Latest articles


D3: The digital dumbing down

Not all information is better in the digital age. Especially data about the weather

We are now in “the information age.” Information, mostly good but sometimes sketchy, is literally at our fingertips. As I wrote this piece if a spelling error occurred, my software program underlined it in red. Then I quickly opened a web browser and put my spelling of the word into Google and up popped the […] Read more


Highlights from the Crop Production Show

Annual farm shows are a chance to catch up — with friends and technology

Early January is a special time for me. In Saskatoon we are favoured with the Crop Production Show and Crop Week. The Show has exhibitors showing the latest in big and fancy equipment and all manner of crop inputs and advisers. Crop Week is the annual meetings of farm groups and commissions with speakers on […] Read more



canola flowers

Cooler July, thanks to farmers and canola

Swift Current temperature data shows different long-term trends in January versus July

This piece is a result of the Canola Discovery Forum at Canola Days in Saskatoon in December, 2017. Jay Whetter, former editor of Grainews and now communications manager with the Canola Council of Canada, invited me to address the issue of precision agriculture with specific reference to the role soil maps might play. My contribution […] Read more


Soil moisture: the old and new stories

Know your subsoil moisture and your chance of rain to make seeding decisions

The first freeze-up stubble soil moisture map was made in Saskatchewan in 1978. Readers with Henry’s Handbook of Soil and Water can see it on Page 109. It showed a lot of “very dry” and “dry” space. Red ink was common in the 1980s. The maps below show the situation in fall 1987 and fall […] Read more



Stubble soil moisture map, November 1, 2017

Les Henry’s annual map of fall soil moisture going into the winter months

The November 1, 2016, fall soil moisture map was, in a word, wet. In Manitoba and much of Saskatchewan all soils were at field capacity (holding maximum available water) and many areas were so wet that water tables were near enough to surface to be a factor. When the water table is within about five […] Read more


Exhibit 1: Weather cycles — Willowbunch Lake

Over the course of 30+ years at the University of Saskatchewan I collected about 5,000 35 mm colour slides. Many were taken by me while pounding pavement but I also “inherited” slides from folks who retired or moved. I also have a slide cabinet at home with hundreds of slides from junkets to Tanzania, Swaziland […] Read more



Diary of a pea crop

This season was too wet, then dry, but it’s left a promising start for next year

This is the story of the pea crop on my farm near Dundurn, Sask., in the 2017 growing season. August 21, 2016 Last year we combined an 82 bushel per acre malt barley crop on this field. The soil was well supplied with water at seeding time and the May to July rain was 10.5 […] Read more


Mail order houses: The Eakinton

The T. Eaton Co. Ltd. “Eakinton” was a very unique home

We have been getting quite a few queries about catalogue houses lately so I will tell the story about a very unique T. Eaton Home: Eakinton. First, a Q and A about the subject. What were catalogue or mail order houses? Starting in the early 1900s it was possible to order a house from a […] Read more



Farming through the drought cycles

Soils and Crops: Even with modern ag technology, we’re still reliant on rain or soil moisture

As the combines started to roll this fall, many were very surprised at how hard the truckers had to work. While not a barn burner, the 2017 crop will go in the books for many as good, and considering the lack of rainfall some will say it is great. We all like to point out […] Read more


Combines I have known, Part 2

In the 60s, Les Henry spent most of his combining hours in Massey combine cabs

Harvest seems to be moving along better this year so now may be the time to talk about combines. This is No. 2 in an irregular series about combines I have operated. The first piece went back to the old Oliver 30 pull type that was the first combine I ran and to Cockshutt 132 […] Read more