A pea field affected by root rot often looks yellow and withered, but some infected fields don’t look as bad as others.

Root rot rears its ugly head — and there’s no treatment

Peas are the biggest concern and even when fields look OK, root rot can still be there

Pulse acres have increased in Alberta this year, but unfortunately root rot has increased as well. “We’re hearing and seeing evidence of pretty extreme root rot in pulses, especially peas,” said Mike Harding, research scientist and plant pathologist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “It doesn’t look like it’s going to be a great year for […] Read more


The wheat streak mosaic virus hasn’t been in the province for over a decade, but has been popping up in Alberta over the past two years.

Wheat streak mosaic virus returns to Alberta

Producers are being urged to be on the lookout and take steps to keep the virus from spreading

Wheat streak mosaic virus hasn’t been seen in the province for more than a decade, but it’s making a comeback this year. “Last year we had a dozen or so fields in southern Alberta that tested positive for or were assumed to be wheat streak mosaic, based on the symptoms,” said Mike Harding, research scientist […] Read more



An influx of gophers is ripping up the land and making holes at Ian Murray’s place near Acme.

It’s not your imagination — there are more gophers this year

Sadly, there aren’t many control methods that can reduce the large gopher population

If you think you’ve got more gophers than usual, you’re probably right. The gopher problem is particularly bad this year, particularly in central and east-central Alberta. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Ian Murray, a cattle rancher who lives near Acme. “It’s absolutely astounding.” Last year, the gophers flourished near Murray’s canola fields and […] Read more


“It’s up to the industry as to how we want to continue funding. Do we see value in Cigi and is there enough value to keep funding it or is there some other model?" – Kevin Bender

Sylvan Lake farmer joins Cigi board at a critical time

Kevin Bender’s new role will involve sorting out funding and trade issues

Governance, trace residues, and falling gluten strength. Those are among the issues Kevin Bender wants to tackle in his latest off-farm role. The grain grower from the Sylvan Lake/Bentley area — already vice-chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission and its representative on Cereals Canada — joined the board of the Canadian International Grains Institute last […] Read more



Alberta Beef Producers is refunding more than a third of the checkoff money it collects — with 88 per cent of that going to cattle feeders.

Cattle producers and feeders in checkoff stalemate

ABP has proposed a new funding council, but that wasn’t enough to sway cattle feeders

The Alberta Beef Producers and the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association have come to an impasse on making the provincial checkoff non-refundable. And that’s put the controversial matter in the hands of the provincial government. “We’re trying to come up with a plan,” said Martin Zuidhof, chair of the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association. “That’s where it’s […] Read more


Karin Lindquist

Get to know your pasture, says forage and beef expert

Identify all the species, consider what works or can be utilized, encourage biodiversity, 
and keep litter at optimal levels

When you manage your plants properly, you’ll have healthier soil and animals. This was the main message from provincial forage and beef specialist Karin Lindquist for attendees at the recent Grazing School for Women. “To manage your plants, you need to know what plants you have,” said Lindquist. So get a good camera and some […] Read more



Everyone working on a farm — whether employees or family — should have a job description and know their roles and responsibilities.

Humans — your most important farm resource

Attracting and retaining good workers on your farm doesn’t just happen — you have to make it happen

If you don’t have people, you don’t have a farm. It’s as simple as that. While most producers think about their farm in terms of their livestock and crops, they neglect to think about the people, says a rural business specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. But that needs to change, Abby Verstraete told attendees […] Read more


The marketplace is sending signals it wants verified sustainable beef, and the new VBP Plus program gives producers a way to show they are doing just that.

New verified beef program makes a timely debut

Revamped VBP program means producers can document their 
animal care, biosecurity, and environmental practices

The newly launched Verified Beef Production Plus program is taking Canada one step closer in its quest towards verified sustainable beef, says one of its designers. “This is just from my perspective, but we have always had early adopters — the people who believe in it — but there have never been clear market signals,” […] Read more



Only about 20 per cent of cow-calf producers are using Category 1 antimicrobials on their animals in a given year, a new study shows.

Producers careful with antimicrobials, survey finds

Only 20 per cent of those surveyed ever used antimicrobials 
important in human medicine, but some resistance was found

Cow-calf producers are being careful with antimicrobials — and that’s a good news story the industry needs to share with consumers, says one of the researchers of a groundbreaking study of cattle production on the Prairies. The cattle health network, which has been tracking production practices of more than 100 cow-calf producers since 2012, found […] Read more


Verifier Gord Stephenson, contracted by Where Food Comes From, hosted a panel featuring (from left) Stephen Hughes of Chinook Ranch (Longview), Anne Wasko of Bar 4 Bar Land and Cattle (Eastend, Sask.) and Les Wall of KCL Cattle (Coaldale).

Ranchers give thumbs up to sustainability pilot

Producers who participated in McDonald’s “verified sustainable” pilot showed a great deal of enthusiasm for the project and the lessons learned. “It felt like they (McDonald’s) were going to the grassroots where the other competitors were not,” said Les Wall, feedlot operator and owner of KCL Cattle Company near Coaldale. “I felt like the other […] Read more