GFM Network News


When the wheat board monopoly ended, so did clearance associations reporting how much grain was being loaded to which vessels arriving or waiting at the West Coast and Thunder Bay.

Open market, but not-so-open information

Five years post-CWB, farmers are still waiting for information that puts them on a more even position with the companies buying their grain

Reading Time: 5 minutes The characters in the play “Waiting for Godot” and Prairie grain market transparency apparently have something in common — waiting for something that never arrives. It’s been five years since the end of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly, when one of the goals was to expose Prairie wheat and barley growers to the mechanisms of […] Read more

The sustainability conundrum

In the Western world at least, there’s a big demand for ‘sustainably sourced’ products. What that means, or receiving a premium for them, is another matter

Reading Time: 5 minutes The food giants want it on their labels, and in the annual reports and other information they send to their investors. PepsiCo, Walmart, General Mills, McDonald’s, Unilever, Sara Lee and Nestlé are among those citing the years 2020 or 2025 as targets for achieving their goals of buying “sustainably sourced” products. But what does that […] Read more


Alberta farm groups want provincial action on unharvested crops

Reading Time: 2 minutes A coalition of Alberta farm groups calling itself “Team Alberta” is meeting with the province’s agriculture minister and representatives from the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) on Wednesday seeking immediate action regarding approximately one million unharvested acres still sitting in farmers’ fields. They are recommending that farmers in the hardest hit areas of Alberta be […] Read more

The Western Grain Research Foundation has assisted in the development of more than 200 new varieties since 1981, but will no longer receive direct checkoff funding after July 31, 2017.

Checkoffs to become a checkerboard

The plan is for a single checkoff next August 1, but will different provincial recipients all go in the same research direction?

Reading Time: 5 minutes What a tangled web. That’s one way to describe the system of checkoffs to support cereal research in Western Canada. From a centralized system administered by a single agency, the plan has splintered into six separate checkoffs and five different producer-run wheat and barley commissions in three provinces. This patchwork will simplify a little on […] Read more


Randy Dennis (l), chief grain inspector for Canada talks to farmers attending the grain grading seminar in Yorkton, Sask.

Getting the scoop on grain grading

Farmers get a better understanding of frost damage, colour, mildew, sprouting and other downgrading factors

Reading Time: 3 minutes Farmers in Saskatchewan and Alberta recently had the opportunity to learn hands-on about how their grain is graded after delivery to their local elevator. In July, grain-grading seminars were held for farmers in Yorkton and Swift Current, Sask. for the first time as a joint effort between the Canadian International Grains Institute, Canadian Grain Commission […] Read more

Wheat wants to grow on the Prairies; it fits into the climate and soils that we have. If you do the right things you can do well with wheat.” — Kevin Auch, Alberta Wheat Commission

Wheat’s turn to shine

Despite shrinking government support in recent years, there have been remarkable research payoffs, and new investments promise even more

Reading Time: 5 minutes High prices have made some of the advances in canola yields look pretty good in recent years, masking the fact that average Prairie wheat yield increases have been even higher. But with new private and public research investments and recognition that it’s not just a necessary part of the rotation, wheat is starting to grab […] Read more


“It takes a little time to build that trust,” Jochum admits. But taking control of marketing increases his control of his farm’s future.

Active marketing on the farm

On these farms, marketing is no longer a matter of waiting for the right price

Reading Time: 7 minutes No matter how closely they watch the skies, farmers can’t control the weather. Nor do they have any influence over the amount of volatility in their markets. But pricing? Well that, says Irmi Critcher, is one aspect of farming that producers can exercise some control over, and that she works hard at. “You can put […] Read more

Five new winter wheats evaluated at Cigi

Flour yield and colour have been found to be better than in U.S. varieties

Reading Time: 3 minutes Investigation of the quality of Canada Western Red Winter wheat varieties has been ongoing at the Canadian International Grains Institute in support of the industry with an aim to increase awareness of its quality potential for both customers and producers. In 2014, Cigi created a winter wheat technical specialist position with funding from the Alberta […] Read more


Making change for cereal crop development

In the wake of deregulation, the cereals sector has needed to reorganize itself, and so far it seems like the major pieces have been picked up

Reading Time: 7 minutes When the Canadian Wheat Board was losing the single desk, there was no shortage of dire predictions about what the fallout might be. Even many of those in favour of an open market conceded that there were a lot of moving parts, and it was going to be necessary to proceed with caution lest very […] Read more

The WCWGA’s Blair Rutter says the handling system got too small under the CWB, and he sees more competition from new elevators such as those being built by CWB successor G3.

An open market is still a work in progress

A truly open market requires transparency of information, but the veil is still being lifted

Reading Time: 5 minutes When the Canadian Wheat Board lost its monopoly in 2012, Blair Rutter predicted that it would take 10 years to adjust to an open market system. “Moving from a centrally planned system to a market economy, it takes a while,” the executive director at the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association said in an interview. “We […] Read more