Latest articles


Worth a look: Annual production estimates a valuable resource

It can help you calculate your own risk and rewards, but only if you use it

At first glance, the annual Guidelines for Estimating Crop Production Costs released every January looks like good bedtime reading for insomniacs. But sort through the numbers and analysis, and the story that emerges is full of mystery and intrigue. These production estimates are designed to give farmers a reference for determining which crops make the […] Read more


Food policy recommendations reflect diverse interests

The report to Parliament will either cement the solitudes or set the stage for finding common ground

The 21 recommendations toward developing this country’s first national food policy delivered to Parliament recently establish one thing fairly succinctly. It’s complicated. However, from the first recommendation (making adequate nutrition as a basic human right) to the last (calling for a national food policy advisory body with a wildly diverse range of stakeholders), the committee’s […] Read more



Selling environmental benefits

New data management tools could help position Canadian agriculture 
as a sustainable supplier in the global marketplace

As momentum behind the tools and concepts of precision agriculture continues to grow, one of the most exciting — but least talked about — opportunities is their ability to improve farming’s environmental footprint. That’s a shame, because that’s one attribute of this latest revolution in agriculture that is most likely to resonate with an increasingly […] Read more


Explosion of innovation coming to the farm

The chief technology officer for Monsanto Co. says the interface between data and biology will be a powerful tool

There is an explosion of innovation coming to the farm as a new age of sensors and satellite imagery intersects with the world’s oldest industry, the executive vice-president and chief technology office for Monsanto Co. says. Robb Fraley, who was in Calgary recently to address the GrowCanada Conference, said in an interview that although agriculture […] Read more



Consumers are demanding companies prove their sustainability commitment

The rapidly changing retail food sector wants to know what you do on your farm

The $118-billion retail food sector in Canada is becoming increasingly fragmented but it still shares one thing in common: a commitment to trust and transparency, a retail food expert told delegates at the recent GrowCanada conference. That has repercussions that trace through the value chain all the way to the farm, John F.T. Scott said. […] Read more


Making bread — and maybe history too

The first loaves of bread made from Kernza have been gobbled up in Manitoba

You won’t be buying Kernza bread in a Manitoba bakery or grocery store any time soon, but a small group of proponents see it as a sign of things to come. Guests at a small reception at the Tall Grass Prairie Bakery in downtown Winnipeg Nov. 23 were treated to loaves of freshly baked sourdough […] Read more



Editorial: Food solitudes

World Food Day on Oct. 16 shed light on some confusing twists around global food security. The annual UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) event dating back to 1945 now falls five days after another big day — World Obesity Day, established by the World Obesity Foundation in 2015 to highlight the growing epidemic expected […] Read more


soil

Farmers’ focus must shift from yields to soil health

But looking after the land doesn’t have to result in a ‘yield penalty’

A funny thing happens whenever talk turns to how to make farming more sustainable. As various options for improving how agriculture treats the natural environment are discussed, someone inevitably brings up the “yield penalty” farmers and society would pay. That penalty is seen as the gap between conventional methods using tillage and high rates of […] Read more



Degraded soils cost farmers billions annually

Yet soil care remains a low priority for policy-makers as well as farmers

Farmers have reduced the amount of soil they lose through annual cropping practices, but they continue to carry a costly legacy of degraded soils, a University of Manitoba soil scientist says. David Lobb used crop production data and computer models to estimate how much lost productivity has occurred over the past four decades due to […] Read more


Editorial: Preparing for an uncertain future

It’s a hot, dry summer on the Prairies, so much so that farmers farther west have started to harvest their cereal crops for livestock feed. A heat wave nicknamed “Lucifer” is scorching much of Europe this summer and climate change experts are suggesting these are a greater threat to human life in the short term […] Read more