To simulate snowmelt runoff, researchers used slabs of soil with snow on top of them. The slabs were then removed from the field plots for analysis.  |  T. King photo

Catching and keeping the elusive phosphorus

What form phosphorus will take in a particular soil depends on the chemistry of that soil. The transformation can do strange things to fertilizer. Soils with a lot of calcium, such as those in eastern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, will force the fertilizer to reside in a form known as calcium phosphates. These alkaline soils vary […] Read more

The benefits of strategic tillage to incorporate surface residue into the soil where it may do more good is being hotly debated. | File photo

Bury crop residue or let it lie: no easy answer

The benefits of strategic tillage to incorporate surface residue into the soil where it may do more good is being hotly debated. Proponents of the practice say there are major benefits to be had by moving the organic matter into the soil. Others say they can’t make a definitive decision because they haven’t seen enough […] Read more

Researchers use synchrotron to get new look at nutrient runoff

During the last two decades, phosphorus runoff has been shown to be a main cause of water quality degradation. That has given rise to suggestions that regulations to direct farmers on where and how they can apply phosphorus may be coming. Phosphorus runoff also has an immediate effect on a farmer’s fertilizer decisions. Lake Erie […] Read more


Andy Scheurer was first to the field in the Dugald Man., district on the morning of April 30.  Scheurer made one round with the brand new Horsch Maestro when a faulty guidance system brought the operation to a screeching halt for four hours. “The companies that provide these services have to do something about this re-occuring problem,” said Scheruer.  |  Ron Lyseng photo

Maestro sings a song of singulation

DUGALD, Man. – Prairie farmers have a half-dozen high-speed planters from which to choose. For Andy Scheurer the selection process was easy. His neighbour bought a Horsch Maestro last year and Scheurer was impressed. For years, the Dugald, Man., producer and his brother, Edgar, had been planting corn, canola, soybeans and sunflowers with a JD […] Read more

The canola kit includes stainless steel discs plus metering components for small seed crops. The kit is designed to allow a quick change between regular row crops and canola on any Maestro SW planter. | Ron Lyseng photo

Maestro has gentle touch with delicate seeds

DUGALD, Man. — Like a symphony conductor keeping precise meter for the orchestra with his wand, the Horsch Maestro seed metering system precisely conducts the flow of soybean, canola, sunflower and corn seeds. Before launching into the Maestro design process, Horsch engineers studied the many conventional planters already on the market. They saw that most […] Read more


Tools to reduce drift come in many forms, like liquid

There’s more to spray-drift management than nozzle selection, boom height, ground speed and atmospheric conditions. Some producers are adding low-drift adjuvants their tanks. There are a number of reasons farmers are cranking up their drift reduction efforts. Spray drift can damage crops adjacent to the target field. That’s a financial loss when it’s a farmer’s […] Read more

Tom Wolf says nearly every prairie farmer already uses low-drift nozzles. If the drift is still too much, operators adjust the hardware, such as lowering the boom, slowing down and lowering the pressure.
 | File photo

Wind tunnel and lasers help reduce spray drift

If the low-drift adjuvant InterLock really reduces drift, why isn’t it in general use across the Prairies? Spraying specialist and researcher Tom Wolf provides one answer. “The biggest challenge is that Canadian farmers simply don’t have the tradition of using low-drift adjuvants the way American farmers do. Canadian farmers are accustomed to using nozzles, spray […] Read more

Spraying researcher and consultant Tom Wolf suggests there is potential for the drift tool in Western Canada.  |  Michael Raine photo

Interlock: how it controls fines and big drops

The chemistry behind low-drift InterLock is puzzling. How do they convert those big liquid globs into desirable medium-size droplets, while also amalgamating your misty fines into desirable medium-size droplets? That’s a good question, and one WinField United researchers wish they could answer. Although it’s proven that InterLock does reduce spray drift, the company is continuing […] Read more


DNA sequences include a gene that invites disease into the plant.  If breeders can find that gene and remove it from the DNA sequence, that plant will no longer invite disease to visit.  It all happens in the lab.  |  SV Fisk photo

CRISPR rolls along with tools breeders use

Why do some individual plants live longer in the field after others died off? Why do some individual plants yield better? Why do some naturally resist disease that destroys others? These types of questions are best exemplified by the history of rust-resistant Selkirk wheat. In 1930, Moseph McMurachy found two heads of rust-free wheat while […] Read more

How do plants defend themselves?

Plants use their immune system to defend against pathogens. In order to activate that immune system, they first need to identify the enemy. Understanding this is vital for future healthier crops. But how do they activate this cellular defense system? The answer can result in genetically modified crops with an improved immune response and increased […] Read more