GFM Network News


Miles Dyck studied sulphur deficiency at the Breton Plots, a long-term crop rotation research site established in 1930.

Nutrient balance key to avoiding sulphur deficient soils

Production of more high-sulphur demand crops such as pulses and canola is creating a shortage in some fields

In order for any crop to use fertilizer efficiently, it needs to have all of its nutrient deficiencies met, says Miles Dyck, an associate professor of soil science in the department of renewable resources at the University of Alberta. The most common nutrient deficiencies in Western Canada are nitrogen and phosphorus, but because of the […] 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


Global fertilizer market prices vary

CNS Canada — A mixed bag for fertilizer prices is expected over the next few months, as some continue to increase while others should drop, according to an analyst. “The fertilizer market has remained pretty firm over the past six months… we had kind of anticipated some declines across all the different nutrients, (but) they’ve […] Read more




Farming Smarter deep banded immobile nutrients at a depth of six inches using a seed drill with a basic stealth opener system.

Research digs into the question of deep banding

The practice could make immobile nutrients more available for three major crops

The jury is still out on whether deep banding fertilizer is worth the time and money — but researchers across Alberta are hoping to settle the debate once and for all. “I don’t think there’s any proof yet that deep banding works,” said Ken Coles, general manager of Farming Smarter. “We want to have some […] Read more


Access to crop input information provides a benchmark for both producers and retailers

Farm input pricing available in Canada, if you dig for it

Alberta, Ontario producers have better access to information

CNS Canada – When putting a crop in, costs can add up fast. Seed, chemicals, fertilizer are all expenses which vary year to year and it isn’t always easy to know if the price producers are paying is the best price. Producers can spend their time calling and visiting different retailers shopping around for the […] Read more

If you could convince wheat or barley to form nodules like these, you might be able to skip your annual nitrogen purchase.

The ‘Holy Grail’ in cereal technology

Can wheat and barley really be taught to act like pulses, and produce their own fertilizer?

A new research project funded by the Alberta Wheat Commission and the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission will try to answer a question that has bedevilled plant scientists for years: can cereal crops be made to fix their own nitrogen the way legumes do? The AWC is spending $100,000 to have Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists […] Read more


Grain handle drops in CN’s first quarter

Reduced traffic in grain, fertilizers and petroleum, against increased costs from “challenging operating conditions,” ate into the first-quarter bottom line for Canadian National Railway (CN). Montreal-based CN on Monday booked net income of $741 million on total revenues of $3.194 billion for its quarter ending March 31, down from $884 million on $3.206 billion in […] Read more

Global fertilizer prices set to fall

CNS Canada — Global fertilizer demand has been higher, leading to increased prices, but with more capacity coming online prices should start to fall, according to an analyst. “Urea prices globally have moved a little higher over the past few months. They’ve been relatively volatile, that’s just kind of a function of some better than […] Read more