University of Saskatchewan entomologist Sean Prager examines a fababean plant for signs of insect infestation. Lygus bugs are becoming a problem for the pulse crop as well as canola. | U of S photo

University puts bugs in its crosshairs

New insect research facility at the U of S will help researchers create knowledge to help manage rural and urban lands

For years, insect expertise was rare at the University of Saskatchewan, a noticeable omission in an institution with a large agricultural mandate. “It was something that was increasingly identified as a need,” said U of S entomologist Sean Prager. “In the past people didn’t necessarily worry about insects as much in agriculture here.” Prager, who […] Read more

Genetically modified rice, right, shows more heads than its parent variety Nipponbare and rice modified with an inactive version of FTO as a control. Field trials in northern, central and southern China yielded similar results.  |  Yu et al photo

Giving plants the green light for growth

When the plants in the greenhouse grew at three times the normal rate, Chuan He and his colleagues knew they were onto something big. When they took their genetically modified rice and potatoes into the field, they were sure. The crops yielded 50 percent more, were 50 percent bigger, and they grew more and longer […] Read more

Nic Guran of Legacy Yard Works empties a load of topsoil from the Raupen Dumper RC 800 at a Saskatoon yard. The unit was brought in through the usual gate, eliminating the 
need to dismantle fence panels. | Michael Robin photo

Titan of the tight spaces

Is it a skid-steer loader? A bucket? A dumper? The PowerPac’s Raupen Dumper RC 800 is suited for a lot of close-quarter jobs, but finding the proper label to describe it can be elusive. “This is a power wheelbarrow. It loads itself,” said David Friesen of Legacy Yard Works in Saskatoon of the machine he […] Read more

Livestock normally avoid toxic plants since they tend to taste bitter, like this spotted water hemlock, much as they avoid water that is too high in sulfates. In the middle of a drought, though, producers need to take measures to ensure their livestock don’t give in to temptation. | USDA photo

Poison plants threaten livestock in dry pastures

Livestock are tempted to nibble on anything green as pastures dry down and grasses stop producing, but foraging on these plants can have deadly consequences. “Certainly it’s prudent to manage and monitor your cattle all the time, especially this August-September time period,” said Bart Lardner, a professor in beef cattle management at the University of […] Read more

Wildlife do have strategies to adapt to disease, such as breeding earlier in their life cycles, but the impact from chronic wasting disease is still profound.  |  Randy Vanderveen photo

CWD may have ability to jump to humans

Researchers pool their knowledge and resources in an effort to develop and deploy a chronic wasting disease vaccine

Scientists are a cautious bunch, so when researchers go public with a warning that a disease in deer and their relatives could jump to humans, it reflects their level of concern. Dr. Hermann Schaetzl is part of a team of researchers that for the last 15 years has been conducting a study on whether chronic […] Read more

Group calls for comprehensive strategy to control CWD

Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute says risk threatens public health, environment and access to international markets

While discovery of protective genetics and development of vaccines are progressing, chronic wasting disease has fallen off the public radar — and that threatens Canadian agriculture. “You know, we have lots of people who look for any excuse possible not to trade with us,” said Ted Bilyea, chief strategy officer with the Canadian Agri-Food Policy […] Read more

CWD one of several fatal prion diseases

Chronic wasting disease affects cervids, a family of animals that includes deer, elk, moose and caribou. Animals afflicted with the disease display excessive salivation, increased thirst, lack of co-ordination, paralysis and eventually, death. It is caused by prions, which are proteins that can trigger normal proteins to fold the wrong way. When enough of these […] Read more

Some deer may have resistance to CWD

Recent research holds out the possibility that wild populations may become more resistant as susceptible animals die off

Some deer may have protection against chronic wasting disease written in their genes, according to research from the University of Alberta. Debbie McKenzie leads a team of researchers specializing in the origin and development of CWD. Alicia Otero Garcia, a postgraduate fellow in her lab, started with mice genetically engineered to have brain tissue similar […] Read more

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