USDA plant breeder Steven Xu is part of a team that has discovered a potential genetic solution to Fusarium Head Blight.  |  USDA ARS photo

Gene discovery brings FHB resistance to cereals

New Fhb7 varieties of wheat with better FHB resistance 
may be available in a few years, developed in North Dakota

Plant geneticists the world around are devoting billions of dollars and centuries of accumulated time trying to breed better fusarium head blight resistance into wheat. Some fail. Some succeed. One of the most promising endeavours is the discovery and cloning of a gene that has been named Fhb7. The gene reduces FHB by detoxifying mycotoxins […] Read more

Get used to growing fructans, they’re better for growers and consumers

The new genetic line includes winter wheat with high-fructan levels plus tolerance to salinity, cold


Plant breeders typically focus on one factor at a time. They might look for better resilience to harsh conditions, or for better nutritional values. Occasionally, a breeder does both. Such is the case with a hardier more nutritious wheat that combines enhanced nutritional values along with increased resilience. The new wheat strain, developed by Cornell […] Read more

Each time an Envita-treated plant expands by growing a new cell, the microbe moves into that cell so it becomes a nitrogen fixing component of the plant. This occurs from germination all the way through to harvest.  |  Mike Raine photo

New microbe might nix need for more nitrogen

There’s a growing pool of biologicals claiming to abscond with all that free nitrogen floating around in the atmosphere. One of the latest, Envita from Azotic, recently received Canadian registration. With 78 percent of the atmosphere comprised of nitrogen, why shouldn’t it be free for the taking. According to Azotic, Envita helps leaves convert this […] Read more


The  Solugen pilot system can process 10,000 cubic metres of slurry per year. The installation uses only half the 50 x 60 foot structure, allowing the installation of a second treatment unit to increase the capacity to 20,000 cubic metres.  |  Solugen photo

Pig poop provides pure potable H2O

Drinking water that was just extracted from hog slurry may not be your cup of tea but it’s real handy on the hog farm

Politicians and media were photographed drinking freshly processed hog slurry water in an experimental facility. The event was the grand opening of Solugen’s first pig slurry purification plant last fall. VIPs were not enthusiastic about the new beverage product, but most were brave enough to at least try a little sip. They all conceded the […] Read more

Bad grain increases bin risks

“I’m tired of seeing farmers die in grain bins. I’m afraid 2020 will be record fatalities. The deaths already started in January. How many times have I warned farmers to stay out of bins. These people didn’t have to die.” How many times has Gary Woodruff warned farmers to stay out of grain bins? Probably […] Read more


There’s a middle price point halfway between temporary fabric shelters and steel buildings. Legacy Building Solutions has a 25-year warranty on its steel-framed tension fabric shelters.  |  Legacy Building Solutions photo

New large-scale storage for cost-conscious farmers

We all know what fabric quonsets are all about. They are low-cost tent-like structures thought of as temporary shelters that require maintenance or perhaps new fabric after about 10 years. When the hot-dipped galvanized steel frames start to corrode, often within a decade, they become a safety hazard and off they go to the dump. […] Read more

All arrows represent airflow. Blue arrows are cool ambient air. Red arrows represent heated air.  Blue arrows show air entering the dryer through the bottom fan. The bottom one-third of the dryer cools the grain. The burner is not being used for the bottom section so the arrow and cut away remain blue, although these dryers can operate in an all-heat mode to heat the lower section if needed. Above the lower cooling section there are two more blue arrows entering the heat section of the dryer. As the air passes over a burner it becomes heated and enters the red section of the dryer. The gray arrows represent exhaust air. Both heated and non-heated air enters the ducts and pass through the grain until they exit through an exhaust duct. The cutaway shows the air moving out of the exhaust ducts.  |  Wall Grain illustration

Improved screenless drying, lower fire risk

Conventional screen-type grain dryers allow kernels to be placed directly on the hot screen, thus damaging those kernels. However, there’s a small number of dryers that don’t use a screen. Dave Wall of Wall Grain has been selling dryers prairie-wide since the early 1980s. There’s a good chance one of his Vertec, Ibec, Neco or […] Read more

AirLanco clockwise downblast centrifugal fans push air into the manifold’s ductwork. The fans were mounted above the ductwork to allow for more space between them and the road. The ductwork system carries the air from the fan to each Air Auger run inside the tank. Each run has a butterfly valve in the ductwork that is to be opened and closed as need for aeration of the bin or unloading of the bin. |  AirLanco photo

AirAuger ‘fluidizes’ grain and ‘lifts’ it out of the bin

The AirAuger from AirLanco is a novel system employing high volume airflow from the bin floor to “lift” and help grain unload. It serves double-duty as a heavy-duty aeration system. High volume fans force outside air into concrete troughs created in floors that are sloped toward an unload sump. The troughs have a steel grating […] Read more


Can icons simplify chemical labels?

Judging a herbicide by its label can sometimes be as difficult as judging a book by its cover, especially if you’re reading product labels on your tiny smartphone screen. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency database on labels comprises PDFs, which are often difficult to use when projected on a small screen. However, labels are the […] Read more

Leaf disease can wreck havoc with pulse crops, especially in years when weather is cool and wet.  |  Michael Raine photo

Foliar fungus ignores spring weather

Field work wasn’t finished last fall and recent cold, wet spring has prairie pulse growers wondering how these circumstances will affect the disease situation. “Most of our pulse diseases are driven by environmental conditions during the growing season, so we still don’t know for sure what to expect this year,” says Saskatchewan Agriculture plant disease […] Read more