Dry atmospheric air contains about 20% oxygen and over 78% nitrogen. Nitrogen, in its molecular, gaseous form (N2(g)) is very stable, and does not react easily with other compounds. In order to be used, then, the coupled nitrogen atoms must first be split. Consider it similar to asking a new couple for help with harvest…. Read More

Wild oat control is, like it or not, an increasingly costly issue in Western Canada. Not only is herbicide expensive (costing growers over $500 million annually), we are also seeing an increase in resistant wild oat populations. There are several fields with confirmed resistance to both Group 1 and Group 2 products. Farmers do and… Read More

With concerns around climate change, the availability of non-renewable resources, and increasing the sustainability of industries as a whole, it is not surprising that organizations like the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) are looking at ways to harness energy that is otherwise wasted. I recently spoke to Joy Agnew, project manager at PAMI, about their… Read More

Purebred cattle breeders have relied on artificial insemination (AI) and estrus synchronization as a part of herd management for decades. That got me thinking — what’s stopping commercial breeders from doing the same? Time? Money? Aren’t these reasons we should be considering AI? In June, Travis Peardon, regional livestock specialist with the Saskatchewan Ministry of… Read More

So, it seems we don’t just have an issue eating our horses, but also our hens. A recent article by Sarah Boesveld of the National Post, brought my attention back to a rather interesting consideration:  “the urban chicken movement.” You’ve heard of it, yes? The desire many urbanites have, to produce their own food? Well,… Read More

Concerns of habitat loss, wildlife diversity, climate change and clean air and water are growing. Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) — originally a pilot project out of Manitoba — is a means of addressing these concerns through a program where private landowners are paid to maintain and improve the ecological goods and services on their… Read More

So, we now know the benefits of multi-species grazing, and how to choose a guardian dog for predation control, but how do we keep the little critters from escaping? At the Multi-Species Grazing Workshop hosted by Sexton Grazing and Consulting in Hanley, SK, we spoke to Jason Williams, Western Canada sales agent with Tru-Test.  In this video,… Read More

This spring I listened in on the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture’s Alfalfa Weevil Webinar.  I assume I’m not the only farmer out there who had little knowledge of the alfalfa weevil before the webinar, let alone any idea of how much of a problem it is becoming. Let’s just say that if you have yet… Read More

Purebred cattle operations rely largely on DNA for parentage verification and identifying potential genetic defects, but where is the rest of the industry at with genomics? Is there a role for genome mapping in commercial herds? How will it help the industry as a whole? “There’s genomic tools for every sector of the value chain… Read More

A few weeks ago, I visited Mike Dugan, meat lipid scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, to ask about feeding flax seed to pigs to increase omega-3s in pork, and thus diversify the consumer base.  But, one may ask, where’s the beef? Well, a current study at the Lacombe Research Centre in Alberta is looking at feeding… Read More

On Friday, I was offered horse meat. You no doubt remember the scandal that erupted in Europe earlier this year involving mislabeled meatballs which were distributed through supermarkets and even Ikea across 13 countries. The processed meat and meatballs labelled as pork and beef were found to contain traces of horse meat, which outraged consumers… Read More

Ah, branding … set to coincide perfectly with the start of the wedding season. As if the blindingly white legs of a farmer in a skirt aren’t nearly distracting enough, they must also be embellished with bruises. We held our branding on the last weekend of May, and I’m still thinking about pain mitigation for… Read More