GFM Network News


Contrary to a common perception, water-use efficiency and drought tolerance are not one and the same.

The water question

Should you be more concerned about drought tolerance, or water-use efficiency?

It’s a term that’s often loosely used, and it isn’t well understood at any level. Yet it may become one of the dominant yield limitations in your crop production within the next few years. Water-use efficiency has been part of agronomy’s lexicon for decades, yet as yields have increased, its definition and how it functions […] Read more

Friedhelm Hoffmann has fertigated corn, soybeans and wheat, which he states yielded 140 bushels per acre.

Get there on time

Timely delivery is a big plus for “fertigation,” but can you afford the costs and the management demands?

In precision agriculture, the focus is typically on the low-hanging fruit, i.e. the use of yield data to create variable-rate fertilizer scripts, investing in individual row units with automatic down-force, or using aerial imagery to pinpoint trouble spots in a field. Most such discussions are also confined to choices about soil, seed and fertility. Yet […] Read more


Canola Council resets course for ‘efficiencies’

Facing new limits on available funding, Canada’s canola value chain organization plans to refocus its work on its “core strengths” and collaborate with other players. The Canola Council of Canada on Wednesday announced a revised work plan, coming out of a “priorities review” undertaken after one of Canada’s biggest grain companies called a halt to […] Read more

It’s not possible to weather-proof soybeans but it is possible to give them every opportunity to meet their genetic potential, in spite of various stresses.

Get more

Higher yields begin with enhanced management practices, which means continuous learning

In recent growing seasons, the disparity between corn and soybeans has been getting harder to ignore. The frustration has been getting harder to ignore too. Why can’t farmers raise their soybean yields as quickly and as reliably as their corn? There’s little debate that corn yields have advanced greatly in the past 20 years, to […] 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

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

Sulphur-deficient plants appear paler (foreground) than those with adequate S.

Sulphur gets hot

The nutrient’s use is definitely trending up, and there’s still more room for growth

It’s a question that’s asked of a lot of nutrients in soils across Eastern Can­ada: Is there enough in my soil, or isn’t there? Discussions surrounding deficiencies and field levels typically target macronutrients like potash and phosphorus, or even other nutrients like nitrogen, or the micronutrients magnesium, manganese, boron, zinc or copper. But sulphur sits […] Read more


Figure 1. An overhead look at the level of control that cereal rye has provided when it was seeded the previous fall (mid- November) at 60 lbs./ac. (left) compared to no cereal rye planted (right).

PHOTOS: Pest Patrol: Cover crops versus glyphosate-resistant weeds

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Q: Can cover crops be an effective tool to manage glyphosate-resistant weeds? A: My colleague Dr. Clarence Swanton (University of Guelph) used to say that based on research he did in the 1980s, one should not expect to control weeds with cover crops. Their utility was in preventing soil erosion and improving soil health but […] Read more

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


I’m using my family farmer instinct to see what is worth pursuing,” explains research manager Lana Shaw.

Crowd research

Is this crowdfunded program a sign of the way farmers will have to go to get the research that governments are slow to pay for?

It was a cold, mid-April morning near Redvers in the south-east corner of a decidedly un-spring-like Saskatchewan, and the flat fields all around us were still blanketed in white. Between the snow and the clouds, you could hardly tell where the sky ended and the earth began. I had arranged to meet research manager Lana […] Read more

McCain’s one-year multi-species blend contains 13 species, including spring oats, balansa clover, Austrian winter peas and sunflower.

2 covers — 25 species

P.E.I. potato growers are exploring diverse approaches to solve their low organic matter levels with cover crops

Soil organic matter has become a popular topic of discussion in the past year. In Ontario, a report from late 2016 indicated soil organic matter (SOM) levels in many parts of the province are at 15-year lows, coinciding with increasing interest in the use of cover crops, reduced- or no-till management and longer rotations in […] Read more