

The current interest in soil health issues has expanded our thinking and spawned much research and new farm-scale work with many new-to-us plant species. Cover crops are planted in the non-commercial season to add diversity to the mix and juice up the soil organisms that go along with the different plants. In wet years, cover […] Read more



Water monitoring: dull but necessary

Keeping track of all of the numbers is still necessary for decision making

Long-term monitoring of agricultural and environmental conditions and practices has been an important function of government agencies. It has been my experience in recent years that a lot of important monitoring functions have been reduced in scope or discontinued. In this column, I’ll describe a few examples of good monitoring and show the importance of […] Read more


Closeup of a plowed field, fertile, black soil.

Carbon: the mega plant nutrient

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon dioxide? CO2 is at the heart of crop production

When teaching about plant nutrition the first step was to list the various categories of nutrients starting with major nutrients and ending with the micros. For this piece I’ll reverse the order and start with micros. The typical nutrients Micronutrients: Micronutrients are required in small amounts and not often added as a fertilizer. But when […] Read more



Barbed wire fence through the tall golden grass fields

Sask. farm income and land prices

Land prices are rising but “this time it’s different.” Or is it?

Over the past decade or so I have gathered up data on wheat and land prices in Saskatchewan and converted them to current dollars. That way, we can better judge how we are doing compared to our ancestors. History has a way of repeating itself, so a look back can suggest what might return. I […] Read more


Horse pasture soil salinity: beware of new ground

Land has been left in grass for a reason. And sometimes this reason is salinity

In the mid to late 1970s soil salinity was the biggest issue on many Prairie farms. The hue and cry was that we would soon have little land left to farm. Some said salinity was increasing by 10 per cent per year but I never bought into that number. From 1975 to 1980 we held […] Read more