How to profit from precision farming data

Hidden in the gross figures for every profitable quarter section are acres that consistently outperform and others that may not be worth the trouble. Devin Dubois aims to give growers the tools to find out which are which. “Depending on where you are, six percent to 23 percent of seeded acres are unprofitable,” he said, […] Read more

Orphan wells in Western Canada offer limited afterlife possibilities on the farm.  |  Mike Raine photo

Federal oil well remediation cash aimed at service sector jobs

Landowners wondering if oil and gas wells on their properties might be remediated sooner thanks to an infusion of about $1.72 billion in federal funds will have to wait. “We’re working on how we prioritize that in terms of the abandoned wells and the orphaned wells we have,” said Bronwyn Eyre, Saskatchewan Minister of Energy […] Read more

Old oil wells not suited for geothermal use

A recent announcement of $1.7 billion in federal funding to help remediate oil wells has resurrected an old question: Do those old oil wells on the back 40 have any potential for new life in geothermal energy production? “The typical oil well isn’t set up for the flow rates needed for geothermal power and retrofitting […] Read more

Carbon from bigger crops and more robust plants like this hybrid canola, and their larger root systems, is being sequestered at higher rates than it was in the past from annual cropping. As well, new breeding technologies are enhancing that with every breeding cycle.  |  Michael Raine photo

Bigger, better crops combat climate change

More than 10 percent of the Earth’s land-surface is cropped, about 3.7 billion acres of carbon sequestration

Farmers’ toolkits for sustainability could soon include crops engineered with root systems designed to sequester more carbon in the soil, said Dominique Roche of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California. He explained that humanity has achieved something no other species on Earth has ever done: change the atmosphere of the planet. From 1990 […] Read more

Regulations on gene editing vary widely by country.  |  Getty Images

Rules on gene engineering threaten crop advancements

While plant breeders around the world embrace new gene-editing techniques to improve crops, response from regulatory agencies in different nations range from quick acceptance to near-bans. “Argentina, since 2015, took proactive steps and is the first country to pass regulations on NBT (new breeding techniques) covering the subcategory of genome editing,” said Rim Lassoued with […] Read more

University of Saskatchewan research has found that neonics readily dissolve in water and don’t break down easily in the environment.  |  File photo

Neonic researchers search for path forward

Canola seed coated with neonicotinoid insecticides marked a major advance for producers, providing good control of pests, such as flea beetles, while allowing much-reduced levels of insecticide. “If you look at reverting back to foliar insecticides and needing three to four applications to match what a seed treatment would do, you can start having some […] Read more

Farmers are now paying three times the price of what they used to pay for neonic-treated seed, for an alternative that is less effective. | File photo

How farmers lost the battle over neonics in Ontario

Despite their value to producers, neonicotinoid pesticides have had a rough ride, driven by conflicting research and public backlash. Debra Conlon of Grain Farmers of Ontario described how the public narrative that neonics were killing honeybees stymied farmers’ best efforts to ameliorate the problem. It was determined that dust during seeding, exacerbated by an unusually […] Read more

Vigilance needed as clubroot overcomes resistant canola varieties

While scientists and plant breeders have been able to slow the advance of clubroot in canola fields across Western Canada, producer vigilance is still the best weapon against the disease as it continues to advance. “The most problematic issue has been that some of the fields we have been finding in the last few years […] Read more

Genome Canada and the University of Saskatchewan announce a $14.2 million project to identify new sources of genetic variation in wheat and use advanced techniques to incorporate useful genes into new varieties.  |  File photo

Genetic knowledge provides tools to meet wheat growers’ challenges

Researchers from around the globe gathered in Saskatoon this month, focused on making wheat more efficient and sustainable using the latest in breeders’ tools. In August 2018, the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium published the first reference genome of bread wheat, followed in April of 2019 with the genome for durum. Curtis Pozniak, a researcher […] Read more

LEFT: Top left is a bread made from conventional wheat. Others are transgenic wheat lines lacking gliadins, with thelevel of reduction shown in percentage. The loaves are very similar to standard bread. The loaf in the lower-right is made from another wheat-gluten free alternative, rice flour. RIGHT: These loaves of bread were made from wheat flour, washed to remove all gliadins and glutenins. These were then supplemented with measured amounts high-molecular weight glutenins, the percentage shown in the images.  |  Clemson University images

Celiac-friendly gluten is on the horizon: researchers

Sachin Rustgi, a researcher at South Carolina’s Clemson University, is working to rehabilitate gluten, a food component that has fallen out of favour and even spawned a multi-billion dollar market for gluten-free products. Rustgi was one of nearly 900 delegates from more than 50 countries around the world who gathered in Saskatoon for the first […] Read more