Farmers can hear a confusing array of information and claims at trade shows. They can protect themselves with proper knowledge.  |  File photo

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

Planning for next year starts now

Preparing a cost of production worksheet for the farm is one of the most rewarding New Year’s resolutions that producers can make. Grain farmers, with whom I am most acquainted, will find this information invaluable when making decisions. Templates are available that can prepare a cost of production worksheet for each crop and each field. […] Read more

Who owns your data?

Editor’s note: This is the final part of a two-part column on data use in agriculture. Information privacy and ownership are popping up in conversations as big data develops in agriculture. The issue is further complicated because the collected data is transferred over the internet and aggregated by different companies for a variety of purposes. […] Read more


Is data the next disruptive force in the world food supply?

This is the first of a two-part column that deals with data use in agriculture. The second part will appear next week. Disruptive technology is a buzzword that is frequently thrown around in the high tech world these days. It is technology that helps create a new market and eventually disrupts an existing market, displacing […] Read more

Effective weed control begins in autumn; timing is key

Fall is a good time to control perennial and winter annual weeds. In fact, for many weeds, it is the best time for control. However, timing for optimal herbicide control varies with the type of weeds are in the field. Dandelions are best controlled from the middle of September until the end of October. However, […] Read more


Field trials: with data in hand, it’s time to analyze

Last winter, I wrote about how to set up a field trial to receive useful data when assessing a new practice on your farm (Field trial testing tells tales for on-farm agronomy, Jan. 9, 2014.) Hopefully many of you were able to set up trials on your farm that will answer a question about the […] Read more

Kernels at various times during grain filling. Left to right: kernel at watery ripe, kernel at late milk, kernel at soft dough, kernel at hard dough showing loss of green colour, and kernel ripe for harvest.  |  Michael Raine photos

80 percent mature heads ideal time for pre-harvest glyphosate

I had an interesting question from a grower this week. The question was “What is the operation that if I screw up, costs me the most money?” Basically, he was asking for an evaluation of his practices and suggestions on how he could improve. This is different from most questions from farmers. Most want to […] Read more

Do foliar fungicides provide enough bang for the buck?

There has been a lot of discussion about applying reduced rates of foliar fungicides, usually a half rate at the T1 stage or at the time of herbicide spraying. The practice has become common in the past few years, but the question remains: “Are you getting an economic bang for your buck?” Kelly Turkington of […] Read more


Residual weed control for the weeks immediately after seeding might pay yield dividends.  |  File photo

Residual weed control improves yield but heed warnings

It is possible to add residual weed control to the spring burn off. It can be a blessing, as well as a curse. First the curse. Many of these products will restrict the crops that can be seeded into those fields this year and next. It may be an issue if weather dictates a change […] Read more

Best registered herbicides for dandelion suppression

We are starting to see the result of a couple of growing seasons in which dandelions have been poorly dealt with in cropland. A large number of calls to agronomists this spring have been about dandelions and what to do ahead of seeding. Producers are now asking what they can do about in-crop solutions. Let’s […] Read more