GFM Network News


An NDVI image of a corn crop that indicates side-dress nitrogen effects on corn maturity.

Field imagery much more just a pretty picture

Overhead imagery can transform how you farm, but it’s essential to choose the right technology — and commit to it

Reading Time: 8 minutes Precision agriculture has had a rough go since it was first conceptualized in the mid-1990s with the advent of the yield monitor. At that point, “variable rate” became part of agriculture’s vocabulary, followed by zone mapping, aerial imagery and a growing list of technologies now available to growers. Yet there’s still reluctance to rely too […] Read more

A clover cover crop stretches upward from the stubble.

Finding the value of cover crops for Western Canada

Cover crops are now standard practice farther south in the U.S., but do they have the same results on the shorter-season Prairies?

Reading Time: 3 minutes When Yvonne Lawley wrote her research proposal for a study of cover crops, she was specific about the wording of the title: Testing the cover crop hypothesis across Prairie Canada. It’s the word “hypothesis” that grabs you. What could be theoretical about cover crops? Some farmers have been using them for decades to help build […] Read more


Cattle are an important part of the rotation on Agripastos Farm.

Conservation tillage driving Brazil’s corn and soybean explosion

No-till farm group says no-till is the key to long-term sustainable agriculture

Reading Time: 4 minutes Crop production in Brazil has made dramatic gains in recent decades — and there’s potential for plenty more, say advocates of no till and conservation tillage in the country. In fact, members of the Brazilian Federation of No-Till Farming say no till is the key to achieving a long-term sustainable agriculture without additional deforestation. Soybean […] Read more

Treatments included three yield zones and four N fertilizer rates — 0, 50, 100 and 150 per cent N based on soil test.

Zone-by-zone nitrogen application may not pay

A three-year study finds surprisingly little response to extra nitrogen in both high- and low-producing areas

Reading Time: 3 minutes A new Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada study suggests producers should take soil test nitrogen prescriptions by management zone with a grain of salt. They don’t necessarily reflect what researcher Alan Moulin calls the “supplying power” of the soil, and since fields vary, there’s no one-size-fits-all prescription to meet crop nutrient demands. This doesn’t mean producers […] Read more


“You can only grow so many bushels of corn in a stressed year and that number depends largely on your soil.”

What’s good about soil?

Soil health indicators often relate to properties that you can’t see

Reading Time: 6 minutes We’re planting more cover crops, we’ve got a heightened focus on soil organic matter levels, and now we’re adopting what’s thought to be a relatively new term: soil health indicators. They’re each part of a wave that’s been building, reflecting a renewed interest in the soil as the basis for all crop production. “It’s been […] Read more

Farming can be mixed with a combination of crops and livestock over a region, rather than on individual farms.

Mixed farming without livestock

Integrated farming gives the grain producer the rotational benefit of a forage in the rotation, and the livestock producer the benefit of a feed supply

Reading Time: 5 minutes Back around 2004, Trevor Atchison discovered a unique way of getting a crop from a neighbour’s field without either planting it or paying rent. It was an alfalfa field and Atchison, a cattle producer near Pipestone in western Manitoba, needed feed for his beef cows. So he cut and baled standing forage from the field, […] 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

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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

Cupping of soybean leaves is a clearly visible symptom of off-target movement of dicamba that resulted from inversion.

Soybeans, dicamba and you

New challenges are arising with new herbicide-resistant technologies and product blends

Reading Time: 4 minutes When new transgenic and herbicide-tolerant technologies arrive, they come with learning curves, some steeper than others. For Bt corn hybrids, for example, the curve was relatively flat, even if there had to be some serious thinking that about refuge planting. And in glyphosate- and glufosinate-tolerant soybean varieties, there may have been initial concerns about having […] Read more


“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

Reading Time: 5 minutes “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

Despite several years of successful winter grazing, Mike Buis has a Plan B of also baling a cover crop blend to have in reserve if weather doesn’t co-operate.

Another cover crop bonus – winter grazing

This Ontario producer lets the cows do the work, meaning benefits for both him and his crop-growing neighbour

Reading Time: 5 minutes Cover crops have caught on like wildfire for corn producers in the U.S. and Eastern Canada, mainly because of their benefits for soil health. But some producers have found another bonus — a source of feed for grazing cattle. Mike Buis has been doing it for about 15 years, seeing the overall benefits in animal […] Read more