GFM Network News

Four steps for better seeding this spring

It’s an age-old conundrum: You need to expand so you acquire more acres of land to get more return, but then the rush to get a crop in means seeding some acres too early, too late, or too fast. “There’s a lot of potential for making a mistake when it comes to seeding,” said Harry[...]
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“We have identified several soybean varieties with a potential of producing more than 50 bu./ac. marketable seed yields.” – Manjula Bandara, CDCS.

Growing soybeans in southern Alberta

Farmers would like the rotation option, but heat units are marginal and soybeans must compete with high-value irrigation crops

Reading Time: 7 minutes For some Prairie farmers, the question of whether to introduce soybeans into the rotation may seem like a no-brainer. They’re good nitrogen fixers and have proven a hit on rain-fed land in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where soybean acreage has increased dramatically over the past decade. But if you’re a producer in Alberta, the answer is[...]
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Laus Stiekema (middle), his son Lauran (left) and son-in-law Jaco are process-potato growers from Vauxhall, Alta., in the heart of southern Alberta’s irrigation country. Laus says they had an “average” crop this past year, missing much of the precipitation that hammered the province throughout the spring and summer.

Alberta potatoes mostly escape the deluge of 2016

A bit of luck, combined with tile drainage, helped Alberta potato growers survive the province’s wet 2016 season

Reading Time: 5 minutes For Alberta potato growers, the 2015 and 2016 growing seasons could not have been more different — hot and dry followed by cold and wet. Despite that, 2016 yields were more or less consistent with the past several years. “Our acres are flat — they have been for the past couple of years,” says Terence[...]
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Harpinder Randhawa, spring wheat and triticale breeder with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Lethbridge, stands in a field of soft white spring wheat. He is working on soft white spring varieties with improved resistance to disease and pre-harvest sprouting.

Soft white spring wheat spreads east

Ethanol drives new demand while research adapts SWSW to new regions

Reading Time: 5 minutes Until relatively recently, there were few producers outside the irrigation belt of southern Alberta who had ever heard of, much less planted, soft white spring wheat (SWSW). However, backed by 50 years of research, the wheat class is suddenly showing a new potential to be grown on more acres and in more areas, and for[...]
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Studies in three Prairie provinces used covers to block rainfall and simulate various levels of drought.

Stocking rates key to climate change adjustment

Low defoliation rates and leaving lots of litter are best for coping with weather variations from year to year

Reading Time: 4 minutes Fast and hard? Slow and easy? And how many animals per acre? Stocking and defoliation rates are a complex and even controversial issue, and depend a lot on the weather. Climate change could make them even more complex. To get a better idea on how producers should respond, Edward Bork and a team from the[...]
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In many grasslands, including those of Western Canada, moderate grazing actually boosts overall plant diversity.

Making hay of environmental goods and services

Researchers wrestle with turning an abstract concept into concrete profits for producers

Reading Time: 5 minutes If you were to ask most cattle producers about the goods and services their grasslands provide, it might seem like an obvious question. Most would say that quality forage promotes the health of their cattle, provides high-quality protein and boosts their bottom line. Others might talk about how their grazing practices promote biodiversity and overall[...]
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Tile drainage, long common in Ontario and the U.S. Midwest, is now attracting more attention in Alberta.

The pros and cons of tile drainage

Being able to remove excess moisture is a big plus, but there are a lot of factors to take into account

Reading Time: 3 minutes It wasn’t long ago that if you asked most Alberta producers if they used tile drainage, they likely wouldn’t know what you were talking about. A common practice in Ontario and the U.S. Midwest, it’s only in recent years that Alberta growers have warmed to this system in which subsurface tubes remove excess moisture from[...]
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The New Oil

Reading Time: 6 minutes Farmers in southern Alberta have always talked about water as the fuel that powers the quality, quantity and diversity of their crops. Now, however, competition is heating up for water. Towns, businesses and industries all want more, and in many cases they’re ready to pay for it. Water isn’t just a crop input anymore. It’s[...]
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