GFM Network News


A bee at work pollinating canola. Researchers discovered 360 bee species in Manitoba, over 100 more than previously estimated.

Less mowing, more flowers, more yield

A few tweaks to farm landscape management can improve life for beneficial insects

Reading Time: 6 minutes It’s estimated that insects such as bees are responsible for pollinating almost 20 per cent of Canada’s crop, but that’s not the only reason for protecting their habitat. It’s also a breeding ground for beneficial insects that prey on cereal, oilseed and pulse crops. A recently completed study shows that simply “tweaking” agronomic practices can […] Read more

“About 80 per cent of farmers fall into two categories,” says one Australian agronomist.

What type of person are you?

Across the business world, personality testing is growing exponentially. Now, it’s coming to the farm

Reading Time: 3 minutes We’ve met them all before. In fact, many Canadian farmers don’t even have to drive down the lane to meet them all. Australian agronomist Cam Nicholson says farmers can be divided into four basic types: Dependables are the reliable types who defend the status quo. Doers work fast but don’t always finish every job. Pioneers […] Read more


In some locations tested, beneficial insect population was up to 20 times higher in field boundary sites compared to open fields.

Putting a value on a shelterbelt

Yields drop immediately adjacent, but start to increase after 10 to 20 metres beyond

Reading Time: 4 minutes Areas such as road allowances, wetlands and shelterbelts take up land that could otherwise be used to produce grain. But does that mean that if you remove them, you’ll have more grain production? Maybe not. You might even get less, says Shathi Akhter, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research scientist at Indian Head, Sask. She’s […] Read more

The researchers found that an N rate of 90 lb./ac. provided the most consistent economic returns when oat prices are between $2.50 to $3 per bushel.

Boost the N and boost the fungicide?

Study shows oat growers should make separate decisions on how much of each to apply

Reading Time: 3 minutes With the increasing demand for oats in the food market, growers these days are paying attention to both yield and quality, leading to questions about managing both nitrogen and fungicides. Does use of one affect how much you should use of the other? Not by much, according to research published this spring. Agriculture Canada crop […] Read more


“We have a strong connection to our land,” says Howard Besser, with wife Jannette. “It’s hard to up and sell.” A phased approach proved to be their best answer.

Winding down: How will Canada’s aging farmers sell their land?

As the Besser family discovered, it can pay to play the long game

Reading Time: 5 minutes In 2011, Howard and Jannette Besser found themselves at a crossroads. The pair, who farmed 3,000 acres near Plumas, Man., had reached their 50th birthdays, their sons were not interested in farming, and they could see they’d have to start purchasing bigger, newer equipment if they wanted to carry on. “We decided to step out,” […] Read more

Producer Jay Schultz found that despite a tough 2019 harvest with slow-maturing crops and tough moisture conditions, early-seeded wheat came off earlier than normal and graded No. 1 CW.

Pushing the wheat seeding envelope

Good seed treatments are recommended, but research at Lethbridge suggests you should start the drill when the soil is at 2 C

Reading Time: 4 minutes Statistically, early seeding equals higher yield, at least over the long term. But how early can you seed without having a wreck due to cold spring conditions? Earlier than you might think, apparently. Last spring, Jay Schultz started seeding his CWRS wheat (mainly Brandon, with some Eli and Viewfield) on April 15 — the earliest […] Read more


If you’re feeling more isolated lately out in the country you’re not alone. According to Stats Canada, rural populations are on a slow decline.

Alone on the farm, or lonely?

Farm life can be more isolating and more challenging than ever, making it even more important to ask yourself these questions

Reading Time: 5 minutes Christi Friesen has learned to recognize signs that she’s heading into a spiral of negative thinking — and it usually happens when she’s pulling 18-hour days on the tractor on her Peace River farm in Alberta. “When you’re out in the boondocks, your closest neighbour is a half-mile away and you’re working alone and you’re […] Read more

Giving wheat midge a few susceptible wheat plants to feed on ensures that the resistant population doesn’t eventually take over.

A decade of midge-tolerant wheat

New varieties are in the pipeline for CWRS and SWS classes

Reading Time: 4 minutes Over the past 10 years, western Canadian farmers have deliberately seeded 27 million acres of wheat susceptible to orange blossom wheat midge — and saved themselves an estimated $1 billion in lost yield and quality. To be clear, only 10 per cent of the seed on those acres was susceptible to midge, and that’s been […] Read more


‘Soap opera’ prenups

Marriage agreements built on fairness can be a legitimate risk management tool

Reading Time: 7 minutes Picture this. The bride, decked out in finery, arrives at the church on the morning of her wedding. As she reaches the church doors, a man in a suit blocks her way. In his hand is a prenuptial agreement ensuring she has no rights to the property of the farmer she’s marrying. If she wants […] Read more

CDC Fraser shows good lodging resistance, an important trait for maintaining malting quality.

Balancing demands for both quality and yield in barley

New barley varieties show yield gains over old favourites AC Metcalfe and CDC Copeland. What’s needed now is industry acceptance

Reading Time: 4 minutes A quick scan of the farm press this spring might have been enough to convince you Canadian barley has a yield problem. The sharp drop in Prairie acreage suggests farmers may think the same thing — only 6.2 million acres were seeded last year, about two million less than 10 years earlier and half the […] Read more