GFM Network News


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


Palmer with long terminal seed head.

PHOTOS: How to identify Palmer amaranth

The amaranth species look fairly similar as seedlings. Nobody wants to wait until they’re in seed to figure that out. When in doubt, ask an agronomist.” — Tammy Jones, Manitoba Agriculture. For the latest information, visit the North Dakota State University website.

“Snirt” was a common sight in Manitoba soybean fields last winter.

Avoiding another year of ‘snirt’

North Dakota farmers and researchers are finding success in controlling soybean field erosion by planting cover crops

“Snirt” became a buzzword in Prairie agricultural journalism in 2017 and 2018, and for good reason: the dirty snow lining ditches along highways was a telling indicator that there had been a soybean field there last season. It’s a problem across the Red River Valley region in particular, where soybean producers are used to tilling […] Read more


Four ways to help protect your farm from fire

Whether it’s close to home or across an ocean, fire hasn’t been far from the news this summer. This year has been average in terms of fire risk on the Prairies, says Mike Flannigan, professor of wildland fire and the director of the western partnership for wildland fire science at the University of Alberta. But[...]
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Miles Dyck studied sulphur deficiency at the Breton Plots, a long-term crop rotation research site established in 1930.

Nutrient balance key to avoiding sulphur deficient soils

Production of more high-sulphur demand crops such as pulses and canola is creating a shortage in some fields

In order for any crop to use fertilizer efficiently, it needs to have all of its nutrient deficiencies met, says Miles Dyck, an associate professor of soil science in the department of renewable resources at the University of Alberta. The most common nutrient deficiencies in Western Canada are nitrogen and phosphorus, but because of the[...]
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Six tips for a smooth soybean harvest

For two-thirds of soybean producers in Saskatchewan last year, it was their first time growing the crop, with seeded acres up to 850,000 from just 239,939 in 2016. In Manitoba, soybean acreage jumped from over a million and a half acres to well over two million acres in 2017. Estimated acreage is lower this year[...]
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Tillage is the number one soil-degrading process, says one University of Manitoba professor.

Tillage erosion costing farmers billions

The pressure to get an early start on newer crops such as corn and soybeans encourages tillage practices which may not be sustainable

This past spring was one of the worst on record for so-called “snirt,” or dirty snow, in ditches across the Prairies — a sign that wind is moving loose topsoil to the margins of fields. While snirt is an indication that fields are susceptible to wind erosion, however, University of Manitoba soil science professor David[...]
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