GFM Network News


James Oberhofer took this picture at noon on August 15, 2018. With the smoke-dimmed sun, lights were essential in the yards and fields and on the highway.

Canola growth stalled under a shroud of smoke

Alberta canola farmers dealing with another late harvest in 2018 estimate that smoky skies in August delayed their crop by at least 10 days. Is that possible?

It was an eerie orange noon on August 15 and James Oberhofer needed to turn his truck lights on. When the agronomist for Six Strong Agronomy tried to scout under a canola field canopy, he saw only darkness. Things were in a stunning standstill as Alberta suffered the worst day in what had been a […] Read more

Soil pH is often highly variable within fields, as demonstrated in this map of a single central Alberta field. The range is from red (pH of 4-4.5) to dark lime green (pH of 7.5-8). That is why grid sampling is an important step in lime application.

If you have low soil pH, should you lime?

It can take tonnes of lime per acre to move soil pH from 5 to 7, but improved fertilizer availability for all crops, better nodulation for pulse crops and alfalfa, and reduced risk from clubroot in canola can make the investment worthwhile

“Finally.” That word got special emphasis when Doug Penney was asked about liming. “It has become a hot topic… finally.” Penney, a long-serving Alberta Agriculture fertility specialist and now semi-retired crop consultant, says many fields in Western Canada — especially in Alberta — probably would have benefited from lime a long time ago. Fields most […] Read more


Flax Council of Canada joins up with Canola Council

Winnipeg | CNS Canada – The Flax Council of Canada has announced a new operating structure; restructuring its board and joining forces with the Canola Council of Canada. The move comes six months after the council shuttered its Winnipeg office and reduced its services. “It’s clear that Canadian flax has tremendous potential, both on the […] Read more

“I can’t tell you how often I hear, ‘Oh, it’s just a fungicide, fog it in. Pesticide drift is pesticide drift, whether it has instant visual damage or economic damage, or not.” – Jason Deveau, 'Spray Guy'

‘Spray Guy’ puts the nix on ‘cavalier’ fungicide application

Fungicide drift should earn the same prevention as herbicide, according to one of Western Canada’s best-known spraying experts

Most farmers are more worried about drift if they’ve got herbicide in the tank, but at least one spray expert says those same concerns should apply to fungicide and insecticide. “I can’t tell you how often I hear, ‘Oh, it’s just a fungicide, fog it in,” said Jason Deveau, the fondly nicknamed “spray guy” from […] Read more


Peas provide a pulse option in the black soil region but recent wet years have increased disease problems.

Pulses. More than a break crop in your canola rotation

Tours and events this summer will help you check which pulse crops can diversify your farm’s rotation

Rob Stone says red lentils “drive the bus” on his farm at Davidson, Sask. Granted, he says canola does quite a bit of driving too. But the point is this: his pulse crop is so much more than just a break crop for canola. Stone seeds about one-third of his land to lentils, on average. […] Read more

The covers of Australia’s and Canada’s wheat brochures both use an image of a combine harvesting, but that’s where the similarities end.

Out-competed

Again, the Australians are showing us how we’d market our crops if we had our act together

Is the Canadian grains sector being out-marketed globally? This is a question that has nagged me since February 16, the date the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre released new information brochures for Australian wheat, barley, oats, canola and pulses. “These publications are aimed at international purchasers of Australian grain,” the association (AEGIC) said in its […] Read more


Four steps for better seeding this spring

It’s an age-old conundrum: You need to expand so you acquire more acres of land to get more return, but then the rush to get a crop in means seeding some acres too early, too late, or too fast. “There’s a lot of potential for making a mistake when it comes to seeding,” said Harry[...]
Read more

A professor of plant science at the University of McGill expects the “microbiome” to do as much for crops in the 21st century as chemical inputs in the 20th century.

Giving crop roots a boost

Researchers can now identify the microscopic organisms on which roots depend, and are discovering ways to make their relationships even more effective

For as long as plants have been growing on land, their roots have shared a symbiotic relationship with microbes in the soil. Arbuscules — the microscopic nutrient-gathering hairs of mycorrihizae — have been found connected to 400-million-year-old plant root fossils from the Rhynie chert in Scotland. A paper by Winfried Remy et al, published in[...]
Read more


Mark Belmonte, researcher and associate professor at the University of Manitoba, uses big data and next-generation genetic sequencing to develop crop protection products. One new result is an RNA interference molecule that can stop sclerotinia stem rot.

Species-specific crop protection

RNA interference provides a new method of pest control, using tools so precise they hit only the target insect or disease

“We like to call sclerotinia the bully,” says Mark Belmonte. And stopping a bully is not easy. The pathogen attacks fast, it moves quickly through the plant and it can do heavy yield damage right away. “Because it acts with brute force and involves multiple genes, sclerotinia is difficult to study and get a good[...]
Read more

Plants that look healthy can also have small clubroot galls. While these galls may not cause much yield loss for this plant, they will produce billions of spores that can be spread around and cause yield loss the next time canola goes on that field.

Dealing with a flush of clubs

Clubroot specialists across the Prairies are sharing how to slow the disease’s spread, and how to keep it down when it does arrive

It turns out 200 kilometres of forest is not an impenetrable barrier for clubroot. Canola growers in the Peace River region had crossed their fingers, but knew deep down it couldn’t hold. “Most growers knew we weren’t living in a bubble up here,” says Gregory Sekulic, Canola Council of Canada agronomy specialist for the region.[...]
Read more