GFM Network News


The Dowling farm has three New Holland combines — TR96 from 1991, a TR99 from 2000 and a CR970 from 2004. All three were part of the PAMI combine loss survey in 2019, and losses were about the same for each.

Old combines hold their own at harvest

A PAMI survey finds canola losses can be minimized by operators who understand their machines and how to set them

Reading Time: 6 minutes When the Dowling farm at MacDowall, Sask., runs any of its three New Holland combines of various vintages, canola losses out the back are basically the same. The three models are a TR96 from 1991, a TR99 from 2000 and a CR970 from 2004. “I was impressed with how consistent they were,” says Sheldon Dowling. […] Read more

Apothecia germinate from sclerotia in the soil. They are tiny but can be in great numbers, releasing billions of spores that go everywhere. The ones that land on canola petals are the concern for sclerotinia stem rot and are the target for fungicide applications.

How to keep sclerotinia infection to less than five per cent

New research shows fungicide applied at or just after 20 per cent flowering is still the best way to stop sclerotinia stem rot from shredding canola profits

Reading Time: 6 minutes Like a detective piecing together the timeline of a crime, Dwayne Hegedus has played and replayed the sequence of events from when a sclerotinia-infested petal drops onto a canola leaf to the all-is-lost cleaving of the cuticle. The scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Saskatoon now knows, genetically, what arrows the pathogen shoots and […] Read more


Jennifer and Michael Doelman grew this crop of canola and 4010-type forage peas on their farm at Renfrew, Ontario. They will “absolutely” try the crop again in 2020.

Two farmers make the case for pea-canola intercropping

Growing two crops in the same field sounds like it could be difficult, but these two farmers have figured it out and say the result is higher profit

Reading Time: 9 minutes Intercropping is an ancient farming practice. Farmers in Meso-america thousands of years ago started growing “the three sisters” — corn, beans and squash — together in the same fields, letting the symbiotic nature of their biologies provide an overall better result than growing them separately. Strong cornstalks provided a “pole” for the climbing beans. Beans […] Read more

Bob Bartley checks on his canola stand establishment in early June 2019.

Getting to higher canola emergence

With consistent depth, placement into warm, moist soils, and good competition against weeds, your canola fields can turn a higher percentage of seeds into mature, high-yielding plants

Reading Time: 7 minutes Bob and Shelley Bartley raised some eyebrows when Shelley shared photos of their seeding tool on Twitter. The farmers from Roland, Man., seed with a 35-year-old John Deere hoe box drill attached to a new John Deere cart. “I bought that John Deere 9450 hoe drill for $17,000 way back when,” Bob Bartley says. “We […] Read more


A new approach to phosphorus applications

With variable-rate application at soil-building rates, Scott Keller’s investment in phosphate fertility is paying dividends in higher yields, improved nutrient use efficiency and fewer days to maturity

Reading Time: 5 minutes Scott Keller didn’t fully appreciate the benefit of phosphorus fertilizer until he ran out a few times at seeding. If the drill tank petered out of prills part-way along a pass, he’d continue to the end of the field before filling up. It was phosphorus after all, not nitrogen. “But these missed strips stood out […] Read more

The long-term strategy for P management relies on building, maintaining or depleting soil P, based on soil test P concentration. Medium (M) would be around 15 ppm. High (H) would be around 30 ppm. Source: “4R Management of Phosphorus Fertilizer in the Northern Great Plains: A Review of the Scientific Literature,” by Cindy Grant and Don Flaten.

Phosphorus 101: The basic BMPs

Here are the basic best management practices for phosphorus fertilizer

Reading Time: 3 minutes Soil tests The Olsen (bicarb) test is effective across a wide range of soils, including the high pH calcareous soils common in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, while the Bray test is effective only in neutral to lower pH non-calcareous soils, as are found in parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Kelowna and modified Kelowna tests are also […] Read more


Shallow-rooted pulses such as peas and lentils not only add nitrogen but leave some deeper moisture for a following crop.

A sure-fire piece of crop advice

While there’s no ideal rotation for Western Canada, long-term studies show that over time, diversification will pay off

Reading Time: 3 minutes There are no silver bullets in agriculture — agro-ecosystems are too complex for any one tool to guarantee outcomes. All the same, some tools seem to have an outsized benefit. This holds true for pulses, according to a suite of research studies led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research scientist Yantai Gan, whose focus […] Read more

“A seeding rate that targets five to eight plants per square foot is like yield insurance,” says Autumn Barnes with the Canola Council of Canada.

What’s the best seeding rate for canola?

The optimal rate balances seed cost, in-season management costs and yield potential. Here's how farmers can set the ideal seeding rate for each field

Reading Time: 6 minutes If you want the ideal, uniform, early-established canola stand of five to eight plants per square foot, don’t rely on a scale. “When it comes to setting a seeding rate to achieve that stand, the common five pounds per acre is not precise enough,” says Autumn Barnes, agronomy specialist and stand establishment lead for the […] Read more


Canola Council resets course for ‘efficiencies’

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

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?

Reading Time: 5 minutes 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