Latest articles

Looking for solutions for fusarium

Fusarium head blight is on the rise, and Les Henry is looking for a solution

The title of this piece might suggest that the author is an authority on plant disease, but that is not true. For this I have my farmer hat on. There is nothing like a little skin in the game to force one to read the literature and learn. My rotation had been wheat/peas/wheat/canola for 15 […] Read more

Planning fertilizer for forage crops

Some food for thought on fertilization to establish forage crops in your fields

Forage crops are sometimes treated as the neglected child. Once it is established, come along with a haybine if there is enough rain to make a crop. If it continues to rain after the bales are off maybe even come in to get a small second cut. Grass hay crops are often left to wither […] Read more

Make sure you mind your fertilizer Ps and Ks

The fertilizer story — why a pound of phosphorus may not really be a pound of phosphorus

In a recent article I mentioned a classic old Alberta document that talks about managing Gray Wooded soils — low in fertility and organic matter. I pointed out that when the old boys had data about rates of application of phosphorus and potassium, they meant just that, P and K, not P2O5 and K2O — […] Read more

Les Henry’s prairie stubble soil moisture map

In the map of November 2016 soil moisture, there are no “very dry” areas

As usual, this map gives only a very general indication of the soil moisture situation on the Canadian Prairies as we went into freeze up November 2016. It can be summed up in a word WET. To make a soil moisture map it is essential that a good database of rain records from many stations […] Read more

90 years of Saskatchewan farmland prices

Saskatchewan land prices have been on the move since 1968. What’s next?

Readers have been asking for an update on farmland prices but I was having trouble accessing the required data. Thanks to Terry Bedard of Saskatchewan Agriculture for sending me recent average price data. This data is just for Saskatchewan. Alberta land prices are changed by many factors that are not related to what is grown […] Read more

A convert to long-term experiments

Soil fertility is a long-term prospect that calls for long-term approaches to research

In my younger days I was not a fan of long-term experiments. Almost all were on Federal Research stations with good soils and plot practices that did not always relate to farm fields. But recent information coming from long-term experiments has changed my mind. Worldwide, the longest experiment is the famous Broadbalk field at Rothamsted […] Read more

Diary of a Les Henry barley crop

This 82 bu/ac malt barley crop near Dundurn, Sask., made malt. Hurrah!

This is the story of a barley crop on my farm near Dundurn this summer. August 30-31, 2015: Combined a 40 bushel/acre canola crop. September 20, 2015 
 Applied 1 litre/acre Glyphosate plus 2,4-D ester to get volunteer canola. September 24, 2015 Soil samples taken: Depths zero to six inches; six to 16 inches. Sixteen […] Read more

40 years of writing for Grainews

Les Henry reflects on his 40 year tenure in the pages of Grainews

It is hard to imagine that 40 years have slipped by since I scribbled my first piece for Grainews in 1976. It was “Nitrogen: When, what kind and how much to apply.” Today we would call it the 3 Rs: Right time, right source and right rate. The 4th R, right placement, was yet to […] Read more

Potashium: fertilizer mergers

In the wake of announced mergers, a look at the history of Prairie fertilizer

The recent proposed merger of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan and Agrium has generated much discussion about the merits or pitfalls. I have little knowledge of the backroom dealings of huge corporations but am uneasy about companies becoming too large and competition dwindling. The final decision will be up to the Government of Canada Competition Bureau […] Read more

Some combines I have known

While we’re thinking harvest, Les Henry remembers some combines he’s loved

With harvest sputtering off to a slow start we all have combines in mind. My barley (malt, I hope — perhaps wishful thinking) is safely in the bin and dry. It was my great pleasure to run Curtis Block’s S 680 for a few hours in that crop. For me, that marked 61 continuous years […] Read more