In recent years, cover crops have been widely promoted as a regenerative practice that offers a range of benefits, both environmental and economical. Many western Canadian farmers are skeptical, though, citing short growing seasons, limited moisture and added costs as reasons they haven’t adopted the practice. Yet, policymakers and agri-businesses continue to push cover crops as a fundamental component of regenerative agriculture and overall farm sustainability. But is the adoption of cover crops a logical move for Prairie farmers?
Farmer Keith Woynorowski built the Hammer Malt facility and the entire malting system from scratch. He processes the farm’s own malting barley within silver, cylindrical dairy tanks repurposed as combination kilns and germination vessels. The malt is transported from one stage of processing to the next through pneumatic tubes and the entire system is computer automated. Far from being cobbled-together in appearance, the rig looks something like a homey space station.
Last November, the province of Alberta, in partnership with the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and 10 irrigation districts, announced an investment of $117.7 million to modernize the province’s irrigation infrastructure. The contribution builds on a previous $815-million advance, which brings total investment to nearly $933 million. The funding will be used to modernize irrigation infrastructure and to increase water storage capacity through a series of projects in southern Alberta. It will also create jobs and spur the province’s economic recovery.
The two-year anniversary of COVID-19 is upon us and many aspects of life are still out of sorts. One step forward often results in one, or two, steps backwards, depending on what aspect of life is being evaluated. Farming, though, has always been a touch more socially distanced and isolated than the rest of society, but it’s not immune from the pandemic and its many ripple effects, primarily through the interruption of supply chain logistics.
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.