Prairies Featured Articles

Better Farming publishes nine editions of its Prairies magazine each year. After publishing each edition, we share a feature article online. Each Better Farming Prairies magazine includes much more content – you won’t want to miss it. If you don’t receive the print edition of Better Farming Prairies, but you enjoy reading the articles below, be sure to subscribe to the magazine!

Building Improved Food Security

USask to begin research into new strategies for crop protection.

by Colleen Halpenny

“As markets continue to be volatile, and with ever-changing growing conditions – and consumers looking to have a stable food supply – we must find new ways to bolster plants to thrive.

“What can have the largest potential positive impact?”

This is what Dr. Karen Tanino says that she and colleague, Dr. Tawhidur Rahman, hope to find out through new funding for their research on crop protection.

Most Unwanted List: Pests

The Top 5 undesirable insects that are coming for your crops this year.

by Becky Dumais

Every year producers deal with pests creeping onto the farm – those unwanted guests that infiltrate the field, eat their way through crops and hamper yields and productivity.

Five invertebrate pests we are expecting to invade Prairie fields this season are: grasshoppers, flea beetles, lygus bugs, cutworm, and wheat stem sawfly.

With this list of potential suspects in mind, how can producers prepare for these crop-crippling creatures?

An Update on fertilizer

What's causing the high prices and how can producers manage it?

by Kristen Lutz

“We are going into a new season, let’s stay positive,” says Ian Boxall, president and director of District 4 with Agriculture Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS).

After the extreme drought of last year’s growing season, western Canadian producers are ready for a fresh start. However, they are already faced with their first challenge before the snow has melted: high fertilizer prices.

Defining Soil Health in 2022

What's the right recipe farmers need to create optimal soil?

by Kristen Lutz

Soil health is a complex subject muddied down by finding the right mix of elements that contribute to optimal conditions.

Whether it’s soil structure, organic matter, or good microbial content, what exactly contributes to happy, healthy soil? Has the definition and goal changed in the last few years?

The answer is often dependent on what the producer is looking to get out of their land.

Pre-Season Tips to Ensure Seeding Success

Plan for 2022 according to market volatility, logistics, inputs and supply chain constraints.

By Colleen Halpenny

As Prairie producers gear up for a strong 2022 growing season, optimum seeding is key to getting off to a solid start.

From proper equipment maintenance and ensuring soil health, to weed control and seed selection, we’ve compiled a handful of early-season ideas to ensure success and boost yields.

Prepare your equipment

Before you even head to the field, is your drill up to the task?

High Speed Internet: Down Low on the Farm

Too many producers are without reliable service, putting them at a disadvantage.

By Becky Dumais

Farms are important businesses that run serious equipment, yet their rural location puts them at a disadvantage for securing a reliable, high-speed internet connection. What good are those technology-enabled systems if you can’t even get online? Simply having internet access is no longer enough; being restricted by a limited choice of providers or burdened with costly overages is also unacceptable.

Labour Pains

Where does Canada’s farm labour shortage stand? Are there solutions coming?

By Colleen Halpenny

As Canadian farms continue to feel the pinch of a shrinking labour force, our industry actively searches for solutions.

“Producers across the country are facing tough realities,” says Gary Stordy, director of government and corporate affairs for the Canadian Pork Council. “The supply chain has been hit at all levels.”

Closing a processing plant because it can’t retain enough staff has far-reaching effects, for example.

Breakthrough tech: What’s next?

Four innovative technologies that can improve the future of agriculture.

By Kristen Lutz

“Without innovation, we would probably still be using ox and plows – and even that was an innovation,” says Adrian Rivard, president and operations manager of Drone Spray Canada.

For years, new farming technologies have focused on improving yield, enhancing profitability, solving labour shortages and reducing environmental impact. Technological advancements are constantly being introduced and producers work hard to stay on the cusp of technology to tackle these challenges.

Policing Farm Crime

By Becky Dumais

Prairie producers are routinely at the mercy of the elements; drought and disease prevail at will. They’re also not immune to being victims of crime. The headlines that frequent the news – and the variances in types of incidents – illustrate that thieves are not discerning, just desperate.

Breaking and entering, hay theft, stolen tractors, animals – even maple syrup and lobster … theft reaches producers from agriculture to aquaculture. It’s garnered enough attention to warrant a TV series on CBC.

Herbicide Carryover Across the Prairies

What to expect and what you can do with the added challenges of herbicide residue during 2022’s seeding season.

By Kristen Lutz

With the drought, extreme heat and residual impacts of the pandemic, what else will producers encounter? Unfortunately, the challenges for growers may not be over just yet. The adverse weather conditions a large region of Western Canada experienced are a recipe for herbicide carryover, adding another challenge to this year’s growing season.