GFM Network News


A Saskatchewan study compared vigour and yield performance of 48 lots of certified and farm-saved seed.

Choosing your seed. Certified or farm-saved?

There’s general agreement on the merits of certified seed, but a new study shows one isn’t extra yield

Reading Time: 5 minutes Does certified seed beat bin-run seed for yield? A 2004 survey of 800 Prairie growers indicated that 70 to 80 per cent of their cereal acres were seeded to farm-saved seed (FSS), which suggests they don’t think so. But while a recent two-year study indicates they’re right, that doesn’t mean certified seed doesn’t provide extra […] Read more

Adam and Meghan Gregory were succeeding on the farm and continuously improving its performance. Then they asked, is that good enough?

The next big step: mid-career mentorship

You’re already smart and dedicated, but is that really enough for today’s challenges?

Reading Time: 6 minutes When Adam Gregory signed up for LeaderShift’s year-long national farm leadership program, he didn’t anticipate waking up at the crack of dawn to do group yoga. “Some people were way out of their comfort zone,” Gregory laughs. “I’m open to trying anything, so it wasn’t a hurdle for me.” There’s more to LeaderShift’s program than […] Read more


Once pulled, clubroot-infected plants are best disposed of by burning.

Swift removal of infected plants key for clubroot control

You can kill the plant, but the pathogens remain to continue infecting the soil

Reading Time: 4 minutes A new study shows that even after a plant infected with clubroot has been killed with a herbicide and frozen to ensure all plant cells are dead, the pathogen survives and continues to mature. The study led by Mary Ruth McDonald, a professor of plant agriculture at the University of Guelph, and Agriculture Canada scientist […] Read more

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