Tape one atom thick measures plant growth

A clear strip of graphene tape, just one atom thick and housing hundreds of microscopic sensors, tells plant breeders which strains best use water and nutrients and therefore grow faster. In corn breeding experiments at Iowa State University, the sensors allow researchers to measure the time it takes for two kinds of corn plants to […] Read more


Horsch’s Maestro gets Canola Ready Technology

Horsch has introduced a canola kit to fit all Maestro SW row crop planters. The Canola Ready Technology kit allows quick change between small seed and large seed crops. The package includes a set of stainless steel seed discs and quick change metering components. When seeding canola, the kit gives a grower all the agronomic […] Read more


VIDEO: In-ground steel continues to evolve

FARGO, N.D. — Within the overall realm of cultivation and seed and fertilizer placement equipment, the in-ground working tool is the one singular component that continues to evolve rapidly. Every farm show seems to feature new soil-working steel. Money is a chief reason for the on-going focus on developing new soil-working tools. When dealing with […] Read more



Urea on snow? Just say no

The calendar says, ‘yes, do it,’ but the data says, ‘whoa’; researchers adamant that applying urea on frozen fields is a bad idea

A few prairie farmers are taking advantage of fields almost barren of snow this winter to apply urea, a practice akin to spreading hundred dollar bills to frozen soil. That’s the opinion of Rigas Karamanos, senior agronomist for Koch Agronomic Services in Calgary. “This is not agronomically sound. Somebody’s telling them it’s OK, but it’s […] Read more


Fertilizer spreader sales on the rise

Global warming or no global warming, fact is we farm in the land of ice and snow. We don’t have the luxury of a large scenic picture window to do our seeding. Sales of granular spreaders are up, and our climate is the reason. As growers become more attuned to the importance of their seeding […] Read more



All-electric semis hit the road

Looking forward into the new year is an opportunity to imagine what might be, and Western Producer technology analyst Ron Lyseng is taking a look at the big trucks that might silently be sneaking up on the hauling market. Who knows, they might be moving from groceries to grain and fertilizer in the not too distant future.

The race to be first with an all-electric highway semi tractor was a close one, with Cummins, Mercedes, Tesla and California newcomer Thor nearly tied as they introduced their truck concepts last year. Being “first” doesn’t necessarily mean “best,” nor does it necessarily give you a jump on the market. Nonetheless, it’s a prize all […] Read more


Cracking the megapest genetic code

Knowing the total genetic makeup of an insect allows scientists to design plants that repel the bad bugs

Australian researchers have spearheaded an international effort to decipher and map the entire genome makeup of two major megapests threatening crops around the world. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization announced in a recent news release that it had identified more than 17,000 protein coding genes in two closely related pests considered to be […] Read more


Genetic mapping vs. genome sequencing

People mistakenly use “genetic mapping” and “genome sequencing” interchangeably without a second thought. However, the two technologies are as different as planting wheat with a stick and planting wheat with a SeedMaster. True, both technologies will yield some sort of a final product, but that’s where the similarity stops, says James Schnable, a geneticist at […] Read more



French robot prowls the chicken coop so you don’t have to

The Tibot Spoutnic prowls chicken coop floors all day, every day,keeping chickens on their toes and at the peak of efficiency. Spoutnic, a small autonomous robot, debuted this fall at SPACE, an annual French livestock show that focuses on new technologies. Spoutnic is designed to take the place of people who monitor chickens, regularly walking […] Read more


Big doubts about big data

Big data offers layers upon layers and tonnes upon tonnes of valuable information that can cut input costs and boost yields. So why aren’t farmers making better use of it? Daryle Laycock started collecting GPS-referenced yield data 20 years ago, mainly because experts and informed sources said it would someday be valuable. Today, it’s all […] Read more