Decision making should take cost of production into account

Do you know what it costs to produce that bushel of canola, or wheat or lentils or soybeans, for that matter? It seems like pretty basic stuff, but I am always surprised when I ask this question to growers and get either a far off gaze or a weak stab with a ballpark number quickly […] Read more


Cutting crop inputs without cutting the crop output

Harvest is done, and now it’s time to start planning for next year. The first task should be to revise this year’s crop plan with actual costs as compared to the estimated costs and expected selling prices entered last winter. This will give farmers a much better idea as to the financial outcome of 2015 […] Read more


Fall soil test provides portrait of field fertility

Soil testing creates many options, but the primary reason most growers soil test is to take a snapshot of the nitrogen levels in their fields. This is because nitrogen levels can fluctuate greatly due to environmental and crop growth conditions from year to year. Other nutrient levels are important, but nitrogen is the largest contributor […] Read more



Be aware of pre-harvest herbicide application restrictions

We are approaching the time of year when all great plans seem to go out the window. That time is harvest. No matter how well planting was planned, everything seems to be ready to swath or desiccate at the same time. As a result, decisions are sometimes made that, when looking in the rear view […] Read more


Moisture, timing key in using PGRs

I show my age when I admit that my first experience with plant growth regulators was in the late 1970s. The company where I worked was a leader in marketing PGRs in Europe. These products also worked on the Canadian Prairies, but it was decided that there was more money to be made applying them […] Read more



Weed of the Week: hemp-nettle

Hemp-nettle is the nastiest of the many species of the mint family found in Western Canada. The pest, formally known as Galeopsis tetrahit, has been in Western Canada since at least the 1940s and became a significant problem in the late 1960s. It likes damper regions and thrives in moist, black soils. However, it has […] Read more


Risks and benefits of early seeding

Crops can tolerate spring frost better than early fall frost. To offset the cold stress associated with early seeding, follow these best management practices:

Weather changes at this time of year make it difficult to predict when growers will be on the land. Growers are starting to seed as I write this in mid-April, and in the extreme south of Alberta, they have already wrapped up. I checked soil temperatures April 20 and found that they are already starting […] Read more


The risks and benefits of early seeding

Weather changes at this time of year make it difficult to predict when growers will be on the land. Growers are starting to seed as I write this in mid-April, and in the extreme south of Alberta, they have already wrapped up. I checked soil temperatures today and found that they are already starting to […] Read more



Seeding by plant population? Don’t get too hung up on it

Crops should be seeded with a target plant population in mind. These targets can be determined by reviewing research done at various locations. The target plant populations used in this column are averages from researchers across Western Canada and the northern United States. The experience on your own land under your own conditions and using […] Read more


Don’t believe hype unless it’s backed by facts

I had never realized until this winter’s farm shows that there were so many ways to optimize, synergize, maximize, energize and revitalize my soil. Those seemed to be the buzz words at many of the booths I visited. However, I was also disturbed that the companies promoting these products were unable to show me data […] Read more