GFM Network News


FHB infection in barley. The Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute and the Canadian Grain Commission are testing an innovative post-harvest treatment from a Scandinavian company called ThermoSeed. It has potential to eliminate the pathogen during malting and brewing.

Careful grain sampling key when looking for mycotoxins

Ontario’s worst-ever year for DON infection in corn may provide some guidance for managing the problem in Western Canada

Reading Time: 5 minutes For Ontario corn growers dealing with an outbreak of deoxynivalenol (DON), 2018 was a year to forget. “It was a really major, widespread issue,” says Art Schaafsma, a professor in field crop pest management for the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus. He says the last time the industry saw widespread issues with DON was in […] Read more

Western Canada’s “King wheat” acreage is now equalled by the former “Cinderella crop” of canola, but that’s at the expense of the recommended frequency in rotation.

Taking a long-term look at agronomy for canola

Researchers say canola’s environmental footprint has improved but a new agronomic struggle is on the horizon

Reading Time: 4 minutes Canola-based rotation systems can improve long-term sustainability by using less energy and storing carbon below the ground, but keeping them going on top is proving to be a challenge. A study by Saskatchewan Research Council’s Susan MacWilliam, along with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research scientist Reynald Lemke and others, compared the impact of changing management […] Read more


“A lot of the newer wheat varieties are moving toward semi-dwarf stature and that doesn’t fit well with what I need for wheat competition characteristics in organic wheat production.” – Ian Cushon, Oxbow.

Homegrown ‘boutique wheat’

Breeding program lets farmers participate in breeding wheat and oat varieties suited to organic production

Reading Time: 5 minutes Not many remember that the Canadian Seed Growers Association started with a seed-selection competition for children. In the early 1900s, agriculturalist James Robertson and philanthropist Sir William MacDonald, wanting to encourage farmers to use seed selection to improve the output and resilience of Canadian farms, targeted their children with a contest: the children would select […] Read more

Treatments included three yield zones and four N fertilizer rates — 0, 50, 100 and 150 per cent N based on soil test.

Zone-by-zone nitrogen application may not pay

A three-year study finds surprisingly little response to extra nitrogen in both high- and low-producing areas

Reading Time: 3 minutes A new Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada study suggests producers should take soil test nitrogen prescriptions by management zone with a grain of salt. They don’t necessarily reflect what researcher Alan Moulin calls the “supplying power” of the soil, and since fields vary, there’s no one-size-fits-all prescription to meet crop nutrient demands. This doesn’t mean producers […] Read more


AAFC tests have been on a pull-type Harrington Seed Destructor, but a newer version is integrated with the combine.

Weed control from the back of the combine

Prairie manufacturers are offering chaff collectors, and AAFC continues tests with the Harrington Seed Destructor

Reading Time: 4 minutes Mechanical weed control hasn’t been widely adopted in Western Canada but it soon will be, says Trevor Thiessen of Redekop Manufacturing in Saskatoon. “We don’t have the same stress on the resistance issue that other parts of the world are seeing. In Canada, we’re five years behind Australia in terms of thinking about mechanical weed […] Read more

General Mills and Cargill Canada have both announced programs aimed at regenerative agriculture.

Regenerative agriculture hits the mainstream

Big Ag is getting on the bandwagon, but market premiums still aren’t on the table

Reading Time: 6 minutes If you’re a cattle producer, you may already have heard the term “regenerative agriculture.” If you’re a grain producer, maybe not. But that’s about to change. This spring, General Mills announced a plan to advance regenerative agriculture practices on one million acres of farmland in the U.S. and Canada by 2030, and Cargill Canada announced […] Read more


Shallow-rooted pulses such as peas and lentils not only add nitrogen but leave some deeper moisture for a following crop.

A sure-fire piece of crop advice

While there’s no ideal rotation for Western Canada, long-term studies show that over time, diversification will pay off

Reading Time: 3 minutes There are no silver bullets in agriculture — agro-ecosystems are too complex for any one tool to guarantee outcomes. All the same, some tools seem to have an outsized benefit. This holds true for pulses, according to a suite of research studies led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research scientist Yantai Gan, whose focus […] Read more

PGRs may be useful for managing longer-straw varieties and/or crops in fields high in nitrogen.

Shorter straw, higher yield?

Trial assesses plant growth regulators on different varieties at several locations

Reading Time: 4 minutes On paper, it’s an ideal combination — a product which shortens straw but doesn’t reduce yield. But are plant growth regulators (PGRs) a worthwhile investment? That’s being assessed based on ongoing trials in Manitoba. In Canada, the most promising PGR is chlormequat chloride, marketed by EngageAgro under the trade name Manipulator. The product has been […] Read more


Jim Dyck in a field of ORe3541M oats at Sanderson farm near Portage la Prairie, Man., in 2017.

Do-it-yourself plant breeding

Jim Dyck’s new oat varieties have been a decade in the making, but his hard work is about to pay off

Reading Time: 3 minutes If there are any oat producers who haven’t heard of Jim Dyck, that’s soon going to change. Jim and his wife Laura-Lee, who farm near Saskatoon, are the owners of Oat Advantage, one of few private plant breeding businesses in Western Canada. This spring, their first registered oat varieties, ORe3541M and ORe3542M, will be marketed […] Read more

From left, Jennifer and Jay Bruggencate, and Mike and Kelly Sulzle.

Dream team

In Vector Grain, the Bruggencates and Sulzles are collaborating on a joint venture to make their longtime farming dreams a reality. It takes dedication and smarts, and loads of professional advice. But it’s paying off

Reading Time: 8 minutes Mike Sulzle had worked as Craig Shaw’s hired man for 16 years when Shaw approached him in 2015 with surprising news: 2016 would be his last year farming. “Craig had always said I could take over when he quit farming one day, but it wasn’t serious,” says Sulzle. “I didn’t see how I could do […] Read more