Manure vacuums like the Mensch can free producers from tying their barns to their manure processing. A roots-type blower pulls in large volumes of material that is gathered by giant squeegees that ride on the barn floor.  |  Michael Raine photo

The Mensch vacuum really sucks

WOODSTOCK, Ont. — Since the days of the pitchfork and wheelbarrow, farmers’ approaches to cleaning up the barn have been to automate the process as much as possible. That has driven producers to underfloor systems, various gutter designs, pumps and augers, which often keep manure handling processes fixed on single bedding protocols and materials and […] Read more

A Groweil 5040 with a New Holland 450 baler set up for silage. The wrapper works on the go and is available as a factory option from the company.  |  Michael Raine photo

New Holland adds single-bale wrapping

WOODSTOCK, Ont. — Bale silage can be a time consuming and time-critical business. The wet bales need to be under plastic in a matter of hours. New Holland has added the single-bale, wrap on the go feature to its 450 model balers for 2018. Neil Martin of New Holland in Elmira, Ont., said that while […] Read more

A harvest of sensations

I wish I could record this darkness. Coyotes singing, dozens of them; all off to the southwest tonight. The Milky Way above so clear it’s three dimensional; rolling waves of stars as though quilted. And the Soo Line train horn blowing, along with the clatter of steel on steel, about a mile away. The whine […] Read more


What exactly is a special interest?

Decisions in the public interest are often hard to make. Whose interest is it anyway? No matter how we cut it, farmers would be considered a special interest group. And among farmers, western Canadian farmers would be even more so. How about cattle producers? Then there is dairy. And hog growers. Poultry producers are few […] Read more

Canola finishes flat, below $500

Western Canadian farmers were sitting on their hands and their canola. Buyers might have been interested, but producers weren’t with harvest about to start in earnest, beyond pulses and a bit of wheat. Futures positions were also slow to trade, as highly variable yields are being reported and the next Canadian acreage report will be […] Read more


‘Fake news’ tag harms useful info

I have, for the first time in my 25 years at The Western Producer, heard from farmer-readers that the professional press, including us, is “fake.” Lately, the term is being thrown around a lot. I was sitting in the sprayer, not so very long ago, going back and forth, as these things do when everything […] Read more

Chinese-American trade presses commodities down

Traders kept markets tight for a third day as Sino-American trade issues took their attention, sending soybeans lower, taking canola with them. Corn and wheat followed on Chicago. Drought conditions in Kansas and southern Iowa didn’t sway the markets away from a feeling that a very big crop is on its way to bins in […] Read more

Two-spotted spider mites tend to move into soybean fields when other habitat is harvested nearby or when road ditches are mowed. The leaf damage occurs at the R4 or R5 plant stages, in a new, full pod, or through to the end of seed fill.  |  John Gavloski photo

Plant-piercing pests populate Prairies

Not a serious pest in most years, spider mites are rearing their tiny mouthparts this year because of dry conditions


Spider mites are making inroads into the Prairies and Plains and into the resident soybean crops. In Manitoba, producers are noticing a higher presence of the plant-piercing pests this year. The tiny, less than half a millimetre long insects often move from ditches or earlier crops such as cereals to soybeans or dry beans and […] Read more


Harvest weighs heavy on markets

Canola remained under pressure again today, chasing soybeans lower as crop conditions in the American Midwest improved, according to USDA. November canola was down, headed towards that psychological support-point around $500 per tonne, settling at $501.60 Wednesday. After a couple of stronger days, soybean oil price on Chicago was off slightly, often a partial leg […] Read more

Nearly all markets lower on healthy prospects

Canola closed lower as American soybeans pulled back after cool temperatures and rain provided a prospect of yet high yields in the Midwest and Great Plains states. Canola was down $4.40, settling in a $507.50 per tonne on the November contract. United States Department of Agriculture is projecting that Brazil will plant a record 90 […] Read more