Peter Fehr stands with his new irrigation system on his farm near La Crete, Alta. | Photo supplied by Peter Fehr

Alberta Farmer’s irrigation dreams come true

For almost all the 38 years Peter Fehr has farmed, he’s dreamed of having an irrigation system. He has been dealing with dry conditions up in the northern Peace area of La Crete, Alta., and would love to see a boost in yield. “I’ve always had irrigation in the back of my mind,” said Fehr, […] Read more

Mountain snowpack is an important water source for Alberta’s irrigators.  |  File photo

Plentiful mountain snowpack bodes well for Alta. irrigators

Snow accumulation along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains appears to bode well for runoff and the coming irrigation season, Alberta Environment reports. The mountain runoff forecast as of Feb. 7, posted by the department, indicates above average levels in the Oldman River Basin near Lethbridge and Brocket, as well as in the Bow […] Read more

A study found that irrigated fields have higher greenhouse gas emissions that non-irrigated fields.  |  File photo

Reducing nitrous oxide emissions benefits farmers

Farmers who use best management practices for agronomic reasons also gain environmental benefits, says a University of Saskatchewan researcher. However, soil scientist Dr. Richard Farrell told the recent provincial irrigation conference there is room for improvement around nitrogen use. Agricultural soils produce about half of total greenhouse gas emissions for the sector but 90 percent […] Read more


There’s no flax in this field’s low spot, but the rest of the crop is struggling to full maturity west of Wrentham, Alta.  | Barb Glen photo

Irrigation makes the difference

Crops in southern Alberta are a study in contrasts this year. Those farming some of the region’s 1.4 million irrigated acres are looking at average yields. Those farming dry land acres are harvesting fields with much lower yields due to low rainfall since May. “I’m expecting 90 percent to 105 percent of average,” crop adviser […] Read more

The Canada-Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre in Outlook, Sask., is bursting its banks as it runs out of land for research. |  File photo

Land shortage hinders irrigation research

Demand for trial research on variable rate applications, rotations and variety research is growing but the land available is not

OUTLOOK, Sask. — There is nothing like success to create problems. Irrigation agriculture research in Saskatchewan is alive and well, so much so that a shortage of a critical element has caused its primary research group to turn down opportunities, along with the associated funding. The Canada-Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre in Outlook, Sask., couldn’t take […] Read more


The yield difference between the irrigated and non-irrigated sections of this field was more than 150 bushels.  |  Jeffrey Carter photo

Subsurface drip irrigation pays for Ont. farmer

Corn grower with sandy soil details the costs and yield benefits behind the 67-acre installation project

DELHI, Ont. — Corn grown in this southeastern Ontario region, on what’s known as the Norfolk sand plain, is a virtually writeoff — except where a handful of farmers installed subsurface drip irrigation systems. It was difference between disaster and success for Todd Boughner, manager of Judge Farms, and Jeff Lipcsik. The two spoke about […] Read more

Zebra mussels can plug irrigation networks by gluing themselves to infrastructure. Manitoba conducted 2,819 water craft inspections by the end of October and 136 boats were decontaminated.  |  File photo

Manitoba anxious to control mussels

Lack of staff, funding | Potash was used to control zebra mussels in Lake Winnipeg, but they are still spreading

Manitoba worked hard for years to keep zebra mussels out of Lake Winnipeg, but it appears the Russian invaders are here to stay following an infestation that was discovered last year. “For Lake Winnipeg, right now, it looks like adaptation,” said biologist Laureen Janusz with Manitoba Conservation. An intensive campaign to inject liquid potash around […] Read more

Saskatchewan could irrigate another 500,000 acres out of Lake Diefenbaker, but the government is hesitant to commit to the billions the project would cost.  |  File photo

Expand irrigation to boost economy: official

Employment benefits | ‘Irrigation development should be a no-brainer,’ says the province’s irrigation association chair

Saskatchewan’s recently released irrigation strategy is a good short-term document, says the chair of the Saskatchewan Irrigation Projects Association. However, Roger Pederson said it is missing provisions for the major infrastructure projects that will really advance the industry. He said the strategy indicates the government will continue to develop irrigation but it emphasizes infill in […] Read more


Al Kominek buries drip tape at his farm outside Dresden, Ont. He expects it will remain serviceable for 15 years or longer. | Jeffrey Carter photo

Ontario farmers test subsurface drip irrigation

Buried beneath the soil | Systems are already used in arid regions of the United States

DRESDEN, Ont. — Subsurface drip irrigation is catching on in Ontario. Al Kominek, a farmer and sales representative with Heartnut Grove Inc., said several systems have been installed on former tobacco farms in the province’s drought-prone Norfolk Sand Plain. “I’m the only one putting one in west of London, that I know of,” Kominek said, […] Read more