Archive for the ‘agronomy’ Category

Premium Ag Wins Business of the Year

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 by marissa.gardin — Filed under agronomy, Behind the scenes

Premium Ag’s two founders, Matt Gosling and Andrew Clements were honored to receive the Agri-Trend ‘Buisness of the Year’ award in Saskatoon earlier this month.

The ‘Buisness of the Year’ award is the evolution of the earlier ‘Agri-Coach of the Year’ Which Premium Ag had won 5 years in a row, up to last year. This year is the second time Premium Ag received ‘Business of the Year’. Premium Ag has won a yearly award for recognition of excellence from its peers for 7 years straight.

“We would like to thank all of our amazing clients. We feel so privileged to work with all of the agronomy clients we have. Its because of them we won this award” Matt Gosling said when asked about the recent recognition.

Matt Gosling’s Bug article in the news.

Sunday, July 21st, 2013 by marissa.gardin — Filed under agronomy, Behind the scenes

Matts most recent blog post was featured in the local paper.

You can find the entire article HERE.

Matt Gosling's most recent blog post gets featured in the local paper.

Matt Gosling’s most recent blog post gets featured in the local paper.

Bugs!!! How to act reasonably in bug season.

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 by marissa.gardin — Filed under agronomy


July 13th, 2013


BUGS!!!  Nothing gets a producer more excited than something physically moving in their crop potentially doing damage.  The last few weeks airplanes and ground sprayers have been out in force protecting our food source in these good plant growing conditions, mostly from disease.  However, more often than not, I hear of producers just “throwing in” insecticide.  Ideally, this would be a highly informed decision from someone that has inspected their field. Not because they heard their neighbors were spraying or that a report came out with a hot-spot 60miles away.  There definitely comes a point where crops have to be sprayed for insects but there’s a long list of criteria that should be walked through first. That list is always changing and is much different than it was 10 years ago, or even last season.


As farming practices progress with better technologies and ultimately higher yields, crops are able to withstand more stress.  Examples of this are new insecticides that only target specific insects, or improved genetically engineered crop varieties which are able to resist more damage.  It’s been proven beneficial to have moderate numbers of harmful insects in canola, alongside all the beneficial insects, as the plants kick themselves into a higher compensatory gear to recover from minor damage, therefor improving yield.  These levels are not far off from what used to be the economic thresholds to spray.


One of the most important questions to ask yourself is what level of production do you consider yourself?  Are you a trail blazer that considers replacement nutrition and regularly casts a shadow on your crop?  Or, do you still do what Grandpa did, looks at your crops once in a while from the truck on the way to town, and considers everything a cost rather than a potential investment?  If you’re happy with 25-30 bushel canola, then your insect threshold will be lower than a producer that is not happy unless 50-60+bu is falling in the hopper.


There’s no exact math saying that twice the crop potential means twice the threshold, but one excuse I’ll never ethically recommend to producers or to the environment, is to spray because “Canola is worth $12/bu”, or “it’s not that much money”.


Here’s a few tips to determine whether or not a particular field should be sprayed.

  • YOU!!! Buy a $100 sweep net (big butterfly catcher).  They’re much cheaper than a $300,000 combine
  • Sweep in a part of the field that is healthy and competitive, NOT along the edge of the field or in a slew
  • Sweep regularly!  We look at our fields twice a week this time of year
  • Bugs are like fair-weather golfers – they mostly like 10-25C, not much wind, and they hate rain.  Insects need heat to complete their life cycle.  A heavy rain will devastate young lygus bugs.
  • Know the life cycle of the damaging insects.  Cabbage Seed Pod Weevils need Seed Pods to do damage – go figure!

Matt Gosling, Premium Ag, Canola, Bug sweeping, agrologist

One of my life missions is to educate farmers and consumers alike on local and global agriculture issues.  Follow me on Twitter to learn more.




Premium Ag Update

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 by marissa.gardin — Filed under agronomy

Yes, it’s been a long time since the last post, but holy cow!  I’ve never seen such a condensed seeding season in my few years of being an agronomist.  With that also follows a condensed spray season, so to say the least, things are happening at a very quick pace this season.  For the most part crops look pretty good, and in good growing conditions comes disease.  Where ever poor rotation is practiced, especially cereal crop on cereal crop, a lot of leaf disease is starting to develop.  There often tends to be a lot of debate on whether or not to include fungicide in with herbicide chemistry.  I haven’t done field scale statistically significant trials on using this in canola this time of year, but more often than not a half rate of cereal fungicide manages to hold off disease long enough for the plants to get through herbicide metabolism… one more stress.

I am awfully suspicious that in areas with little precipitation post July 15th 2012 and below average snowfall, that wheat is showing symptoms of Group 2 herbicide damage from pea product used last year.  What makes me so convinced of this is that on more than 1 occasion I’ve got fields that we’ve made efficiencies out of that were seeded into all wheat on canola and pea stubble.  There’s a visible line exactly where the stubble changes and more often than not, wheat on peas is magic… except this year.  Typically I’d count on 10-15% production increase on peas in this scenario with everything being equal, and so far it might be the other way around.

There is much more foliar nutrition going down this year than I’ve ever seen.  We’ve had some hick-ups so far but for the most part compatibility has been good.  Pre and post tissue tests and check strips are being left in most fields to give us a much better conclusion that splitting a field with no analytical information to support plant reaction.

(was written on June 11 2013, delayed posting)

Glyphosate Management – Part 3 of 3

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 by marissa.gardin — Filed under agronomy

Read the following for the conclusion to Matt Goslings 3 part series he wrote after a trip to Monsanto HQ in Winnipeg.


The investment towards developing crops with certain genes is HUGE!  $100Million a year are spent in Western Canada on canola germ plasm alone!  Sadly, cereal grain budgets are leaps and bounds less. I predict that amount will be microscopic after hearing about the new technology in RNA interference (RNAi) and the BioDirect system from Monsanto. There’s plenty of cool information on the web on this as it’s too complicated for me to explain in a few words. But, in one sentence, this product will be able to shut off the glyphosate resistant gene in certain weeds, making them susceptible to the herbicide again.  This technology extends into potential cures for a lot of human ailments as well, which I’m sure will be of great controversy… or not.

Good, sound agronomy will always play an important role in sustainable agriculture, and it will be a combined effort from everyone involved.  Overall, I was very impressed with the professionalism, diligence, and proactive attitude that Monsanto exhibited during our time with them, and I extend a similar voice for most of the agriculture companies that we’ve had exposure to.  At the end of the day, we’re all helping grow more food on a given area in one of the most honest and honorable services humankind can practice.



In other news, Premium Ag has been gearing up for spring! Seed Treating is about to begin, Soil Sampling and Spreading are going hard and we just celebrated Ethans birthday with an ice cream cake! 

Enjoy these last calm minutes before seeding starts, everyone!

Glyphosate Management – Part 2 of 3

Thursday, April 4th, 2013 by marissa.gardin — Filed under agronomy

The following is the second part of a three part series Matt wrote after a visit to Monsanto Canada Headquarters


Genetic advancement is one of the big ways our globe will be able to feed our growing population among other efforts.  Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) take a lot of heat in the public eye.  Did you know that insulin is a GMO that’s helped millions of diabetics?  Ask one of them what they think of GMO’s.  The Agriculture Industry and farmers need to stand up to public pressure and show consumers how we grow our food.  Yes, there are bad farmers in every area that give us a black eye, but that’s something every industry puts up with.  Organic food production has been estimated to sustain a global population of 2 Billion people which was surpassed in the 1930’s, in and around when synthetic fertilizer production was was being heavily commercialized.  I’m sure with concentrated practices, organic production globally could feed more than 2B people, but I’m also confident that it wouldn’t feed our globe today, let alone in 2050 when 9-10B people are estimated.

Part of that genetic advancement included developing lower heat unit soybeans and corn will eventually lead to the potential of corn grain & bean production on more and more acres in the Prairies.  My immediate reaction to this was “HOLD ON A MINUTE!!!”  We’ve seen this scenario in the USA which takes the lead in glyphosate resistance issues and this is not a pretty picture.  Monsanto is well aware of this and will promote good agronomic practices that include good crop & chemical rotation.  The other genetic stack mentioned that up to three companies are trying to develop is combined Liberty and Round Up genes.  This last part created quite a stir on Twitter when I mentioned it.  Being that I was in the Head Quarters, I asked.  Glyphosate is a cheap commodity with very low margins, so selling this highly effective commodity is not primary, but preserving its use is, and having the option of Liberty, is just an option.  Growers will always be able to ‘vote’ with their wallets on what they grow and those genetics will be another option on the shelves for specific situations.


Stay tuned for the final part!

Glyphosate Management – Part 1 of 3

Sunday, March 31st, 2013 by marissa.gardin — Filed under agronomy

Last week Matt Gosling went to Monsanto Canada headquarters in Winnipeg, The following 3 part series is a summation of glyphosate management in the prairies. 


Last week 13 agronomists, including myself, took in 2 days in Winnipeg with Monsanto to learn more about their company and their products.  I can’t remember ever knowing a day where Monsanto wasn’t put in some sort of ‘bad-guy’ spot-light from collecting TUA’s 14 years ago as a summer crop-scout, and even today with glyphosate resistance being common conversation in our Alberta backyards.  Historically, glyphosate has been one of the more significant tools producers have had for weed control and harvest management.  Easy to use, cheaper over time, and it worked.  Heck, even cowboys started growing canola up here & no offense, I was one of them!

With the ease of growing Round-Up Ready crops fueled by hot commodity prices and cheap glyphosate, resistance has shown up in kochia the last 2 years in Alberta.  The good news is, that of the almost 30 sites in Alberta and SW Saskatchewan, most, if not all were all on chem-fallow.  As Ieuan Evans told me once, “80-90% of weed control is based on competitive crops”.  Fallow acres in the province are shrinking with these grain prices and moisture conditions, so this is a good step.  Some quick facts about weed resistance – 98-99% of the Wild Oats are controlled by Group 1&2 products… 96% on pulses; 17 genus and 24 species world wide are glyphosate resistance; there’s 58 weeds resistant to herbicide in Canada as of 2012; 40-60% of Wild Oats are Group 1 resistant; and 85-95% of Kochia has some sort of Group 2 resistance. Part of those last facts I gathered from BASF during their grower meeting in Strathmore.


Stay posted for parts 2 and 3.

Matt Gosling talks top dressing nitrogen

Monday, March 25th, 2013 by marissa.gardin — Filed under agronomy

To cold and wet outside to do any farming? Educate yourself and plan for spring!

Premium Ag partner, Matt Gosling, was interviewed last summer for ‘Wheat School.’  Below is the resulting video.

The YouTube Video can be viewed HERE.

Best Regards from the Premium Ag Team.

Premium Ag Spring Meeting in the News

Friday, March 22nd, 2013 by marissa.gardin — Filed under agronomy, Behind the scenes, Community Events
Strathmore Standard Article, March 21 2013. Feautres Premium Ag's annual client spring meeting and highlights our keynote speaker, Jerry Stoller.

Strathmore Standard Article, March 21 2013. Feautres Premium Ag’s annual client spring meeting and highlights our keynote speaker, Jerry Stoller.

The current edition of the Strathmore Standard features a whole page article about Premium Ag’s Spring Meeting.

The article focus’s on our keynote speaker, Jerry Stoller, explaining how enlightening his presentation was. Stoller spent most of his speach presenting analogies between plants and members of a family.

The entire article can be found HERE

Matthew Gosling, Partner of Premium Ag, was the one who brought Jerry up from Texas to speak at the annual client meeting.

Matt’s Video

Friday, April 23rd, 2010 by admin — Filed under agronomy, Behind the scenes

Matt's Video