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In an enclosed handling facility at Nature Energy Månsson, a biogas plant in Brande, Denmark, a massive claw hoisted a mixture of manure and straw. The facility works co-operatively with 50 livestock farmers who supply manure for off-gassing. This carefully contained, excremental mess stands in sharp contrast to the plant’s gleaming exterior.

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Many farmers celebrate the end of a long growing season with a well-earned sunny getaway. For very different reasons, Canadian cereal breeders also frequently head south, or at least ship their breeding material to foreign locales. The work carried out in international destinations allows them to develop new high-quality crop varieties in a timely manner.

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There is growing interest among farmers on the use of biostimulants to boost crop yield and quality. But with curiosity comes skepticism, as limited data on their effectiveness is available. To dispel some of the mystery around these potentially powerful tools, we spoke with companies now developing biostimulants, researchers who aim to quantify their efficacy and farmers who have adopted them in crop management systems.

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, 2022, resulting in thousands killed or injured, millions displaced and the destruction of urban and rural areas alike. This catastrophic escalation of the almost-nine-year Russo-Ukraine War has also devastated Ukrainian agriculture. It’s a brutal hit that will have long-lasting and far-reaching consequences within the country and across the globe.

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What goes up must come down, unless it continues to go up. That about sums up the tale of fertilizer over the last two years. After all, it was only two years ago in Western Canada that urea sold at $400 per tonne.

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The Port of Prince Rupert is a remote but critical link in the Canadian crop export chain. Located in Prince Rupert Harbour just south of the Alaska Panhandle on British Columbia’s rugged Pacific coastline, its facilities are strung along a 20-kilometre stretch of Kaien Island, adjacent to the Prince Rupert townsite.

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On a drive from Brooks to Lethbridge in mid-May, retired provincial agronomy researcher Ross McKenzie was literally stopped in his tracks by dust clouds. Carried by high winds across drought-stricken fields, the dirt was so thick it obscured the road ahead. Disappointed, he snapped a few photos and posted them on Twitter with a desperate plea for rain. McKenzie isn’t alone in his observations. Across the province, but especially in southern Alberta, farmers have noticed the return of this agricultural scourge once thought resolved.

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Carbon credits, competition with China and AgriStability may have been the hot topics at a roundtable discussion between Peace Country farmers and Chrystia Freeland back in January 2020, but it was the childcare concerns raised by Fairview area agronomist Josefine Bartlett that seemed to leave the biggest impression on the deputy prime minister.

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