soil

Expert concerned about low phos levels

Stu Brandt is concerned about low phosphorus levels in Saskatchewan soils

Stu Brandt is concerned about Saskatchewan phosphorus levels. Growers have been mining phosphorus since breaking the land, and it’s still happening today, he says. “That’s no longer the most appropriate strategy to be using,” Brandt told delegates at CropSphere in Saskatoon. Brandt is research manager at Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation. Although there’s typically plenty of phosphorus […] Read more


Measuring sclerotinia resistance

How exactly do researchers and plant breeders separate the susceptible from the partially resistant? They use the stem test. The stem test simulates natural sclerotinia infection of canola, Lone Buchwaldt of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada explains. Typically spores colonize petals that adhere to the plant stem. The leaf axle is a hot spot for infections, […] Read more



More sclerotinia resistance coming soon

Researchers are identifying lines with more-robust sclerotinia resistance

There’s good news on the horizon for growers and agronomists wrestling with sclerotinia in canola. Researchers with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) have identified several canola lines with more-robust resistance to sclerotinia. They’ve also learned more about the sclerotinia pathogen and the sclerotinia resistance genes found in some canola lines. Researchers screened nearly 500 Brassica […] Read more


Too many grain cars left out in the cold?

Ag Transport Coalition reports CP rail car performance drops

Walter Moebis came across a strange sight while visiting family near Rycroft, Alta., in mid-January.  A line of Canadian National (CN) hopper cars, which he estimated to be four to five miles long, sat on the tracks west of Rycroft. Moebis’ father-in-law said the cars had been there a week or so earlier. When Walter […] Read more



A rough ride ahead for Canadian farmers

Politics and trade may well be changing, and they certainly won’t be boring

As you may have heard, this year marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation. It’s worth taking stock of where we’ve been and where we are now, and so I’m going to use this space to do just that, on issues important to agriculture and rural communities. I’m tapping out this column a few days before […] Read more


Farmers frustrated by sclerotinia

Sclerotinia was rampant in 2016,
 sometimes even for farmers 
who sprayed fungicide

If you had a tough time with sclerotinia in your canola crop this past year, you’re not alone. “It is still probably one of the most frustrating diseases that producers deal with,” says Barb Ziesman, provincial specialist in plant disease with Saskatchewan Agriculture. The environment was perfect for disease development across Saskatchewan, says Ziesman. Saskatchewan Agriculture’s annual canola […] Read more



Studying the whole ecosystem

Matthew Mitchell’s research looks at how soybeans are affected by nearby forests

How can farmers produce food while also providing more environmental and societal benefits from the land they’re managing? That is a million dollar question that Dr. Matthew Mitchell is trying to answer. While completing his PhD in natural resource sciences at McGill, Mitchell was part of a larger, two-year study looking at how people affect […] Read more


A high clearance sprayer on a field in a prairie landscape

Spraying your fungicide in “the zone”

With Bayer’s new “Zone Spray,” farmers can skip the fungicide in some parts of the field

If Warren Bills has his way, farmers will have a better way to forecast sclerotinia than the old wet boots and weather test. “We believe there is a better way to manage the risk of that disease and the returns growers get when they spray,” Bills told agronomists and industry at Bayer’s Ag Summit in […] Read more



Growing 180 bushels of barley

Barley 180 wants to know what it will take to top up Alberta barley yields

A trip to New Zealand inspired a quest in Alberta for higher barley yields. New Zealand farmers can produce barley crops topping 200 bushels per acre. Granted, New Zealand has some climatic advantages over Western Canada. But Steve Larocque, owner of Beyond Agronomy, saw no reason that Alberta barley growers couldn’t aim higher. Together with […] Read more


Grain transportation mostly smooth in January

CN hopper car demand up, while CP car demand down from previous year

Grain movement has been relatively smooth for much of January, according to the latest numbers from the Ag Transport Coalition. Canadian National (CN) has supplied over 90 per cent of hopper cars order between January 8th and 21st, according the Coalition’s reports for grain weeks 24 and 25. Canadian Pacific (CP) filled 73 per cent […] Read more