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!

The Value of Off-Farm Income

Finding balance in the farm family budget

By Colleen Halpenny

Whether you call it moonlighting, a side gig, or bonafide employment, many producers are known for more than their farm. They take on extra work to make ends meet, working off-farm while the farming operations are run by other family members.

Regardless of lifestyle or job sector, feeling the pinch of increasing living costs, how are farmers making ends meet? We spoke with those in the industry to find out why, and how, they are turning to outside income to support their needs.

Is the Family Still on the Farm?

The number of farms has decreased only slightly across Canada

By Becky Dumais

Farms come in all sizes and varieties, but are family-owned and operated farms disappearing?

Producers have mixed opinions on the subject. Reasons for believing that family farms are threatened or declining include barriers to accessing land, finances – or not having a succession plan.

Boosting your Biosecurity Game

How Producers Across Livestock Sectors are Keeping their Operations Healthy

By Colleen Halpenny

As outlined by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), biosecurity is a description for a set of measures designed to protect Canada’s animal and plant resources – whether these be from foreign or established infectious and parasitic disease agents at the national, regional and farm levels.

Wheat Comes at a Cost

While wheat prices may be higher, Prairie producers have other concerns this growing season.

by Becky Dumais

Wheat prices are reportedly their highest in 14 years, and they could get higher – but other issues are keeping producers up at night: input costs, the impending carbon tax, and last year’s drought.

Precision Planning for 2022’s canola crop

Experts discuss innovative techniques for a successful yield.

by Kristen Lutz

Coming out of the drought of 2021, western Canadian producers are very aware of the effects Mother Nature can and will have on their yields, especially in sensitive crops like canola.

The 2022 growing season offers new opportunities to producers with high commodity prices, and in many areas, increased soil moisture from snowmelt.

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?