ABOVE: Two crop stages in the same field make harvest management a challenge. Avoiding yield loss before the bin might be impossible, but making decisions to manage it could mitigate the amount of crop that stays in the field.  |  Thom Weir photo

This year’s harvest the most challenging in recent memory

Farmers will be confronted with a lot of decisions this fall when it comes to harvest management. We all recognize the curveballs that mother nature threw this spring. The soil was dry in many areas. This, along with some management decisions around soil preparation and fertilizer applications, resulted in many producers planting into extremely dry […] Read more

Taking a later second cut can make financial sense this season, but producers might pay the price the following season.  |  File photo

Retain your alfalfa by sparing it a later, second cut in August

This year’s abnormally cool and dry spring has resulted in feed shortages across much of Western Canada. This will result in many producers trying to get a second cut of alfalfa off. To ensure that your alfalfa goes into winter in the best condition, it is recommended that you observe a hiatus from cutting during […] Read more

Increasing nitrogen rates produces diminishing returns

In this second part of our look at nitrogen, we will examine more sources, rates, timing and location of application. Liebig’s Law of the Minimum applies, like all of the other nutrients we have looked at. Most crops, with the exclusion of legumes, exhibit the classic response curve we have seen with other nutrients. Nitrogen […] Read more


Spray water is a critical component in herbicides and droughts can change water significantly. Even dugout water, nominally soft, can become hard. Other conditions such as pH and Koc sensitivity are also subject to shifting when fresh supplies don’t arrive.  |  Robin Booker photo

Drought conditions can change spray

While it might have rained where you are, the impact of drought on the effectiveness of herbicides likely remains. This week we look at water, which is the primary carrier for herbicide applications. In fact, it usually makes up more than 99 percent of the spray solution. Considering that, it should be no surprise that […] Read more

Nitrogen most important of crop nutrients

This is the fourth column on macro-nutrients. This is part one of a two-part column on nitrogen. Nitrogen is by far the most important, the most complicated, the most controversial and possibly the least understood nutrient commonly used by farmers. Nitrogen is critical to making crops grow, mature and produce grain. A crop lacking nitrogen […] Read more


Hot and dry conditions will impact the weed control you can expect from a herbicide. Unfortunately, it may also increase the crop injury from herbicides. Every herbicide you use will be influenced by environmental conditions.
 | File photo

Take special care with herbicides in drought conditions

When moisture limits a crop, there may be fewer and less vigorous weeds, and weed emergence may be delayed until rainfall occurs. In those conditions, farmers may be tempted to delay spraying until they get some moisture. However, drought-tolerant weeds such as kochia, Russian thistle, and foxtail barley develop extensive root systems early and take […] Read more

Sulfur can hold the limit on a crop’s potential

This week, the “nutrient back to the basics” series will discuss the secondary nutrient — sulfur. For much of the world, sulfur has been considered of secondary interest compared to nitrogen, phosphate and potassium. However, as organic matter was depleted and canola, which is a very heavy user of sulfur, grew in popularity, sulfur deficiencies […] Read more