Latest articles


Alberta producers create a buzz on their farms with pollinator program

Program encourages farmers to seed an acre or two with plants that attract pollinators and build biodiversity

Vance Graham’s land is now more attractive to bees, and all he had to do was plant a few seed packets. Graham is one of 38 Alberta farmers who signed up for Operation Pollinator, a project run by Syngenta and the Soil Conservation Council of Canada. “They wanted it on an area of ground that […] Read more


In denial? Farmers ‘failing’ in battle against clubroot

Scott Keller has crunched acreage numbers and found tight rotations and susceptible varieties are commonplace

For the last three years, Scott Keller has been crunching acreage numbers from the provincial crop insurer — and he’s not liking what he sees. “To me, everything the researchers and the Canola Council (of Canada) is saying that farmers should do; they’re not even doing anything outside of just adopting the resistant varieties,” said […] Read more



The mystery deepens as third case of PED found in Alberta

It’s not known how the devastating virus arrived or how it showed up in one isolated room on a second farm

Alberta hog producers are no closer to answers about how a devastating virus found its way into the province after a third case of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) was confirmed at the start of March. “There are several possibilities about how it’s spreading that involve transportation, and we’re still looking into that at this […] Read more


Seeking options for wireworm control

Crop rotation and biological methods are being studied for managing the persistent pest

No available insecticides can kill them and the one that can at least slow them down may be phased out. But biological control may have promise for managing wireworms, says an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientist who has been researching the pest species. “They especially love cereal crops and food crops like carrots and potatoes […] Read more



Unique family-farm mushrooms in Nisku industrial park

The Grugers learned the business from scratch — and also that there’s huge demand for gourmet mushrooms

Rachel Gruger and husband Carleton wanted to farm — but their route to achieving that goal was an unusual one. Carleton studied IT, but found that he wasn’t happy working in an office in Edmonton. He wanted to get back to his country-boy roots, said Rachel Gruger. The couple began experimenting by growing food in […] Read more


Flea beetles: more species, more territory

Control options include seed treatment, seeding early and a higher seeding rate

They have been a voracious pest in canola for many years, but their pattern of infestation is changing. “Flea beetles can be a huge economic problem; pervasive and unpredictable,” Jennifer Otani, a pest management biologist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Beaverlodge said during a session at FarmTech. Adult flea beetles can move in and out […] Read more



International politics add to uncertainty for crops in 2019

Canada’s diplomatic spat with China among the factors that may influence demand for canola

[UPDATED Feb. 26, 2019] Some producers are responding to the market while planning their spring planting decisions. Others are going with tried-and-true rotations. But everyone is watching the weather and geopolitical events. “From a pulse perspective, things have improved a lot since the fall of 2017, when India closed its markets. Prices have risen some, but […] Read more


The situation is better, but Alberta’s pork sector not out of the woods yet

After a dreadful summer, prices are better but producers still losing money, says analyst

Hog markets have improved since early fall, but the situation is far from great. “In terms of the current prices, there’s nothing spectacular,” said Ron Gietz, an extension specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Still, that’s an improvement on the spectacularly bad period last summer when hog prices plunged by more than 40 per cent […] Read more



Even pesticide review agency doesn’t understand farming

It’s really no surprise, and it’s why farmers need to speak up, FarmTech attendees told

Warren Sekulic respects the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, even though its officials knew little about two key pesticides they’re proposing to ban. “Talking to the PMRA, it was very obvious that it was completely unaware of our farming practices and neonic seed treatments,” said Sekulic, who grows wheat, canola, and peas on his family’s operation […] Read more


Court ruling alone won’t fix ‘orphan’ well crisis

There are now more than 3,000 abandoned wells in Alberta, and many more that are no longer active

A Supreme Court ruling that puts cleanup ahead of creditors is a step forward — but won’t “make too much difference” to landowners with abandoned wells, says a director with the Alberta Surface Rights Federation. “The landowners are still going to be in a situation where they have to deal with contaminated land for maybe […] Read more