Research has long established the benefits of diversified crop rotations. However, most Prairie farms keep their rotations short and simple, typically growing cereals and oilseeds on an intensive basis. Many farmers agree they need to diversify their rotations, but it’s tricky to find one that consistently delivers better returns than what they already grow.
All Canadians feel the impact of rising costs at the grocery store and gas pump, but rising input costs and operational expenses are exacting a heavy toll on farmers and even driving younger farmers out of the sector. This is why Bill C-234 is crucial. The Bill is now before the Senate with second reading complete. If passed, it will extend the existing farm fuel exemption to the federal carbon tax to include natural gas and propane.
The global beer industry has faced significant headwinds the past few years. The pandemic, followed by the escalation of input costs, supply chain difficulties and shifts in consumer preference hit hard, but not all is doom and gloom. China’s brewing industry is quite profitable and markets such as Brazil, Colombia and Mexico continue to thrive and grow. In 2022, global beer production rose in 2022 to 1.89 million hectolitres (mln hL) from 1.87 in 2021, an increase of 1.33 per cent, or a little more than the beer output of Canada.
This past growing season, the Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) research team installed LI-COR chambers on one of the institution’s Smart Farm fields to monitor soil emissions of potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). Advanced technology that produces high volume results quickly, the solar powered system consists of several automated gas chambers connected by tubing to two solar powered trace gas analyzers housed in a small shed.
Western Canadian food journalists Dan Clapson and Twyla Campbell are co-authors of Prairie: Seasonal, Farm-Fresh Recipes Celebrating the Canadian Prairies. A cross-section of Prairie cooking past and present, its pages are garnished with beautiful food photography. Clapson and Campbell hope their playful, tasty takes on standards such as perogies, borscht and lentil salad may influence the region’s mealtime future.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recently approved gene editing for use in breeding new crop varieties. Plant breeders will now be able to apply the technology to their work. Gene editing has the potential to quickly develop new varieties with greater accuracy in targeting traits such as drought and disease resistance. The agronomic and trade implications are promising for farmers.
Hedgerows, hillsides too steep for tractors to climb and even grassy margins along fencelines serve as havens for beneficial insects and birds that play a pivotal role in pest control. Since the dust bowl days of the 1930s, shelterbelts composed of trees and mixed vegetation have mitigated soil erosion by wind and water. More recently, research has been carried out to assess the additional benefits such uncropped land may provide.