GFM Network News


Agritruth’s Adam Gurr (l) and Stephen Vajdik hope to generate robust, field-scale data on everything from nutrient management to varieties and product testing.

Going big with on-farm research

The plots may be supersized, but the questions that privately owned Agritruth Research looks to answer could have come from any farmer in Western Canada

Reading Time: 6 minutes If you go driving down Highway 110 east of Brandon, Man., you probably won’t notice you’re passing a research farm. There are no chemical or seed company signs dotting the field edge, nor any grids of those tiny, distinct plots that are normally a dead giveaway that agricultural research is underway. There is no small-batch […] Read more

An example of a cover crop seed mixture in the U.S., where some producers are using cocktails of 20 or more species. However the U of M’s Yvonne Lawley warns about brassicas such as tillage radish, which might contribute to diseases including clubroot in canola.

Season too short for cover crops? Maybe not

They could have a fit for Western Canada, but they require just as much planning as any other crop choice

Reading Time: 5 minutes Open just about any U.S. farming publication and you won’t read for long before seeing the words “cover crop.” There’s been an explosion of interest in the practice of sowing a cheap mixture of seed to cover the soil after harvest, and then seeding directly into it the following year. The benefits go beyond soil […] Read more


Canada’s soils still degrading, albeit more slowly

Reading Time: 4 minutes The rate of degradation of soils in Canada has slowed, but it still is happening at a significant rate and there is still a lot to learn. There are no soil-perfect systems yet for crop production, attendees at the Summit on Canadian Soil Health held recently in Guelph heard repeatedly. No-till farming has declined in […] Read more

A giant leap for soil kind

Soil-health advocates like Jocelyn Velestuk look forward to new technology to help make better decisions to improve both soil health and whole-farm profitability

Reading Time: 4 minutes Jocelyn Velestuk did a lot of spitting the first time she met her future father-in-law. It made a lasting impression. As she describes it, Velestuk and her then fiancé and his father were touring around the farm she would soon marry into. Being a soil scientist, Velestuk scooped up handfuls of topsoil here and there, […] Read more


Audette’s experience with commercial grain production proved a big help as the four Agri-Fusion farmers transitioned to organic.

Large, commercial… and organic

Agri-Fusion says its choice to go organic is a business no-brainer, with a collaborative new management design to make sure it pays

Reading Time: 6 minutes Agri-Fusion’s four owners of Quebec largest organic farm never looked back at their choice to go organic. Whether it’s wheat, corn, soybeans, beans or peas, organic crops earn them twice as much per acre as conventional crops, and they cost much less to produce. It’s a point I heard again from 67-year-old Gilles Audette, one […] Read more

Crown rust is considered one of the worst crop diseases since its strains can mutate to acquire new virulence and resistance.

Crown rust comes after oats

Part of the management challenge comes from its sources and its choice as a cover crop

Reading Time: 5 minutes In a production agriculture world where corn and soybeans have dominated the scene for much of the last 25 years, oats are supposedly one of the forgotten crops. There have been attempts to revive the grain’s standing, including the formation of the Oat and Barley Council of Ontario back in the early 2000s, as well […] Read more


Deciding on cover crop blends

Figuring out what to use in a cover crop blend can be an intimidating process. What species to use? What seeding rate? When should they be seeded? All would influence how the blend would look, work, and the success of it. There is some science involved, but making it work is as much art as[...]
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Soil health sensor project largest in North America

Reading Time: 3 minutes A new $2-million soil health research project aims to figure out the impact of different cropping systems on the environment. Research will also be conducted on crop productivity relating to soil health. The result should be new knowledge on productivity of traditional cropping systems versus those with cover crops. The project, at the new Soil[...]
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Europe may be considering robotics and advance sensing systems, but growers can help with cover crops and rethinking the traffic on their fields.

What’s the deal with soil compaction?

Other countries are tackling compaction head on. Here, there’s hardly a whisper

Reading Time: 7 minutes Compaction has somehow become one of those topics that gets scooped up off the back-burner from time to time. It gets discussed and sometimes it even gets preached about, and then it fades away again until next time. It isn’t a new topic. Nor is it particularly controversial. Everyone agrees that compaction causes damage to[...]
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From do-it-yourself modifications to manufactured units, the machinery for inter-seeding covers is evolving at a remarkable pace.

Four growers who believe in inter-seeding into standing corn

"It’s something that we have to start doing and advertising to the consumer," Gerard Grubb, Mildmay farmer

Reading Time: 11 minutes As trends go, this one is picking up steam. Two years ago, it seemed a novelty. You were lucky to see it outside of a few test locations such as at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, although there were also isolated growers who had become believers, especially in Quebec. Today, the movement has clearly spread, not[...]
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