Paired rows of chickpeas and flax in Swift Current. |  Michelle Hubbard photo

Chickpea and flax intercrop paired-rows

Intercropping done well can give both crops an advantage, provided they have just enough space to do their work

Ascochyta rabiei had resistance to strobilurins, a key management chemistry, at every site in a recent survey of the disease across the prairie chickpea growing region. Michelle Hubbard, a research scientist at Agriculture Canada who led the survey, said the efficacy of fungicides against ascochyta is waning. “There’s issues both with fungicide resistance and with […] Read more

Aphanomyces in the pea on the right has diminished the roots significantly compared to the healthy ones to its left. To the left of the healthy roots, fusarium solani has done a great deal of damage. To the left of those, fusarium avenaceum has also caused problems.  |  Mike Raine photo

Everybody needs wild relatives

Plant breeders can’t always find the disease resistance in tame populations, so they look further afield

Wild relatives of agricultural crops have powerful genes that crop researchers can use to help cultivated varieties adapt to an ever-changing environment. Kirstin Bett, of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan, said disease resistance is a useful trait common in wild relatives of domestic crops that researchers might be able […] Read more

The study was run under the direction of Dr. Steve Shirtliffe, and its hypothesis was that UAV hyper-spectral imagery is a useful tool in phenotyping herbicide damage in lentils compared to in-person visual ratings. | Screncap via YouTube/Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS)

Lentil herbicide sensitivity examined by UAV sensors

An eye in the sky helps understand compounding corruption on the ground when it comes to multiple issues occuring

A master’s student at the University of Saskatchewan developed a study to see if images from an unmanned aerial vehicle can be used to phenotype the phytotoxicity of lentil varieties. Phytotoxicity is a toxic effect by a compound on plant growth, including by herbicides. Brianna Zoerb said she wanted to look for another way to […] Read more

The autonomous FarmWise Titan FT35 analyzes the contents of a field and then makes choices about which plants should be there and mechanically eliminates any that shouldn't.  |  FarmWise photo

More farm robots on the horizon

Small companies and startups are having the biggest initial impact as work on autonomous platforms continues

The march of the robots into agricultural fields continues. Major OEMs are well into the development of autonomous platforms, but the relatively small companies and startups are having the biggest initial impact. The electric utility tractor by Monarch will be available to Canadian farmers this year and it has interesting autonomous capability that may turn […] Read more

Research helps producers select cultivars and provides plant breeders tools to ensure that blackleg major gene resistance lasts. | File photo

Study breaks down blackleg resistance in canola

Research helps producers select cultivars and provides plant breeders tools to ensure that blackleg major gene resistance lasts

The canola industry introduced a labelling scheme for major blackleg-resistant gene groups used in canola varieties back in 2017, but until recently there was no data from Canadian fields on how effective this approach is. Justine Cornelsen is an agronomy specialist at the Canola Council of Canada, as well as a grad student at the […] Read more

Sentinels 1 and 2 provide microwave and optical images, creating cloud-free field shots. | European Space Agency photo

Ears go deaf when clouds blind eyes in the sky

BASF Digital Farming has inked a deal with VanderSat and can now provide daily biomass images of crops, regardless of cloud cover. VanderSat’s Cloud-free Biomass product uses a patented retrieval method for passive microwave technology, active microwave from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellite constellation, as well as optical images from the Sentinel-2 constellation. VanderSat […] Read more

The NutriScan reading soil in the field.  |  NutriScan photo

Putting it all on the bench and in the field

Chemical, biological and physical soil properties vary considerably in space and time, and they need to be closely monitored to have the best chance at a good fertilizer response. So it’s not surprising that so much energy is devoted to developing new products and techniques that assist fertility programs, considering the eye-popping amount of money […] Read more

Soil erodes and collects north of Lumsden, Sask., in another wind event during the spring of 2020.  |  Mike Raine photo

Canadian farm soils still on the move

Soil specialist says the nation’s farmland and tillage erosion remains a problem; farmer fatigue might have set in

Soil erosion continues to cost agriculture and the economy substantially and more needs to be done to protect moderately to severely eroded soils. This was the take home message of David Lobb’s video presentation during the University of Saskatchewan’s annual Soils and Crops Workshop that was held virtually this year. “Conservation tillage, no-till and zero-till […] Read more

RADARSAT-2 features state-of-the-art synthetic aperture radar  technology and supports all the existing RADARSAT-1 beam modes, while offering many powerful new capabilities, including improved spatial resolution from three to 100 metres, fully flexible polarization options and the ability to acquire images to the left and right of the satellite, doubling the ground coverage.  |  Maxar Technologies image

Remote sensing of agriculture reaches new heights

Agriculture Canada has funding to update the Disease Risk Tool (DiRT1) it developed in 2016 to include crops beyond canola. DiRT1 combines information from satellites and user inputs into a prototype web application that can be used to investigate the accuracy of crop-disease forecast models. “In this first prototype we also integrated geospatial data from […] Read more

The biobed built by Farming Smarter uses a tank to hold rinsate, two stages, and a buried tank to hold the cleaned water. Plants are used in the two biobed stages to help monitor how active the herbicides are that are being broken down in the biobeds.  |  Farming Smarter photo

Biobeds help manage contaminated water

Micro-organisms in the biobed’s soil break down the chemicals and make water safe to discharge into the environment

Contaminated water from rinsing a pesticide container, called rinsate, is a problem on some farms. “I know stories where guys have been cleaning their sprayers out on a gravel pad for years and they don’t have any problem until there’s a big rainstorm, where you get six inches and then everything that has collected there […] Read more