GFM Network News


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fancy soil test kit — researchers used the Canadian Light Source synchrotron in Saskatoon to analyze the biological cycling P goes through in the soil.

Soil tests may not tell the whole story of phosphorus

Research shows “legacy” phosphorus might support crops long after you’ve stopped making applications

Do soil tests accurately reflect how much phosphorus is actually available to plants? A long-term study at the Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre in Swift Current, Sask., suggests they don’t. Research scientist Barbara Cade-Menun is leading a study on continuous wheat plots established in 1967. Until 1995, the plots received both nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer; […] Read more

Matt Johnson of M3 Aerial Productions says canopy reflectance tells you where you need to take a closer look.

A drone spots a problem in your field. Now what?

Drone-mounted cameras measuring NDVI reflectance can identify crop problems, but not necessarily the cause. Researchers are looking for other tools that might

It’s been more than a few years since drones made their debut in agriculture, but questions about whether they’re worth producers’ time aren’t going away. Most agricultural drones are set up to measure canopy reflectance using the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), a graphical indicator that assesses crop health by measuring canopy reflectance. Drones carrying […] Read more


Covering roughly 10 hectares, the study included plots set out in a split-split format, meaning large plots were divided into smaller plots, with even smaller plots within those.

Farm like Scrooge

A long-term study suggests that penny-pinching can actually help the bottom line

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research scientist Bruce Gossen says the 18-year study was boring, but its results weren’t. Gossen and his colleagues took a long-term look at the effects of cropping diversity and inputs at Scott, Sask., from 1996 to 2013, but they didn’t just evaluate yields. They also looked at disease, insect and weed […] Read more

The U.S. ‘No. 1 weed problem’ heads north

Other weeds are higher priority for now, but be on the lookout for Palmer amaranth

It can grow two to three inches per day and reach eight feet tall. Each plant can produce more than a million seeds that can emerge right through the growing season. It has reduced yield up to 91 per cent in corn and 79 per cent in soybeans. It’s resistant to glyphosate and multiple other […] Read more