Alberta's first case of porcine epidemic diarrhea is so far confined to a single 400-sow farrow-to-finish operation in east-central Alberta. | File photo

Alta.’s PED find appears to be isolated case

Alberta’s first case of porcine epidemic diarrhea is so far confined to a single 400-sow farrow-to-finish operation in east-central Alberta. Alberta Pork said yesterday that no pigs have left the affected farm since the virus was confirmed and none will be moved until a veterinarian’s certificate is provided. Tests at high-traffic pig sites in the […] Read more

TOP: Southwestern Alberta is known for its strong westerlies, but there have been an unusually high number of wind warnings across the south this winter. Here, several irrigation pivots were damaged along Highway 22 north of Lundbreck, Alta. Above, left: A semi-trailer and a holiday trailer lie on their sides along Highway 22 Jan. 4, the day after winds gusting to 180 km-h blew them off the road.   MIDDLE: Stop might well have been a word on the lips of the person driving the truck when the fifth-wheel holiday trailer it was pulling was blown into the ditch along Highway 22 Jan. 3.   RIGHT: This equipment shed on a farm along Highway 22 in southern Alberta sustained damage during high winds Jan. 3. Otherwise, relatively minor structural damage was reported.  |  Barb Glen photos

Alta. wind challenges drivers

The wind warning sign along Highway 3 in southern Alberta, west of Lundbreck, read 181 km-h when it blew down. The locals, accustomed to strong winds typical of the region, appreciated the irony. The few semi-trailer drivers and people pulling holiday trailers, who took their chances along that highway and the north-south route of Highway […] Read more

InnoTech Alberta researcher Jan Slaski says surveys have found that only four percent of Canadians use hemp seed, compared to more than 60 percent who say they use or have used marijuana.  |  File photo

Revenue streams expand for hemp growers

The time has come for electric lettuce. That’s one term that Jan Slaski, hemp expert and senior researcher with InnoTech Alberta, has heard applied to high THC cannabis, the marijuana that produces strong psychological effects on those who imbibe. But the legalization of marijuana in Canada has also flung open the doors for hemp, the […] Read more


Dr. Keith Lehman, Alberta's chief veterinarian, issued confirmation Jan. 7, emphasizing that the virus presents no risk to human health or to food safety and no market implications are expected. | File photo

PED found on Alberta hog farm

Porcine epidemic diarrhea has been confirmed on a 400-head Alberta hog operation. It is the first case of the deadly virus discovered in Alberta, although it has affected hog operations in four other provinces since 2014. Alberta Pork today confirmed the finding and said it is working with Alberta Agriculture to investigate the outbreak and […] Read more

U.S. ag researcher says he’s paid high price for his views

Kevin Folta is no stranger to controversy. The University of Florida researcher and agriculture communicator is frequently pilloried by some factions in social media for his explanations about agricultural practices, biotechnology and crop chemistry. He regularly blogs, tweets and podcasts about the latest concerns regarding food safety, yet on one topic at least, he feels […] Read more


The fight against glyphosate is gaining famous allies.  |  File photo

Erin Brockovich called out on glyphosate

U.S. researcher says famous environmentalist is part of a movement that is ‘working against agricultural chemistry’

Erin Brockovich has a new cause. The legal clerk and environmental activist built a case against California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 1993 and secured compensation for people made ill by the company’s chemical use. Her success was immortalized in a movie starring Julia Roberts. Now Brockovich has targeted glyphosate. That isn’t sitting well […] Read more

Farming Smarter plans to retire its hail simulator unless funding is offered for further research.  |  File photo

Timing of hail more important than damage

An applied agricultural research association in Alberta has wrapped up its study on hail and how it affects crops

They won’t be beating up healthy crops anymore. The team at Farming Smarter, the applied agricultural research association, has concluded a study on hail and how it affects crops, a process that required researchers to develop their own hail simulators and deliberately damage crops so effects could be studied. Ken Coles, general manager of Farming […] Read more

University of British Columbia researchers tested the sociability of calves by measuring the proximity they chose between themselves and other animals.  | UBC photo

Pessimistic calves at disadvantage

Researchers have discovered that some calves are more fearful than others, which can have implications for future health

Some cattle are more fearful than others. It’s a universal truth confirmed by anyone who has handled cattle herds. But fearfulness is connected to pessimism, says University of British Columbia PhD student Benjamin Lecorps. His research on 22 Holstein dairy calves has shown that some animals are inherently more pessimistic than others, and that trait […] Read more


Forage researcher asks for input

Surya Acharya has developed dozens of forage cultivars as a research scientist and forage breeder with Agriculture Canada. He’s not done yet. Acharya is now seeking input from farmers and producer groups to further guide his research and forage-breeding activities. “We are researchers and we know from literature where there are gaps and things like […] Read more

Neonic ban would require multi-pronged flea beetle plan

The battle against flea beetles will have to employ other tactics if the Pest Management Regulatory Agency proceeds this year with a proposed ban of neonicotinoid seed treatments. Foliar-applied chemicals, reduced tillage, seeding dates and seeding rates could become part of the battle plan if producers lose the use of clothianidin and thiamethoxam to control […] Read more