GFM Network News


“Soil is life,” says producer Blain Hjertaas. “Our job as farmers is to be stewards of that, and improve it as we use it.”

The building block of soil

Soil scientists are putting more focus on the value of organic matter for feeding important microbes and boosting moisture-managing capacity

Without it, soil is just dirt. There’s a new recognition of the importance of soil organic matter, and not only for improving crop yields. It’s also a tool in the effort to mitigate climate change. Blain Hjertaas, a holistic management farmer and grazier at Redvers, Sask., participates in the Soil Carbon Challenge, an international “competition” […] Read more

The ‘succession effect’

Setting transition as a goal for your farm can spur growth and profitability, until about three-quarters of the way through

All farmers, no matter where they farm in the world, share certain characteristics. They are all born worriers, and they all have lots to worry about — weather, crop prices, markets. And on top of the day-to-day production issues, and the management challenges involved in running today’s complex farm operations, farmers also have a lot […] Read more


Get over it

When succession talks start, it doesn’t take long for Dad to think everyone just wants to cut him down to size

It’s impossible to think about the transition of any business — and perhaps more so the family farm — without talking about the governance structure that is going to allow that farm business to operate, thrive and be sustainable for generations to follow. It’s easy to find. Just look for the fireworks. “The flashpoints usually […] Read more

The Badiou family is well into the process of transitioning the family farm to the next generation.

Impressing Mom and Dad

There’s more reason than ever for farm kids to prove to Mom and Dad that they’ve got what it takes to be trusted with the farm. Question is: do the kids realize it?

Transitioning the family farm to the next generation is never easy. But how much harder when the parents have their doubts whether their next generation has the skills or the personality to manage the operation? On more and more farms, the wise thing would be for the kids to set out to prove to Mom […] Read more


Research is showing a new trend among farm retirees is finding something rewarding to do, which may involve doing something they’ve delayed due to career or family responsibilities.

‘Redirection’

Is it better to keep farming into your 70s, or to retire off the farm in your early 60s? New research suggests that what you may really need is a rewarding change of direction

It’s easy to see the two pincers coming together, at least when you look at farming from a national perspective. The average Canadian farmer is 55, on the one hand, and the average Canadian retires at 62 on the other. But let’s put a best-case face on it. For self-employment Canadians — the category that […] Read more

Rotary hoe and inter-row cultivation reduced weed biomass by 75 to 85 per cent in field pea and lentil, as seen in this photo of lentils after inter-row cultivation. When seeding rate was boosted, weed biomass in lentils was reduced an extra 16 per cent.

If you can’t beat ’em, clip ’em

New methods of mechanical weed control show promise, but don’t expect a yield increase the first year

With the high and growing percentage of Prairie cropland infested with herbicide-resistant weeds, researchers are turning their attention back to mechanical control, but that doesn’t necessarily mean tillage. The Alberta Wheat Commission and Saskatchewan Pulse Growers are partnering on a three-year research project at the University of Saskatchewan which is evaluating in-crop weed clipping as […] Read more


Pea leaf weevil has been spreading in Saskatchewan and Alberta in recent years. Seed treatment rather than foliar sprays is recommended for control.

Prairie insect outlook for 2018

Provincial websites offer a wealth of identification and monitoring information which is continually updated through the season

With snow still on the ground as this article is written, it’s difficult to predict how conditions may change over the next few weeks as farmers approach seeding. That said, lower-than-average precipitation across the Prairies over the winter indicates it will take some excessive spring moisture to significantly change the dry conditions that seem likely […] Read more

It can be challenging to explain to some men, and even some women, why diversity on a board is important,” says new canola director Pam Bailey.

A woman’s place at the board table

In different parts of the country, Amanda Jeffs and Pam Bailey are rising to the same challenge, curbing the dominance of men on so many farm boards

Bailey has always bucked the trend. As a child, she was far more interested in Lego and Tonka trucks than dolls, and she had dreams of becoming a mechanic instead of a nurse, teacher or the other jobs that “girls were supposed to do.” At 34, she’s still bucking the trend. Bailey has just become […] Read more


Board business

A board wants you to sign on as a director, but is it the right board for you? Watch for these signals

Today, you feel it’s a board that you could maybe help. Admittedly, that wasn’t quite the way you felt after you first showed up at one of its meetings, returning to the farm totally frustrated. All the directors seemed to have been there forever. They struck you as stale and apathetic, just going through the […] Read more

Six factors to consider if your soil moisture level is low

To date, all indications are pointing to a dry spring, given the below-average precipitation received in many areas of the Prairies this winter. There are exceptions to every rule of course, but a lot of farmers had relatively dry soils going into winter, so we asked some agronomists and provincial crop experts what factors could[...]
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