Latest articles


Corn slowly winning converts in Alberta

New shorter-season varieties are ‘night and day’ when 
compared to what was available a decade ago

Corn has come a long way in Alberta since Tony Schmidt started growing it in the early 2000s. “Early on, our corn would barely get a cob on it because it was such long-season corn we were trying to grow here, and now we’ve got it to where we can combine physically matured corn,” said […] Read more


Corn heat units critical to corn crop success

The measure isn’t standard between companies, and picking a variety suited to your area is key

Corn heat units cause “a lot of confusion” among new growers of the crop — and rightfully so. “There is no industry standard for corn maturity. We all put heat unit ratings on our corn, and we put relative maturity on our corn, but they’re not standard for each company,” said Nicole Rasmussen, DuPont Pioneer […] Read more



Lethbridge County ‘head tax’ ruled legal

Feeders challenged the $3-per-head business tax on feedlots as unfair, but a judge said the municipal act allows it

Lethbridge County’s controversial ‘head tax’ will be staying put after a judge ruled the tax is legal. “We’re happy that the judge upheld the business tax,” said Lethbridge County Reeve Lorne Hickey. “He felt that under the Municipal Government Act, we were fully capable of putting that tax in place.” The $3-per-head business tax — […] Read more


Special crop boom sparks expansion for farmer-controlled company

Alberta’s Providence Grain is doubling the capacity of its container facility at the Port of Vancouver

A big jump in special crop acres in Western Canada has grain shippers looking to the future — and for Columbia Containers, that future looks bigger, better, and more high tech. “We’re replacing our existing facility on the same Port of Vancouver property and turning it into a state-of-the-art transload facility,” said Columbia Containers general […] Read more



Half of nitrogen from feedlots is lost to ammonia emission

Mitigating emissions from feedlots isn’t easy, but there are ‘simple’ steps 
to reduce nitrogen losses and save money


Feedlots have come a long way in reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. But a new federal research study has found that nitrogen losses in feedlots are still significant — and can significantly affect the bottom line. “We’re losing about 50 per cent of the nitrogen to ammonia loss in a feedlot, and […] Read more


Alberta Beef Producers applauds return of non-refundable checkoff option

The Alberta government will allow commodity commissions to hold a plebiscite on whether checkoffs should be refundable or not

The return of a non-refundable checkoff is welcome news for Alberta Beef Producers, which loses nearly one-quarter of its annual service fees to refunds. “We’ve always believed that decisions about funding a commission should be made by producers,” said executive director Rich Smith. “What (the provincial government’s) announcement does is really allow producers to make […] Read more



Vertical farming grows up and comes of age

Growing food without sunlight or soil is now a reality, but the economics leave little room for error

Olds-area greenhouse operator Wayne Lohr and business partner Ulf Geerds are dreaming big — they want to grow an acre of strawberries. That may not sound like a big deal until you consider that acre will take up just 360 square feet and produce strawberries year round. And even though they’re grown in racks on […] Read more


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