GFM Network News


Nitrogen fixing pulse crops are a win-win for growers

There’s a compelling economic and agronomic case to be made for pulses, not just soybeans

Reading Time: 5 minutes If you ask Lee Moats why he grows pulse crops on his farm, he doesn’t have to scramble very hard for the answer to that question. “It’s about money,” the farmer and vice-chair of the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Association told Country Guide during a recent discussion. On his farm at Riceton, Sask., Moats says they’ve […] Read more

Aaron Wheeler at the University of Toronto is working to shrink an entire lab onto a hand-held device that farmers can use in the field

A crop diagnostic lab on a microchip

New technology is bringing the science lab to the field for better, faster scouting decisions

Reading Time: 5 minutes It’s a sentence nobody likes to hear, especially in the midst of all the time pressures and the short windows of farming today. “I’m not sure about this, we’d better send a sample to the lab.” It might be an agrologist or crop scout who says it to you, or a plant pathologist or veterinarian, […] Read more


Precision ag lets you grow crops the way 
Wayne Gretzky played hockey, Duncan says. 
Instead of chasing the puck, you put yourself 
where you can intercept it.

Precision ag ready for big time

After two decades of development, farm technology has finally caught up with the opportunity to shave inputs and drive yields

Reading Time: 5 minutes An old cartoon shows two scientists standing at a ship’s rail, gazing out over the beauty of the horizon. In a reflective moment, one extends his arm, motions to the setting sun and says to the other: “Ever thought about all that data out there just yearning to be processed?” Substitute a couple of modern […] Read more

Insect post mortem

Top Prairie pest specialists reflect on 2014’s major insect trends… and what they could mean for the coming year

Reading Time: 6 minutes Insects are like the commodity markets. It’s really easy to know what they’re going to do, once they’ve already done it. One of agriculture’s big challenges is dealing with different insects in different geographies, and doing the best you can to hedge your bets. Like the markets, however, insects are subject to a fair bit […] Read more


The science of how neonicotinoids work

Reading Time: 2 minutes Neonicotinoids, like many of our insecticides, are neurotoxins that go after the central nervous system. We often refer to the nervous system as an organism’s wiring, but its workings are a lot more complicated because all physiological actions must take place at low temperatures that won’t damage the surrounding proteins. Any electrician will tell you […] Read more

Even where neonics have been banned, bee populations are still in trouble.

Neonicotinoids for pest management

Evidence in support of neonics is impressive, if you take the time to understand it

Reading Time: 6 minutes Another summer is over, another harvest is done and now the key decisions are starting to loom for next year’s crop. The canola page in the seed catalogue is open, but whether the varieties on display are OPs or hybrids, herbicide tolerant, Argentine or Polish, most of them will come with a seed coating containing an […] Read more


Humanity has tried every technology and philosophy, but will we ever get good at making new soil?

Make better soil for crops

da Vinci said we know more about the stars than the soil under our feet. That is changing

Reading Time: 7 minutes Farmers make this kind of discovery all the time, but for Washington State geology professor, David Montgomery, it was a big lesson about soil when he and his wife moved to a new house in north Seattle some eight years ago. Their new lawn was a sparse and ratty patch of grass trying to thrive in […] Read more

Shelterbelts are contributing more than we guessed to high, sustainable crop yields.

Shelterbelts: a habitat for beneficial insects

Even if ripping out an old shelterbelt could help you work more acres per hour, it may leave you worse off

Reading Time: 5 minutes Back in the Dirty ’30s, farmers planted shelterbelts in a desperate bid to slow those drying winds and keep them from blowing our precious topsoil east. Now, at almost 100 years old, these wind-breaks have grown into stands of mature trees that continue to serve that purpose well. Not only do these shelterbelts curb wind […] Read more


Said U.S. president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

Humanity must stop treating soil like dirt

Why we care: Farmers around the world know soil is the stuff of life

Reading Time: 6 minutes Winnipeg was the site of 2014’s World Congress on Conservation Agriculture where farmers, agronomists, researchers and policy-makers from 33 countries around the globe met to discuss the world’s soil, as the stories in the special ‘Sustainability’ section in the July 2014 issue of Country Guide reveal. In fact, Country Guide, and our farm readers, feel so strongly about […] Read more

Plants are very, very, clever and they’ve evolved all sorts 
of mechanisms to 
overcome herbicides.” —Stephen Lindell, 
Bayer CropScience

Stacked deck

Weeds have put millions of years of evolutionary experience to work against just a handful of weed killing chemicals. The results are predictable

Reading Time: 5 minutes In the mid 1990s a team of computer engineers came up with a new way to plug devices into computers and called it a USB port. It was different from the old ports so it wasn’t compatible with older peripherals and they became useless. Computer companies called this progress but many users called it a […] Read more