Latest articles


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


Rural crime presentation draws a packed house at FarmTech

RCMP superintendent urges audience to let police do their job and to avoid confronting intruders

Rural crime is a topic that everyone wants to talk about. “This is not just an issue in Alberta, but across the country,” RCMP Supt. Peter Tewfik said at a crowded FarmTech session. Rural property crime actually went down by 10 per cent in the province in 2018, he said. This means 480 fewer home […] Read more



African swine fever would be a disaster

There is a ‘clear risk’ the swiftly spreading disease could come here, says leading swine health vet

There is a real risk that the African swine fever virus could enter Canada — and if it did, it would be catastrophic, says one of the country’s leading swine health experts. “If Canada got a single case in our country, our borders would close to all nations,” said Dr. Egan Brockhoff, a partner in […] Read more