Latest articles

PRECISION RANCHING: Manage your cattle from your easy chair

New research points to a future in cattle production where 
most decisions will be made at the touch of a button

Imagine being able to manage your grazing cattle at the touch of a button and constructing ‘digital fences’ as you move them from pasture to pasture. Or using drones to track your cattle while at the same time discovering the most nutrient-rich forage on your land. These are just a couple of examples of current […] Read more

High-frequency tags: Easier data reading, happier cattle

Next generation of RFID readers can read cattle tags without having to use a squeeze chute

Using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to track and collect information on cattle is fast becoming standard practice. However, the process can be painfully slow and inefficient. But researchers may have found a way to change that. A three-year project conducted by SAIT’s Glen Kathler tested the ability of ultra-high-frequency RFID tag readers to process […] Read more

Seed will be available for late planting, say marketers

But popular varieties will be in short supply, and germination and fusarium are going to be key issues

Nearly a million acres of unharvested crops to deal with means late seeding will be common this year. But will there be enough seed to meet the demand? Yes, say marketing reps, but farmers need to act quickly and keep their expectations realistic. “This spring, more than ever, timing is going to be of the […] Read more

Here are some options for late-spring seeding this year

Crop specialist Harry Brook says it’s worth taking a look at Polish canola, 
and checking historical frost dates for your area

Seeding in late spring is fraught with variables beyond producers’ control, but there are some things they can do to hedge their bets, says a provincial crop specialist. Most come down to plant and variety selection, and canola in particular features some strong options, said Harry Brook. “There are varieties out there that do fairly […] Read more

Plant 2017: It’s all about making the best of a bad situation

It was never going to be good, but crop specialists say this seeding season may not be as bad as feared

To say that last year’s harvest season in Alberta was unusual would be putting it mildly. The exceptionally wet fall resulted in 967,569 unharvested acres reported to Agricultural Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) this past winter, representing millions of dollars in seed and inputs that have yet to be recouped. So the big question this spring […] Read more

Funding sparks boom in small-scale solar projects

Attractive lease rates for ‘micro-gen’ projects have many farmers thinking 
of doing their own

Although smaller-scale community-organized solar farms have, so far, been left in the lurch, there’s good news for farmers and other rural landowners interested in solar. Growing Forward 2 offers grants of up to $50,000 for ‘micro-gen’ solar projects where the power is used in the production of a primary commodity. That kind of government support […] Read more

Community-based project lost in the shuffle over solar power

Government inaction jeopardizes proposed community solar farm that backers hoped would be a model for rural Alberta

It only takes a cursory glance at the headlines to recognize that a solar energy boom is coming to Alberta. Last year, the province set a target of having 30 per cent renewable energy by 2030 — but it remains to be seen whether farmers and rural communities will be able to ride this coming […] Read more

Don’t delay if you haven’t lined up seed

All that rain last year has elevated fusarium levels and lowered germination rates

The quality of cereal seed in Alberta is down — and disease pressure is up — across almost all classes, say players at the front lines of the upcoming growing season’s seed outlook. “Disease levels are a little higher this year and that’s having an adverse effect on quality,” said Trevor Nysetvold of BioVision, a […] Read more

Battling fusarium requires new initiatives

Both the grain sector and government need to respond to rising fusarium rates, says the president of Alberta Seed Growers. One of the first things to do is recognize that FHB has become a significant problem and then create policies that do not unnecessarily penalize producers, said Glenn Logan. Read more: Don’t delay if you haven’t […] Read more

It came from outer space — better pasture insurance, that is

Using a new generation of satellites to measure grass production promises 
to be a game changer for pasture insurance

Ask any rancher or other forage producer — insuring pasture land can be a major pain in the neck. Because of the limitations of current assessment tools, in the event of a wreck producers can be paid nothing or an amount that does not reflect actual loss. Instead, payments are made on an area-wide basis […] Read more