GFM Network News


Are Canadian farmers becoming more European?

Canada’s farmers are getting more and more regulated. Do we have to become just like Europe?

Reading Time: 7 minutes In the mid-1970s, when David Rolfe made the decision to sell up in rural England and set up shop in rural Manitoba as one of Canada’s newest immigrant farmers, burdensome regulations were certainly part of the equation. It would have been one thing if they had been sensible regulations well-grounded in reasonable desires, which is […] Read more

Fabulous fababeans

Good results for the past few seasons have led to increased interest in fababeans, but like any new crop, there are still a few hurdles to clear

Reading Time: 6 minutes After a false start in the 1970s, it looks like fababeans are back on the Prairies for good this time. Alberta farmers planted only 15,000 acres in 2012, but most estimates put acreage at well over 100,000 acres last season. This interest has crossed the border into Saskatchewan too, with more than 15,000 acres going […] Read more


Big data in Canadian agriculture? Not yet

Precision agriculture proponents are convinced that the technology will pay off, but that data collection needs to be standardized and not require farmers’ time during the busy seasons

Reading Time: 6 minutes Watching over the fencerow to see how the neighbour is growing that nice crop is a long tradition in farming. Are we heading into an era where you can look over the digital fencerow to look at the neighbour’s data on nutrient placement, seeding rates, variety selection and combine speed? Increasingly each piece of equipment […] Read more

Global grain markets and the global downturn

There’s no major rebound in sight for grain markets, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still take charge of your own fate

Reading Time: 8 minutes There’s less and less doubt about it. What we’re currently facing is a global recession in commodities of all types. Right now the world has plenty of potash, copper, oil, gold and grain. Producers of all types have responded to the extremely strong price signals they’ve been receiving lately and have grown their productivity. That’s […] Read more


Getting that farm data working in the field

Some big ag players and Silicon Valley investors are convinced that precision agriculture and ‘big data’ are the next big things. Convincing farmers is another matter

Reading Time: 5 minutes The problem with any new ag technology is that the engineers can design it, the manufacturers can make it and the marketers can sell it, but it’s left to the farmers out in the field to figure out exactly how to make it work. That’s the dynamic today for precision agriculture, according to one specialist. […] Read more

Manitoba’s corn growers didn’t worry too much about Goss’s wilt this year, but despite the dry weather it did crop up in Alberta.

Crop diseases take a bit of a break in 2015

Drier conditions this past season kept a lid on most crop diseases — but this is probably just a brief respite until environmental conditions line up again

Reading Time: 8 minutes The bad news is that dry weather cut yields across much of the Prairies in 2015. The consolation? This same weather kept fungal diseases in check. In fact, areas that were in the sweet spot of lower pressure but enough rainfall to carry yield were rewarded with exceptional crop quality. Country Guide recently spoke to […] Read more


Could we see a Lehman Brothers-style collapse in grain markets?

There's a big difference to market noise and market reality. We ask Errol Anderson, is it all just talk?

Reading Time: 6 minutes At the heart of the issue is something known as a letter of credit, or LOC. These are essentially promissory notes that are backed by a financial institution with credibility, and their purpose is to ensure the money is there. Now there’s a question hanging over global commodity markets in the form of the Anglo-Swiss […] Read more

Prairie crops had a bit of everything in 2015

Drought in the western Prairies had a lot of people concerned about production last season, but the latest information suggests the crop was bigger and better quality than expected

Reading Time: 5 minutes You can see it in the numbers — the StatsCan canola numbers that is. In August the agency predicted 2015 canola production at 13.3 million tonnes. By October that number had risen to 14.3 million tonnes and one industry watcher says it could be headed even higher. David Drozd of market advisory Ag-Chieve told Country […] Read more


A University of Alberta team scouting for signs of clubroot. Researchers say the key to stopping the spread is scouting fields where the problem isn’t obvious, but where it’s likely to appear next.

Clubroot continues its march across prairie canola fields

So far nothing appears to have slowed the spread of clubroot, so some are suggesting it might be time to rethink our approach

Reading Time: 9 minutes Over the past dozen years the canola industry has poured an ocean of effort into halting the spread of clubroot around the Edmonton area. And while there have been advances such as new resistant varieties, one uncomfortable truth remains — the disease continues to spread. Dan Orchard, a Canola Council of Canada agronomist who discovered […] Read more

2016 could be a ‘battleground year’ for commodity prices

A ‘battleground year’ is how analyst Errol Anderson sees 2016. Prices will be profitable… sometimes…but success will only come to producers who rein in their emotions

Reading Time: 8 minutes It isn’t only agriculture. China has become the world’s largest market for an incredibly long list of commodities. Consider the manufacturing industry, for example, where the Chinese generate roughly half of global demand — they use 54 per cent of global aluminum production, 50 per cent of nickel, 48 per cent of copper and 46 […] Read more