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

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

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


In his travels across Southeast Asia last year, agronomist Thom Weir personally experienced plowing with water buffalo.  |  Thom Weir photo

Technology gains may have saved many a crop last season

We often reflect on the previous year at this time of the year and give thanks for the bounties that we have received. This is magnified with those of you who receive their livelihoods from the land. We are so at the mercy of Mother Nature. This was very evident this past year. However, the […] 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


A drought creates fields with a wide range of nutrient levels so soil testing — up to 16 samples per zone — is recommended to get a clear picture of what inputs may be required.  |  File photo

Managing fertility after a drought

We are all aware of the impact of drought on crop yields, but what is happening in the field goes far beyond faulty plants and can last for several years, even when precipitation returns to otherwise normal levels. Drought causes several soil processes to slow down or virtually stop. The two most pronounced effects of […] Read more

Managing ruts this spring is required but it needs to be delicate management. Ideally, it should take place when the soil is dry or frozen, which eliminates compaction.  | File photo

Oh, ruts: tread carefully over the fields when repairing

It is no secret that discussions around what to do with ruts dominated many coffee row discussions this winter. These ruts were produced by combines and grain carts operating in wet fields last October and November. Some of them are more than 60 centimetres deep. Managing ruts this spring is required but it needs to […] Read more