GFM Network News


Red clover has been a standard in cover crops and there are those who still favour it.

Crunching the numbers on cover crops

The economics can be a challenge, but passionate farmers believe the longer you stick with covers, the more they’ll pay

Reading Time: 6 minutes In the past five to 10 years, few topics have been as polarizing as cover crops. Advocates praise their benefits. Detractors cast doubts. And in the midst of it all, there’s a flood of technological change, whether that’s something simple, like switching from red clover to a different species like oats, or whether it’s going […] Read more

Under dry conditions, black medic growth is limited, meaning it won’t compete with field crops for nutrients.

A cover crop ‘failure,’ but the story doesn’t end there

Black medic is a soil improver, and can be a good fit in situations where nitrogen is limited

Reading Time: 3 minutes A cover crop that self-seeds year after year, grows whenever environmental conditions are right and doesn’t compete with principal crops. Sounds like a dream, but it exists: it’s called black medic. It’s been planted in Western Canada since the 1990s, but it’s not widely used, and in fact “it’s kind of a failure,” says Martin […] Read more


A field on the Van Arkel farm being readied for next year’s Living Labs (AAFC) trials.

On-farm science

There’s undeniable value in collaborative on-farm research, with gains for both growers and researchers

Reading Time: 8 minutes Laurent “Woody” Van Arkel won’t deny it — he wants to know more about his soils, his crops and the interactions with fertilizers and manure and cover crops. And he tries hard to keep learning, working not only with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) but also with a master’s student […] Read more

The easiest fit in regenerative agriculture is for livestock graziers with no annual crops.

Where marketing meets agronomy

Is regenerative agriculture a feel-good slogan, or an honest-to-goodness scientific advance?

Reading Time: 7 minutes It has taken social media by storm, as well as all manner of other discussions about food and how we produce it. But, really, what is regenerative agriculture, and why has it become such a focal point? Skeptics may dismiss it as just another fad, something manufacturers and processors are promoting while filling web pages […] Read more


Small grains like rye are the focus of a pilot project to encourage growers to lengthen their rotations with cereals.

Building interest for small grain cereals

This new initiative hopes to grow demand for small grains by recognizing their environmental benefits

Reading Time: 5 minutes It’s everything growers could ask for. Imagine market demand that’s driven by acknowledging the healthfulness of the crops you grow and their environmental and sustainability benefits, plus a premium return on investment so you can afford to plant even more. How many times have growers wanted this kind of market pull in exchange for excellence […] Read more

Bayer’s cross symbol hangs in a terminal at Frankfurt International Airport. (Typhoonski/iStock Editorial/Getty Images)

Bayer launches carbon capture pilot for U.S., Brazilian farmers

Chem and seed firm expects to expand plan to other countries

Reading Time: 2 minutes Chicago | Reuters — Bayer launched a pilot program in the United States and Brazil on Tuesday that will pay farmers for capturing carbon in cropland soils, making it the latest agriculture company to capitalize on environmental initiatives. The company seeks to enroll about 1,200 row crop growers in its Bayer Carbon Initiative in the […] Read more


Cover crops can get as complex as you want but the best advice is always to start slow and simple.

New directions in cover crops

Today, factors like microbial interactions and soil quality are influencing choices and practices

Reading Time: 6 minutes In the midst of a renaissance in soil health, researchers, agronomists and extension personnel have been pushing the message that everything a grower does in a field is connected to everything else. Fertility is linked to planting depth, just as mycorrhizal fungi are connected to weed management. Nothing happens on its own without some effect […] 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


Researchers with AAFC say they are close to developing a perennial grain and forage rye.

Perennial cereal rye 2.0

After setbacks with an earlier program, Lethbridge researchers are making progress in developing a dual-purpose grain and forage rye

Reading Time: 5 minutes It sounds ideal like the ideal crop. It produces grain every year, has no annual seed and planting costs, provides excellent weed control and you can also use it for forage. Too good to be true? Maybe not. Efforts to develop perennial wheat continue their slow pace with commercialization pegged at around 15 years from […] Read more

A cereal rye cover crop established after corn silage in the fall of 2018.

Pest Patrol: Planning for cover crops

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Reading Time: 2 minutes Q: I want to plant cover crops after harvest. Should I be concerned about any herbicide residues that would make it harder to get them established? A: Two important factors influence the potential for herbicide carryover that could negatively affect establishment of a desired cover crop: The sensitivity of the cover crop to herbicide residues. […] Read more