GFM Network News


“Snirt” was a common sight in Manitoba soybean fields last winter.

Avoiding another year of ‘snirt’

North Dakota farmers and researchers are finding success in controlling soybean field erosion by planting cover crops

“Snirt” became a buzzword in Prairie agricultural journalism in 2017 and 2018, and for good reason: the dirty snow lining ditches along highways was a telling indicator that there had been a soybean field there last season. It’s a problem across the Red River Valley region in particular, where soybean producers are used to tilling […] Read more

Tillage is the number one soil-degrading process, says one University of Manitoba professor.

Tillage erosion costing farmers billions

The pressure to get an early start on newer crops such as corn and soybeans encourages tillage practices which may not be sustainable

This past spring was one of the worst on record for so-called “snirt,” or dirty snow, in ditches across the Prairies — a sign that wind is moving loose topsoil to the margins of fields. While snirt is an indication that fields are susceptible to wind erosion, however, University of Manitoba soil science professor David […] Read more


A lot of people aren’t food insecure because there isn’t enough food. They are food insecure because they can’t access it, says Dr. Evan Fraser with the University of Guelph.

Trust the opportunity

All the Chicken Littles are wrong. The sky isn’t falling, and we aren’t running out of food, says Evan Fraser. “We live in a world where there is enough.”

Dr. Evan Fraser wears multiple hats at the University of Guelph, although “hats” doesn’t seem a big enough word. Fraser is Canada research chair in global food security, scientific director of the university’s acclaimed Food from Thought research initiative, and much more. Fraser is also director of the Arrell Food Institute, whose mission statement conveys […] Read more

The damage that over-tillage does is plain to see in soil quality.

The news on soil health

This time, will farmers finally break the “build-up then burn-out” cycle of soil management? The Ontario Soil Network thinks the answer may be yes

Don Lobb takes a very dim view of how mankind has treated soil over the millennia, but he is slightly more hopeful for this generation, due both to our constantly growing body of knowledge about soils, and to farmers who are not only willing to experiment with better ways to take care of the soil, […] Read more


For these workers inside a ZZ2 avocado pack house, South Africa’s strategy of building its economy on agriculture is providing stable employment and family incomes.

Africa feeding Africa

While North America’s farmers pin their career hopes on the need to feed a hungry Africa, that continent’s farmers are making plans of their own

A core belief in North American agriculture is that our farmers must produce ever more food if we are to have any hope of feeding the world, particularly areas like Africa where the population is growing so rapidly. The numbers are indeed staggering. According to the Population Reference Bureau, Africa’s population will hit 2.5 billion […] Read more

The carbon tax

Farmers see themselves as the good guys in the carbon debate, with good reason. Is agriculture going to pay anyway?

It had been another frigid day in Manitoba, snow swirling as farmers and ranchers gathered at a downtown hotel, but once inside it didn’t take long for the temperature to rise. They’d gathered for Keystone Agricultural Producers annual general meeting, where one issue outpaced the rest — carbon pricing. It was standing room only, with […] Read more


So history repeats itself

Consider for a moment what Canadian agriculture would look like today if farmers had never made the switch from horse power to tractor power. It isn’t such an absurd idea if you understand why farmers here actually resisted mechanization when it first appeared roughly a century ago. An interesting read is the text of the […] Read more

Young farmers talk about their future

We find out what these university students are thinking as they prepare to head home to the farm. They know their opportunities are great, but their challenges are humbling too

A gaggle in ball caps, T-shirts, jeans and flannel politely stumbled off the bus. They’re third-year students in the University of McGill’s farm management and technology program, and they were on a tour of Ontario farms. They stopped at mine to discuss business structure, succession and the future of agriculture. On closer look and listen, […] Read more


Haridenyat Gill is investing C$100,000 in a modern greenhouse to produce organic vegetables. He admits that it is hard to wean himself from the highly subsidized wheat and rice production.

The slow death of the Green Revolution

Even as the negative impacts of the great Green Revolution pile up, there is hope

It saved one billion people from starvation. It won a Nobel peace prize for its founder, and it transformed India, all by discovering new varieties of high-yield rice and wheat, and new ways of growing them. Yet today, 50 years later, the Green Revolution is sputtering. Those high-yield crops have touched off ecological disasters, and […] Read more

Spiny annual sow thistle is now the No. 6 weed, up a full 28 spots from the last survey.

Why weed surveys matter

Regular inventories across the Prairies provide a valuable indication of emerging problems

Every decade or so since the mid-1970s, scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), with the help of many others, have co-ordinated and compiled weed surveys in each of the three Prairie provinces, counting, mapping, noting changes and marking trends. The most recent survey was conducted in 2014 and 2015 in Saskatchewan, with financial assistance […] Read more