Latest articles


Detect and avoid bacterial leaf streak

Last summer, bacterial leaf streak was found in fields in southern Alberta. For best control, avoid infected seed

Bacterial leaf streak (BLS) and black chaff occur in cereal crops around the world. In 2010, BLS in wheat was declared an emerging problem in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In 2013, it was found in a number of fields in southern Alberta. BLS can cause significant yield loss on some cereal varieties, but, […] Read more


alfalfa forage

Using alfalfa to solve pitfalls

When canola and wheat prices are falling, consider the benefits of alfalfa

Perennial legumes, especially alfalfa, bring benefits to a cropping system that can override initial concern many growers may have when it comes to the economics of the practice. Around the world, some countries are concerned about the lack of local available water for growing their own forage. “There is a growing trend for longer-term commitments […] Read more



corn stalks

Mixing corn hybrids to increase yield

There may be advantages to mixing corn hybrids, but it’s not recommended practice in Manitoba

There are advantages to mixing hybrids, such as lengthening the period of pollen availability to potentially decrease the risk of poor pollination from moisture stress during flowering and promoting cross pollination toward larger kernels and higher grain protein. However, it has not yet been determined whether or not planting them across neighbouring fields offers similar […] Read more


Barley .

Barley 180 project

Agronomists and researchers working on the Barley 180 project are looking to boost barley yields to 180 bushels per acre

When Steve Larocque learned that New Zealand farmers have pulled in barley yields of 180 to 200 bushels per acre, he decided to give it a try in Alberta. Larocque runs Beyond Agronomy, an independent crop consulting business at Three Hills, Alta., and farms 1,000 acres just north of Drumheller, Alta. He grows wheat, barley, canola, peas […] Read more



Hand spilling grain over soil.

Six ways to reduce early season seed stress

While not all factors can be controlled, there are ways to reduce early season stress on your crops

There are many ways to reduce early season stress on emergence, starting with planting date,” says Aaron Miller, an agronomist with DuPont Pioneer. Here are six. 1. Planting date “While planting early offers potential benefits, it also presents some challenges,” says Aaron Miller. “A well prepared seedbed along with the right temperature (close to 10 C) […] Read more


Wheat field with blue sky in background.

Saving your seed

While there are many benefits to using certified seed, not all farmers plan to buy it. Here are some tips for farmers saving seed

Using certified seed allows farmers to focus on growing and provides quality seed with potentially new marketing opportunities for the crop, risk management, and access to new varieties, says Lorena Pahl, general manager of the Alberta Seed Growers’ Association. “Certified seed captures the full benefits of a plant breeding program — not just the first […] Read more



Getting paid for the oil

Canola growers are talking about “component pricing”— getting paid for your canola based on the amount of oil in the seed

Some canola growers have been considering the possibility of “component pricing” for their canola, that is, receiving payments based on the oil content of the canola they deliver. Oil is what the crushers want. Should they pay more for canola seed that contains more of it? Canola oil content Canola oil content varies from year […] Read more


Cattle grazing their way through corn.

Risk of poisoning in silage corn

High levels of nitrates in corn silage can be toxic to animals and humans

Corn silage with high levels of nitrates can be toxic to animals and humans. Nitrates oxidize iron atoms in hemoglobin (in red blood cells), making it unable to carry oxygen. Along with the potential for increased nitrates comes an increased risk of silo gas, which can be fatal. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a dangerous chemical […] Read more



Red flour beetle.

Identify pests with a new web tool

The Canadian Grain Commission is offering a new online tool to help farmers identify pests in stored grain

A new web tool has recently been developed to help identify pests. Brent Elliot, program/infestation control and sanitation officer, industry services, Canadian Grain Commission, helped develop this new web tool for identifying insects in stored grain. “There are actually two tools — two identification keys,” said Elliot. One identification key is for stored product beetles […] Read more


Zone till great for wet clay soils

Zone tillage is the practice of cultivating a band of soil about 21 cm (eight inches) wide, while leaving the areas between these tilled zones as no-till. Zone tillage has been around since the early 1990s. Over the last five to 10 years, this tillage system has gained in popularity. Dr. Craig Drury, research scientist […] Read more