University of Saskatchewan dry bean and lentil breeder Kirsten Bett says this new navy bean stands taller and with higher pods, similar to CDC Blackstrap black beans. | Debra Marshall photo

New navy bean designed for Sask. fields

A navy bean that offers better yield, shorter season, and higher pod height is coming on stream just in time for farmers to take advantage of a push to increase irrigated acres in Saskatchewan. Ken McDougall said the bean should appeal to farmers that have been reluctant to grow dry beans due to the challenges […] Read more

Multibillion-dollar trade is growing as pet owners demand high-quality food formulations. | Getty Images

Pampered pets provide profitable market for pulses

As Fido and friends have moved from the doghouse to the people house, pet nutrition has been elevated to big business and big opportunity for pulse producers. “There has been an emergence of high-quality pet food products,” said Colin Young of Mid-West Grain near Moose Jaw, Sask. “The pet has moved from being an animal […] Read more

Pulses lack taurine. Dogs’ bodies naturally manufacture taurine in their livers and nervous systems, but they need two other amino acids, cysteine and methionine, in order to make it. Pulses are short on these as well. An easy fix, at least in the interim, is to add taurine to the recipe for doggo’s dinner. | Getty Images

Read the label to keep your doggo healthy

When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration raised concerns about pulse-based dog foods in 2018, it put a damper on the market. The formulations were associated with increased incidence of dilated cardiomyopathy or enlarged heart, a condition that, left untreated, results in a dog’s heart failure and death. The chief candidate as a cause is […] Read more


Canadian winters benefit beekeepers because it gives a natural break to the growth of mites. | Mike Sturk photo

U.S. bee research gives varroa mites the cold shoulder

Producers south of the border are experimenting with using cold storage to 
help break the cycle of varroa infestation

Canadian beekeepers have long benefited from fierce winters to help keep varroa mites under control, an advantage American researchers are hoping to move south. “We’ve got a really long winter,” said Geoff Wilson, Saskatchewan’s apiculture specialist. “I know everybody up here curses it and wants to go to California or Texas or wherever to get […] Read more

Machine learning could guide nanotech development

Machine learning could guide nanotech development

Polymers


As nanotechnology hits its stride in agriculture, advances in machine learning are being harnessed to make field operations more effective while improving food safety. Nanoparticles are extremely small, measured in billionths of a metre or nanometres. This is the realm of molecules — it takes about three water molecules to make one nanometre, and DNA […] Read more


Ultraviolet light is being tested to inactivate contaminants such as the fungus Penicillium verrucosum, which infests stored grain. | Agriculture Canada photo

How to strengthen food system’s weak link

Among the lessons taught by COVID-19 is just how vulnerable our meat-packing industry is to viruses. Outbreaks in plants in Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec caused shutdowns, employee illness, and tragically, death. Tatiana Koutchma, a research scientist with Agriculture Canada in Guelph, Ont., said sanitation with ultraviolet (UV) light could help make these workplaces safer, […] Read more

Ultraviolet light is widely used in food sanitation because it can be tuned to inactivate microbes without damaging food, such as the fresh cucumber in this test. | Agriculture Canada photo

UV light may decontaminate grain

Tatiana Koutchma foresees a slew of new applications for ultraviolet sanitation, whether it’s helping to keep meat packing lines free of SARS-CoV-2 or knocking Fusarium fungus out of grain. “Before we only had lamps as a source of UV light,” she said. “Now, we have LEDs. They are small, flexible and their lifetime is getting […] Read more

This field trial at Bon Accord near Edmonton shows results of peas planted on no stubble, left, and peas inter-row seeded into 30 centimetres standing wheat stubble. | Sheri Strydhorst photo

High cereal stubble helps combat lodging in peas

Researchers in Alberta determine that seed size was slightly bigger and seed weight was up about three percent

Leaving the stubble a little higher when harvesting this year’s cereal crop could make things a lot easier with next year’s peas. “The idea is you seed your peas into standing wheat stubble, so that the peas go in between the rows of wheat,” said Sheri Strydhorst. “At that point when the peas start to […] Read more


Pulse crops have different tolerances and performance from seed-row placed nitrogen. | File photo

Seed-placed nitrogen performance depends on the type of pulse crop

Getting the rate right with seed-row placed fertilizer in pulses can mean the difference between giving the crop a good start, hindering it, or simply wasting money applying products the plants can’t use. Jeff Schoenau, a soil fertility specialist and professional agronomist at the University of Saskatchewan, looked at seed-row placed fertilizer in six different […] Read more

Plots of Gadsby barley at Barrhead, Alta., show the results of Manipulator, chlormequat chloride, on the left and Moddus, trinexapac-ethyl,  on the right, with treatments applied at growth stage 31-32.  |  Sheri Strydhorst photo

Growth regulators lessen lodging

Barley growers riding the fine line between big crops and big headaches have some new tools in the form of plant growth regulators (PGRs) to reduce lodging. “I would say that anywhere where growers are toying with that 80 to 100 bushel per acre for yield, they are likely suffering lodging,” said Sheri Strydhorst, agronomy […] Read more