Sustainable production of 52 bushels per acre of canola will require an increase in efficiency in just a few years to meet the Canola Council of Canada’s 2025 production goals.  |  File photo

Sustainability key to new canola targets

Do you think an average bushel of canola can be produced with 18 percent less fuel and 40 percent less land? Can canola production sequester an extra five million tonnes per year of Canada’s carbon emissions? Can canola production protect rather than harm 2,000 species of beneficial insects? Can 90 percent of canola acres be […] Read more

Gillian Flies of The New Farm in Ontario is optimistic that small regenerative practices can have big economic benefits because they could help stem wet and dry spells.  |  the New Farm photo

Is regenerative the next ‘sustainable?’

KELOWNA, B.C. — During a first-of-its kind conference in Kelowna earlier this year, producers, soil health experts and advocates gathered to discuss the future of farming. The First Canadian Summit on Climate Action in Food Systems focused on regenerative agriculture, looking at how farmers can be part of the solution in helping mitigate climate change. […] Read more

The sooner your succession conversations happen, the better. Farm families should start writing down what the deal looks like to ensure everyone is clear on the terms.  |  Getty illustration

Succession planning crucial for financial sustainability

Tough decisions and conversations will need to be made, say experts, but it will ensure a smoother transition

Families that are beginning the process of transitioning the farm should follow a number of general rules for it to be financially sustainable, say tax specialists. The key to any succession plan, no matter what stage it’s in, is communication between family members, said Riley Honess, a senior manager in tax with KPMG in Lethbridge. […] Read more

Soil advocate Don Lobb says while tillage remains an issue, compaction is probably the number one issue facing soil integrity.  |  File photo

Getting off the soil degradation curve

A soil health advocate says we must break the cycle that sees productivity drop as food demand increases

Soil aggregates are the key to the future of soil health, but they are not well cultivated on much of the land, placing soil health, and thus the future of agri-food, in jeopardy, says Don Lobb, a longtime advocate of soil health. “For the first time in history we have the capacity to produce food […] Read more

The town that refused to give up

A Manitoba town is defying the trend. Unlike other small towns on the Prairies, Reston is gaining people and getting younger. In 2016 the town had 570 people — up slightly from 550 in 2011. And Reston had 115 people younger than 19, about 21 percent of the population. Several years ago, to accommodate the […] Read more

Ben Loewith is taking over the family owned dairy from his father and uncle.  |  Barbara Duckworth photo

A sustainable farm with a mission

The Loewith dairy farm has a five-point mission statement pinned to the wall to remind staff of its values and priorities

COPETOWN, Ont. — When Ben Loewith walks through the dairy barns on his family farm, he is filled with contentment from a job well done. Keeping a modern dairy sustainable means protecting the environment, contending with urban encroachment, finding competent labour and raising healthy, productive cows. Continuous improvement in all those areas has always driven […] Read more

Parts of the Prairies have too much water in the spring and too little in the summer months. Controlled drainage is a way to store water in the field, making it available when needed or removed when needed.
 | File photo

Tile drainage can make land more sustainable

In much of Manitoba, this fall was the season of tractor tire ruts. From late August until the middle of October, about 200 millimetres of rain and snow fell on southern Manitoba and North Dakota. The excess precipitation turned farm fields into soup, and growers struggled to get combines and tractors on the land. Some […] Read more

Margie Comaling adds lids to jars of raspberry jam at the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre in Saskatoon.  |  William DeKay photo

Prairie growers focus on year-round products

Small-scale producers selling locally grown produce are starting to compete side-by-side with California vegetables on store shelves throughout the cold prairie winters. The Prairies are famous for shipping massive amounts of food and food ingredients around the world, but many prairie residents are used to importing fresh fruits and vegetables to get through winter. Now, […] Read more

The challenge of reducing the use of antimicrobials in livestock is to balance that with the need to maintain animal health and welfare.  |  File photo

Reduced antibiotic use remains on industry’s radar

Veterinarians say eliminating antibiotics in animal agriculture 
is not an option, but other options should also be considered

Antibiotics are vital to treat human and livestock illness and protect health. The development of bacteria resistant to antibiotics threatens the sustainability of their use in the medical and veterinary fields. Reducing the use of antibiotics, or antimicrobials in general, is a focus of widespread Canadian efforts in recent years. That reduction is expected to […] Read more

An autonomous farming study at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, England, uses a robotic tractor and drill to seed winter wheat, spring barley, and fababeans. | Photo supplied by James Lowenberg-DeBoer

Robotic farming project focuses on swarms

The Hands Free Hectare project in Britain finds that many small robots may work better than larger, manned machinery

A study of autonomous farming at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, England, found that swarm farming with many small robots may be more efficient than farming with larger, manned machinery. “The initial economic analysis suggests that robots could cut the cost of producing wheat in the United Kingdom by 10 to 15 percent compared to […] Read more