Irrigation is a major driver of agriculture in some parts of the Prairies, but Israel takes it to a different level. Here, an Israeli farmer walks in his field near the border with the southern Gaza Strip earlier this month.   |  File photo

Water-efficient Israel has lessons for Canada

The country, which is 60 percent desert, can grow 85 percent of its food on 555,6000 acres of irrigated land

If Canadians had to pay the full cost of water — its collection, sanitation, delivery and recycling — what would that mean? Big bills, certainly, but it might also mean they would use less than the 300 cubic metres per person that they now average. Terrence Lazarus, general manager of the St. Mary River Irrigation […] Read more

Although many consider the beaver to be destructive, it can actually help protect ranchland from droughts.  |  Susan Drury/ photo

Beaver’s bad reputation not deserved

Many farmers think of the beaver as their enemy, a destructive pest to be controlled. However, the advantages of having beavers on ranchland far outweigh any disadvantages, said environmental consultant Rob Gardner, who has been observing beavers and other prairie wildlife for 35 years. Gardner told the Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference in Saskatoon […] Read more

Alfalfa produces a revenue of $175 per acre while almonds reap $1,300 using the same amount of water.  |  USDA photo

California growers switch to water saving irrigation systems

Producers in drought areas are also moving from row crops such as corn and alfalfa, to high profit crops such as almonds and pistachios

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Farmers in California’s San Joaquin valley, devastated by drought since 2011, are changing the way they irrigate to maximize efficiency, says a former resident. Rae Westersund worked in California for Crop Production Services through the drought until a year ago. She is now with the company’s Loveland Products in Alberta. She […] Read more