In Western Canada, the threat of herbicide resistance has grown like a weed in recent years. Behind the United States and Australia, Canada has the third greatest number of unique herbicide-resistant weed biotypes. The number of weed species in this country that have developed resistance has grown steadily since the 1970s and stands at about 80. No new meaningful modes of action have been introduced since the 1980s, and the selection pressure that produces resistance is expected to continue.
With the help of a $10.8 million grant from the federal government’s Digital Technology Supercluster, a consortium of Canadian companies and one university intends to create the world’s first interactive planning software for both autonomous and precision agriculture applications. The intent is to design a program that tracks and displays vital agronomic and geographic information in a single easy-access platform. Dubbed the Standard Data Platform for Autonomous Agriculture (SDPAA), its builders include Lethbridge-based Verge Ag, Terramera, QuantoTech Solutions, i-Open Technologies and Simon Fraser University.
In February, the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) approved ABO Wind Canada’s Buffalo Plains Wind Farm proposal, an 83-turbine project scheduled to begin spinning in farm fields near Lomond in the winter of 2023. The Buffalo Plains project is just one of a surging tide of renewable energy investments proposed for southern Alberta that carries clear benefits as well as potential risks for area farmers.
Despite above-average wages and rewarding work environments, the trades sector has long suffered the undeserved reputation as a last chance career choice. This inaccurate perception has hindered intake within the uniquely niche designation of agricultural mechanic. As a result, the ag sector is reckoning with scarcity of these skilled workers.
Two recently published reports conclude no single investment delivers greater ROI than varietal development. Both were authored by Richard Gray, University of Saskatchewan professor and Canadian Grain Policy Research chair. The barley report was published in July 2021, the wheat report in March of this year.
Like his hero Henry Ford, Vermilion-area farmer, entrepreneur and self-taught mechanical engineer Danny Farkash aspires to reinvent existing machines and make them better. This past spring, GrainsWest visited the sprawling farmyard where he operates the thriving ironworks division of Noralta Farms and works on numerous side projects such as a portable sawmill operation and biodiesel factory.
Prairie winter wheat acres have declined for years, but interest in the versatile crop has been revived. Its renewed appeal coincides with a changing of the guard in wheat breeding circles. Picking up where their predecessors left off, breeders Harwinder Sidhu and Curt McCartney aim to give farmers strong new varieties.