Health Canada has released its final decision on neonic insecticides and their potential impact on bees and other pollinators. The department will take several steps to reduce the risk to bees, but neonic seed treatments will not be affected. | File photo

Neonic seed treatments seen as safe for bees

For years, groups like the David Suzuki Foundation and the Ontario Beekeepers Association have argued that neonicotinoid seed treatments represent a systemic threat to bees. In an April 11 decision, Health Canada disagreed with those groups. “Health Canada … will be cancelling some uses of these pesticides, and changing other conditions of use such as […] Read more

Jack Gray and Rachel Parkinson study locusts in their lab at the University of Saskatchewan.  |  U of S photo

Neonics can affect insect navigation

Drunk drivers are more likely to get in an accident because the alcohol in their blood impairs vision and delays reaction time. University of Saskatchewan biologists have identified a comparable phenomenon in locusts, when the insects are exposed to a small dose of insecticide. “If you’re crossing an intersection and a car is going to […] Read more

Vietnam is a relatively small producer of grains, oilseeds and other crops, but the country does have 25 million farmers. Its decision on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, prompted strong reactions from high places. | Screencap via ppd.gov.vn

Vietnamese glyphosate ban sparks concern

The decision to halt all use of the herbicide in 60 days is condemned for lack of consultation and lack of scientific data

In a decision that appeared to come out of nowhere, Vietnam has banned the use of glyphosate. Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced the decision April 10, and the ban will take effect 60 days from then. “Herbicides containing glyphosate cannot be produced in or imported into Vietnam,” VN Express International reported. Products […] Read more


Two weeks of cool and dry weather in late March and early April have eased the flooding risk in southern Manitoba. | File photo

Manitoba flood risk still low, despite U.S. storm

Two weeks of cool and dry weather in late March and early April have eased the flooding risk in southern Manitoba. However, an April 11 storm in North Dakota and Minnesota has thrown a small wrench into the flood forecast for Manitoba’s Red River Valley. Fifteen to 25 centimetres of snow fell on eastern North […] Read more

On Thursday, Health Canada released its final decision on neonic insecticides and their potential impact on bees and other pollinators. The department will take several steps to reduce the risk to bees, but neonic seed treatments will not be affected. | File photo

Neonics no threat to bees, feds rule; aquatic insect decision still to come

Neonicotinoid seed treatments are not a threat to bees, Health Canada says. On Thursday, Health Canada released its final decision on neonic insecticides and their potential impact on bees and other pollinators. The department will take several steps to reduce the risk to bees, but neonic seed treatments will not be affected. “Health Canada has […] Read more


Vietnam is a relatively small producer of grains, oilseeds and other crops, but the country does have 25 million farmers. Its decision on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, prompted strong reactions from high places. | Screencap via ppd.gov.vn

Vietnam’s glyphosate ban sparks consternation

In a decision that appeared to come out of nowhere, Vietnam has banned the use of glyphosate. Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced the decision yesterday. The ban will take effect 60 days from April 10. “Herbicides containing glyphosate cannot be produced in or imported into Vietnam,” VN Express International reported. Products containing […] Read more

Canada’s main objective is to keep African swine fever out of the country’s hog herd, but the industry is also taking about how to respond if it does arrive.  |  File photo

Is Canada ready for African swine fever?

This week The Western Producer takes a look at the scary prospect of African swine fever being found in Canada. John Ross sits through a lot of meetings. As executive director of the Canadian Pork Council, Ross is continually in talks with provincial pork associations, American hog producers and other livestock organizations in Canada. Over […] Read more

The livestock checkpoint at West Hawk Lake operated for about six years before closing in 2013.  |  File photo

ASF prompts new look at West Hawk Lake

The checkpoint on the Ontario-Manitoba border could be a way to divide the country into zones in the case of an outbreak

In 2013, the livestock checkpoint at West Hawk Lake closed down for good. The checkpoint was located near the Ontario-Manitoba border on the Trans-Canada Highway and operated for about six years. Supporters of the project are wondering if it should be re-opened so that Canada’s livestock industry can deal with a foreign animal disease such […] Read more


If bioplastics could garner a 10 percent share of the worldwide market for plastics, it would become a $110 billion industry.
 | Screencap via danimerscientific.com

Canola-based plastic may hit market soon

Biodegradable biopolymers can be used to make food packaging, drinking straws, cups, bottles, trash bags and bottles


The global market for plastics is expected to hit US$1.175 trillion by 2020. That’s comparable to the gross domestic product of Mexico. If bioplastics could garner a 10 percent share of the worldwide market for plastics, it would become a $110 billion industry. Sales now aren’t close to that figure, but it’s still an exciting […] Read more

Warming Arctic may sway Earth’s air currents

Scientists think that atmospheric blocking has become more frequent and may be lingering for weeks rather than days

Normally, June is the wettest month of the year in Manitoba. But last June Brandon recorded 23 consecutive days with essentially no rain. February is normally a cold month in Western Canada, but this February, Saskatoon had 13 days where the nightly temperature dipped below -30 C. Such periods of persistent weather, where a drought, […] Read more