Experts say planning doesn’t come naturally, but in the end it helps producers assess new technologies and developments, prioritize and make sound decisions to drive financial performance.  | Getty Images

Tap into strategic planning

A trouble-free harvest and pandemic restrictions have given producers a rare commodity: ample time to take stock and plan for next year. Unfortunately, too few will use this opportunity. “The sad story is that 21 percent of farmers across Canada have a written business plan and less have other forms of written plans,” said Heather […] Read more

Wild pigs damage crops and the environment and provide a potential reservoir for disease.  | File photo

Hunters recruited in war against wild pigs

Officials say it is important to report sightings because the most effective control method is to eradicate an entire group

Darby Warner has a message for hunters out on Saskatchewan fields this season: if you see a wild pig, take the shot. But then call your local crop insurance office to finish the job. “If an opportunity presents itself, they should take advantage of it but the very next thing they should do is contact […] Read more

Darryl Falzarano’s expertise with coronaviruses is invaluable in developing a vaccine against COVID-19.  | David Stobbe photo

Learning from COVID-19

With governments around the world rolling out several COVID-19 vaccines, are Canadian development efforts being left behind? “I think it’s too early for us to say, ‘OK, we can sit back and the problem is solved,’” said Dr. Volker Gerdts. “We first have to see how well these vaccines actually do.” Gerdts is director and […] Read more

Brews Brothers Bistro in Neepawa took advantage of the spring’s pandemic lockdown to fully renovate their heritage building – just in time for a second lockdown this fall. | Brews Brothers Bistro photo

Lean cuisine

Much like the people afflicted by the COVID-19 itself, the pandemic’s effect on the hospitality industry varies from manageable to catastrophic. Jim Bence, president and chief executive officer of the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association, called it a “perfect storm.” First came the lockdowns this spring, and with it, recreational travel almost entirely stopping. Major […] Read more

Palm oil and palm kernel oil dominate the market in countries like Malaysia, but a food company in that country hopes a 60-40 palm-canola mix can merge price, cooking performance and nutrition.  | Reuters photo

Canola-palm oil blend eyes elusive market

Southeast Asian consumers use little canola oil, but a Malaysian company thinks it has a way to get a foot in the door

Southeast Asia presents a challenge for canola: hardly anyone in the region of more than 664 million people uses it. “Canola oil only constitutes 0.4 percent of a total of 30 million tonnes usage,” said Soon Bin Neoh of Soon Soon Group, a food and feed company in Malaysia. This is much lower than the […] Read more

Pomegranate oil is expensive and the supply is inconsistent, Chen said, which makes it attractive to develop an alternative. | File photo

Biotech fruit-fortified canola opportunity

Researchers at the University of Alberta are developing canola to serve nutraceutical and cosmetic markets by producing an oil profile similar to pomegranate. Gavin Chen, a researcher and Canada Research Chair at U of A’s Plant Biotechnology Lab, said pomegranate oil is high in punicic acid. The fatty acid purported to deliver a range of […] Read more

Nuseed, the company that is developing carinata, aims to produce 45 percent oil or better, and research has found that farmers can expect yield potential as high as 60 bushels per acre. | File photo

Interest continues to grow in carinata’s biofuel hopes

Correction – December 22, 2020 – 1700 CST – There are several new 600,000-tonne biodiesel production facilities in the United States planned or under construction (rather than a single facility). Nuseed works in Europe, Southeastern United States, (rather than Southeast Asia) and Australia. Yield potential for carinata could be as high as 60 bushels per […] Read more

Canola protein has a lot going for it, including a combination of amino acids that makes it ideal for animal feed, where it is mainly used. Unfortunately, humans are more fussy when it comes to flavour, odour, appearance, and mouth feel. Canola meal is just too bitter. | File photo

Building better canola leftovers

Research from Germany has identified a single culprit behind the bitter taste of canola meal, a first small step in making protein concentrates from the crop useful for human food products. Christoph Hald said that since 1960, the world’s consumption of protein has gone up by a factor of four — much faster than population […] Read more

Monarch butterflies would make a good biocontrol for milkweed if it ever became a problem.  |  USDA photo

Controlling weeds with insects

Some insects are fussy eaters and it’s a weakness farmers and ranchers can exploit to control noxious weeds. One of the best-known examples of this plant-insect relationship is the monarch butterfly, whose larvae feed exclusively on milkweed. “The monarch butterfly is a good example of something that would make a really good biocontrol agent, should […] Read more

Clubroot disease is characterized by the formation of galls on plant roots. They limit the plant’s ability to use water and nutrients, reducing growth and yield.  |  File photo

Fertilizer and biostimulant show promise

Biocontrols for clubroot are explored as resistant varieties fail and chemical controls remain unavailable

When Crop Aid Nutrition approached Sheau-Fang Hwang to test their product’s effect on clubroot in canola, she tried to dissuade them — virtually any other crop disease would be a better target. “I said, ‘you choose a very tough pathogen to work with,’” she said. “If you choose some other soil-borne pathogen, like Fusarium, it’s […] Read more