Potash should be applied to fields where it counts

The third instalment of my series on nutrient back-to-the-basics is about potassium. Also known as potash, it is second only to nitrogen in the amount of our applied nutrients used by plants. Crops contain about the same amount of nitrogen and potash. However, most of the potash is contained in the vegetative (leaves and stems) […] Read more

Phosphorus shortages not OK

I fear phosphate is the nutrient that is most deficient on farms across the Canadian Prairies and the northern U.S. Great Plains. It doesn’t act like nitrogen, which shows visual deficiency symptoms across the field when missed. Instead, phosphate deficiencies are more subtle and usually not noticed. In fact, I have seen what I would […] Read more

Getting crop nutrition right might seem like something every farmer should understand, but even the basics can be a challenge.  |  Michael Raine photo

Taking fertility back to the basics for better nutrition

This is the first of five columns that will look at building yield efficiently. I continue to get calls from farmers with questions regarding fertilizers. Some of them are what I consider basic questions that I assume most producers would know, but then we all know what assume will do. So I thought I would […] Read more


Roundup Ready canola can be a headache in soybeans

The first thing I must admit is that I am no expert when it comes to growing soybeans. However, I have made a few observations as the crop has silently moved north and west. Ten years or so ago, I was definitely not on the bandwagon. I guess I had seen what a late August […] Read more

Ruts that appear while operating equipment in wet fields can cause problems for subsequent crops.  |  File photo

Rutting and compaction are gifts that keep on giving

The weather has finally made a turn for the better. That means there will be hundreds of combines heading to the fields over the next couple of weeks. Farmers are anxious to get the remaining crops in the bins, regardless of field conditions. This opens us up to a couple of soil conditions that may […] Read more


Light green patches are showing up in otherwise verdant fields as the shower-based weather economy of the Prairies returns after last year’s droughty conditions.  |  Thom Weir photo

Flooded fields following heavy rain can take toll on crops

After a number of years of generally wet conditions across the Prairies, last year provided a break with a widespread drought. This spring continued with dryness across much of the region, but recently we have moved into a “more normal” weather pattern with most of the rain falling as a result of thunderstorms. These are […] Read more

This might not be the year to aim for the stars with inputs

My column this week might not be the most popular one I have written for you, but it needs to be discussed. I know most of you will have visited one of the major farm shows this winter. You likely returned with your mind full of exciting new products that promise to make you tonnes […] Read more

Everest damage, two years after application.  |  Thom Weir photo

Herbicides: Carrying on during and after a drought

Herbicide carryover should always be a concern following a dry year. Throughout my career, I have seen this issue reoccur after every drought. This makes me think that 2018 could see herbicide carryover issues raise their ugly heads again. In this column I will discuss why this issue is likely to show up and explain […] Read more


Phosphate, potash and sulfur can be added after harvest through broadcasting or banding.  |  File photo

Fertilizing in the fall; part 2

Last week we looked at the 4Rs of nutrient management as they relate to fall nitrogen. This article will focus on “the others,” or phosphorus, potassium and sulfur. With regards to “right time,” phosphate, potash and sulfur are quite a bit less complicated than nitrogen. The good news is all three products can be applied […] Read more

Anhydrous ammonia is a reliable method of fall banding nitrogen, provided soils aren’t too coarse or lumpy.  |  File photo

Remember the 4Rs of nitrogen fertilizing in the fall

Broadcast Manitoba Sask.


I am sure I will be getting a number of calls again this year about the fall application of fertilizers, so I thought it would be a good time to look at this through the four lenses that make up the 4Rs of nutrient management. Right time Is the fall the right time? The answer […] Read more