Latest articles


The solar power math is starting to add up

A steep drop in solar prices is giving a new meaning to ‘green’ power — 
and giving Alberta farmers a way to cut energy costs

Cory Nelson isn’t what you might call a ‘tree hugger.’ But the Grassy Lake-area farmer is a businessman, and to him, solar energy just makes good financial sense. “We view it as an investment,” said Nelson, who grows a variety of crops under irrigation on his southern Alberta farm. “Our best math said it was […] Read more


‘Mystery’ canola attacker stumps scientists

Researchers have been trying to solve this ‘whodunit’ for years but so far, no one has been able to crack the case

It’s a classic ‘whodunit’ — the Case of the Confounding Canola Killer. And Alberta researchers are still scratching their heads over it 15 years later. “Since 2002, we’ve been finding this ‘mystery syndrome,’ and I don’t have a cause for it,” said provincial oilseed specialist Murray Hartman. “We get one nice flower that turns into […] Read more



There’s a fine line between average and excellent

A multi-year benchmarking study of the most profitable bison producers 
offers insights to any livestock operation

What sets a top-performing bison producer apart from a low performer? About fifty cents. That was one of the key preliminary findings of a multi-year benchmarking study that compares performance indicators in Alberta and Saskatchewan bison herds. “Our main objective was to develop a performance indicator that allows us to evaluate farms relative to one […] Read more


Cash is your best bet when buying machinery

If you're going to 'run the hell out of your equipment,' lease it

When you sit down across a desk from your equipment dealer, you’re out to get the best deal you can — and your dealer is out to make a profit. So how can you keep more jingle in your own jeans? “It doesn’t matter if you pay cash, you finance it, or you lease it,” […] Read more



Prairies could be plant-based protein superpower

Protein Innovations Canada aiming to make Western Canada the world’s ‘leading source of high-quality proteins’

Allison Ammeter doesn’t understand why there isn’t more domestic pulse processing on the Canadian Prairies. “As a farmer, I’m really proud of the fact that I grow good, safe food that’s enjoyed around the world,” said the past chair of Alberta Pulse Growers, who farms near Sylvan Lake. “But it’s always really ticked me off […] Read more




Five steps for building the right forage mix for your farm

The right mix of forage grasses and legumes will make the most of our 
short growing season and produce maximum yields

It’s Canada — not New Zealand or Australia — so ranchers here have to squeeze out as much grass as possible to keep up with their competitors in balmier climes, says a federal researcher. And there are a few ways to develop a forage mix to make the most of the shorter season. “The first, […] Read more


Three ways to manage tough weeds on organic farms

Using green manure, increasing seeding rates, and incorporating mechanical weed control can help organic producers manage weeds on their operations

The biggest challenge on Steve Snider’s organic farm is weeds — and killing them properly isn’t a one-size-fits-all operation. “The key to remember in organics is there’s no one answer,” said Snider, who has been growing organic grain on his farm near Edberg for 30 years. “It’s not like conventional agriculture. You can’t control weeds […] Read more



High fire risk means burning unharvested crops should be a ‘last resort’

Extension specialist says cereal crops may have more value than expected, and a ‘normal’ spring looks likely

For Clair Langlois, burning unharvested cereal crops this spring should be “a last resort.” “It is quick, but it’s very risky,” said the provincial cereal extension specialist. “With Slave Lake followed by Fort McMurray, a lot of these municipalities are not tickled pink about burning. “So you’ve got to have a Plan B ready to […] Read more


A terrible toll: Farming still claims too many lives

The latest statistics 
show an encouraging but modest decline in the number of farm fatalities

The number of people killed in farm accidents continues to decline, but a new report also says “there is no more dangerous occupation” than farming. The average number of fatalities fell from 116 annually from 1990 to 2001 to 84 in the latest 10-year reporting period (2003 to 2012), according to Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting […] Read more