GFM Network News


McEachren tried different seeding rates on his test field: 140,000 as an average with 175,000 and 115,000 the extremes.

Relay cropping

The goal for Ontario’s Dave McEachren is three crops in two years

For the 2018 growing season, Dave McEachren decided to revisit the past with something old and something new. A dozen years ago, he had tried relay cropping after hearing about it and reading the research that had been done on it at Ohio State University. The practice involves planting soybeans into a wheat crop as […] Read more

Growers have been completely shocked by the soil tests they got back.” – Jim Hazlewood, Stratford Agri Analysis.

Empty soils

Today’s big-yield genetics really are draining the nutrient supply in our soils

The power of today’s corn hybrids and soybean varieties to exceed farmers’ expectations is a testament to the science of plant breeding, and also to the value of selecting the best elite genetics. That farmers in Eastern Canada have been able to push corn yields to 200 bu./ac. and soybeans to 60 bu./ac., even in […] Read more


Governing the farm

On most farms, ‘governance’ sounds like the last thing you’d want to talk about if you hope to keep everyone happy. Steve Tomtene used to think so too, but is glad he changed his mind

Like many farms with added complementary enterprises like a trucking company or livestock barn or a seed business, Tomtene Seed Farm at Birch Hill, Sask., has developed systems to juggle all the moving parts. “Maintaining identification and producing seed products of quality merit takes a shift in thinking about the products, about production, about the […] Read more

Brothers Rob, Derek and Rick Kootstra aim to plant cover crops on every acre, every year.

Real sustainability

Integrating the benefits of his Ontario Soil Network membership into how he farms is helping Rick Kootstra find real sustainability

Like a lot of farmers, Rick Kootstra doesn’t see himself as an innovator or a leader. He just goes about his business. Thanks to the Ontario Soil Network, though, he does it with a lot of great connections with farmers who share similar goals and aspirations. Kootstra, along with his brothers Rob and Derek, works […] Read more


Sunflowers need a hybrid lift

With Western sunflower acres dropping sharply in recent years, new varieties are needed to claw acres back from easier-to-grow soybeans

There are fewer sights more appealing than a field of mature sunflowers, but this golden vision is growing rarer. The reason is simple — sunflowers are losing out to soybeans. In Canada’s biggest sunflower province, Manitoba, acres dropped under 62,000 this year, with a little more than half the crop going to black oil and […] Read more

Prairie flax acreage is not as high as it once was, but Canada is still the world’s largest exporter.

Improving flax one allele at a time

Rust hasn’t affected Canadian flax for more than 40 years, but new varieties must still incorporate resistance

On the surface, you’d think that a research project seeking to locate and sequence specific rust-resistance genes, then find ways to quickly identify the presence of these genes in plant breeding material is ultimately about preventing crop loss to rust. But we’re talking about flax here, so think again. Flax is a one million-acre crop […] Read more


Recommendations on Pasmo fungicide choice and spray timing are getting much sharper.

Flax opportunities

Agronomics and yield are the big priorities for flax growers in Western Canada

Flax acres have started to rebound over the past few years, with Saskatchewan still accounting for most of the flax grown on the Prairies. In order to entice more growers to flax, however, yields will need to increase. Average flax yields have hovered around 22 bu./ac. for many years, and although growers in some areas […] Read more

Most of the varieties covered by PBR are from the public sector, and most are cereal varieties.

Plant Breeders Rights not so simple

New regulations give PBR regs more teeth, but breeders still want you to follow the law out of self-interest, not fear

When Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) got a major facelift two years ago, the seed trade in Canada responded with information campaigns saying that all was for the best. Upgrades in intellectual property protection weren’t a cash grab, farmers were told. Instead, they showed the international community that Canada takes property protection very seriously. That recognition, […] Read more


Jitendra Paliwal (left) adjusts the antennae on the 3D electromagnetic imaging system at the U of M’s grain storage research laboratory while Paul Card (right) watches.

Detecting spoilage before it starts

An adaptation of cancer-screening technology offers a better and safer way to check for grain bin moisture, with a bonus of theft detection

An electromagnetic imaging technique originally designed to detect breast cancer tumours is now being adapted for a totally different use — locating spoiled grain in bins. The research project at the University of Manitoba uses electromagnetic imaging (EMI) to create a 3D profile of a bin, showing pockets of moisture which can overheat and spoil. […] Read more

Camelina seed is dense with omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

Could camelina be ‘the next canola?’

You’ve heard the pitch on this oilseed before, but this time it could actually be true

[Updated Dec. 12, 2016; at bottom] – Jack Grushcow says the sky’s the limit for camelina, and he isn’t referring to the brief but well-publicized test when it was used for jet fuel a couple of years ago. Grushcow is CEO of Linnaeus Plant Sciences, which owns Smart Earth Seeds, a company developing new camelina […] Read more