GFM Network News


Lodging presents a much higher risk of yield and quality reductions and economic losses if barley can’t be sold for malting.

PGRs for malting barley? Maybe

Research suggests plant growth regulators should be considered as a risk-management tool in fields with high yield potential

Reading Time: 4 minutes [UPDATED: April 12, 2021] Lodging is the enemy of barley producers, especially if they’re hoping for a malting premium. It’s prompted some producers to get out of barley altogether. Others are turning to plant growth regulators (PGRs) to help cut their losses. Sheri Strydhorst, a research scientist at the University of Alberta, says lodging is […] Read more

“Setting the next generation up so they have a financial stake in the farm helps feed the mentorship process. It’s so they understand the risks and the rewards of farming,” says Lance Stockbrugger.

Serious about mentoring

The idea of mentorship is catching fire in agriculture, with new programs popping up all the time. Should you sign on?

Reading Time: 8 minutes Lance Stockbrugger always knew he wanted to farm. “It was going to be my career,” he says. “It was just a matter of how I was going to get there.” When he was 11, Lance’s father was killed in a motor vehicle accident. The family — Lance, his mother and his three siblings — were […] Read more


Under dry conditions, black medic growth is limited, meaning it won’t compete with field crops for nutrients.

A cover crop ‘failure,’ but the story doesn’t end there

Black medic is a soil improver, and can be a good fit in situations where nitrogen is limited

Reading Time: 3 minutes A cover crop that self-seeds year after year, grows whenever environmental conditions are right and doesn’t compete with principal crops. Sounds like a dream, but it exists: it’s called black medic. It’s been planted in Western Canada since the 1990s, but it’s not widely used, and in fact “it’s kind of a failure,” says Martin […] Read more

The Thacker family (at back: Ute and Clint, at front: Lynn and Robin).

A place to do business

A farm office may be a profit-making next step for your farm, whether you’re specialized or commodity-based

Reading Time: 5 minutes It’s a familiar story. Almost 50 years ago, when Lynn and Ute Thacker started farming with Lynn’s brothers in Bow Island, Alta., their “office,” if you could call it that, was their kitchen table, and their filing system was a cardboard box. They were producing spearmint and then added dill and finally dry leaf and […] Read more


These thriving kochia plants are probably resistant to more than one herbicide mode of action.

Using a multi-prong strategy against herbicide resistant weeds

There are more pre-seed control options available to suppress herbicide-resistance, but use cultural management as well

Reading Time: 4 minutes More than half of western Canadian fields under annual crop production contain at least one herbicide-resistant biotype, according to surveys from 2014 to 2017. In Alberta, roughly 60 per cent of fields surveyed have resistant weeds; in Saskatchewan that figure is 57 per cent and in Manitoba it’s 68 per cent. “The surveys have been […] Read more

Higgins winter barley in southern Alberta on July 6, 2019. Stamp Seeds has discontinued trials of this variety due to winterkill concerns, but is currently running a demonstration plot of a promising new two-row European variety.

Barley getting through the winter

The search for hardy varieties continues, both in Eastern and Western Canada

Reading Time: 4 minutes Winter barley produces a higher-yielding, lower-moisture grain than spring-seeded barley. It’s appealing as a forage crop, as a cover crop and as a means of diversifying rotations. But in most of Canada, there’s just one problem — winter. In Europe, winter malting barley is favoured over spring barley for its longer growing season and ability […] Read more


How to know if your farm business skills are keeping up

How to know if your farm business skills are keeping up

In the last five years, every farm has upped its business management. So is your farm middle-of-the-pack? Above average? Below? Get ready for some surprises

Reading Time: 8 minutes When you ask Shawn Hass, vice-president and portfolio manager at RBC Dominion Securities in Lethbridge, Alta., what his cutting-edge farm clients are doing that sets them apart from the rest of the pack, his first answer will likely surprise you. “They’ve built an office or have one on site,” Hass says. “The most successful farm […] Read more

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