Garth Hockley, right, installed a milking robot on his dairy farm near Brandon 17 months ago, but the novelty hasn’t worn off. Hockley still enjoys showing the technology to visitors, such as Jennifer and Harley Strudwick of Balgonie, Sask.  |  Robert Arnason photo

Robots ease dairy producers’ labour pains

Garth Hockley couldn’t help himself as he stood next to a robotic milking machine inside his barn: he had to grin as he admired the technology. “I never get tired of watching it,” said Hockley, who opened up his dairy farm to visitors for the National Holstein Convention held in Brandon last month. Hockley, who […] Read more

Electronic gadgetry can do a better job than the human eye when it comes to picking the right path for your ditcher.  |  John Gehrer photo

Choose the right path before the crop goes down the drain

BRANDON — John Gehrer would likely say there is no single best combinatino of GPS control systems to manage field drainage. The Niverville, Man., farmer spent last summer comparing drainage control technologies. He also does custom spraying and drainage work, and has been using GPS since 1997. In a recent presentation, he touched on the […] Read more

Maria DeRosa is studying how nanoparticles in soil will affect crops, microbes and animals, including earthworms and animals that graze on pasture.  |  Carleton University photo

Tiny particles may have big environmental impact

Nanotechnology studied | Nano particles, structures and sensors may improve agriculture, but effects on people, animals and soil unknown

There is a lot of anticipation about the application and potential benefits of nanoagriculture but little said about the risks. The goal of nanotechnology in agriculture is to boost the productivity of plants for food, fuel and other uses, but the American Chemical Society reported its reservations in a podcast. “Scientists are describing huge gaps […] Read more


 Dr. Harold Johns, U of S Department of Physics, left, John MacKay, Acme Machine and Electric Company, and Dr. Sandy Watson, director of cancer services with the Saskatchewan Cancer Commission, examine the original treatment cone on the unit.  |  Photo Courtesy of Dr. Sylvia Fedoruk

Medical invention a legacy

Cobalt machine | The betatron, dubbed The Bomb, zaps cancerous tumours

Harold Johns and Allan Blair dropped in unannounced one day in 1946 to visit Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas. They had a proposal. Johns, a physicist at the University of Saskatchewan who supervised radium and X-ray therapy equipment, and Blair, director of Saskatchewan Cancer Services, were pioneering new radiation therapies. They needed permission to buy a […] Read more

Protesters fear GM pig could trigger consumer backlash

GUELPH, Ont. – The sharply divided sides in the genetically modified food debate were on display last week as activists marched in bitter cold while researchers and MPs discussed biotechnology’s potential inside. On Feb. 9, the House of Commons agriculture committee listened as researchers and agribusiness representatives discussed the inevitability of GM material in the […] Read more


Dow shifts more business to seed trait aspects

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Dow Agro-Sciences was one of the last agriculture chemical companies to invest in the seed trait business but it is playing catch-up in a big way. Sales of farm chemicals once accounted for 90 to 95 percent of the company’s revenues. Today, 20 percent of its business is seeds, traits and specialty […] Read more

New technology promises faster trait development

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A new technology that allows scientists to precisely add, delete or edit genes will speed up delivery of new crop traits to farmers, says the company that owns it. Dow AgroScience’s ExZact Precision Technology uses zinc-finger proteins to modify a DNA sequence in a plant genome exactly where scientists want it to […] Read more

Competition prepares students for real world

As far as Terry Fonstad is concerned, his team has already won Lord Stanley’s coveted trophy.His Stanley Cup equivalent is the pinnacle of competition in university agricultural engineering: The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers one-quarter-scale tractor, student design competition, held annually in Peoria, Illinois.His franchise is the University of Saskatchewan Sled Dog scale […] Read more


Self-propelled sprayer a first for Versatile

ORLANDO, Florida – Versatile has moved closer to becoming a full-line agricultural equipment manufacturer. It has acquired Red Ball, a Minnesota company that got into financial difficulty last year. In the deal, Versatile gets its first self-propelled sprayer, the SX275. Retailing for $239,000 US, the sprayer ditched the Red Ball 7830’s John Deere engine in […] Read more

Wind turbine noise poses no health risks: study

The sound from wind turbines has no negative impact on people, says a worldwide, peer reviewed review of literature on the health effects of wind turbines. The American and Canadian Wind Energy Association established a panel to review the current literature after concerns about sound from wind turbines and their adverse health consequences. The panel […] Read more