GFM Network News


Supercluster backing canola protein production

Reading Time: 3 minutes The federally-backed research and development “supercluster” set up to boost Canada’s protein industries is funding work to wring more and better proteins out of canola seed. In Saskatoon on Wednesday, federal Industry Minister Navdeep Bains announced the Protein Industries Canada (PIC) supercluster has approved a new $27.6 million project to breed high-protein canola hybrids for […] Read more

A small change in temperature could cause more diseases and affect yields in more Canadian crops.

A new horizon for genome editing of crops

The goal is to enhance food security and environmental sustainability — everywhere

Reading Time: 5 minutes In the realm of food production, most people are unaware of just how far agriculture has come. Consider how many plants used for food thousands of years ago are still being used today, but are virtually unrecognizable. By the mid-1900s, selective breeding had become more scientific than ever, but it still required upwards of 15 […] Read more


Mark Belmonte, researcher and associate professor at the University of Manitoba, uses big data and next-generation genetic sequencing to develop crop protection products. One new result is an RNA interference molecule that can stop sclerotinia stem rot.

Species-specific crop protection

RNA interference provides a new method of pest control, using tools so precise they hit only the target insect or disease

Reading Time: 4 minutes “We like to call sclerotinia the bully,” says Mark Belmonte. And stopping a bully is not easy. The pathogen attacks fast, it moves quickly through the plant and it can do heavy yield damage right away. “Because it acts with brute force and involves multiple genes, sclerotinia is difficult to study and get a good […] Read more

Now there are tools that help you make better and more efficient crosses so you can focus your resources or impose selection earlier based on lab data.” — Rob Duncan, University of Manitoba

Still sifting through genes, but…

Plant breeding has always been about testing to see how one gene interacts with another, but today it can be done much more quickly

Reading Time: 4 minutes Today’s new generation of plant breeders are often called “gene jockeys,” although they’re actually more like cowboys rounding up “genotypes” into a common corral called a “genome.” Then they look for other genomes to add to the corral so they can improve the herd. Previous generations of plant breeders did the same thing, but they […] Read more


Guide Health: Drugs and pregnancy: To take or not to take?

List any medications you are taking and discuss with your doctor prior to conception

Reading Time: 2 minutes For pregnant women, taking drugs can be a real concern. They may need the drug to control or treat a condition, but there can be a balancing act between their health and their baby’s safety. It is estimated that two to three per cent of babies are born with birth defects which can range from […] Read more

People are more willing to make investments in technology when commodity prices go down.” — Mike McGuire, Monsanto Canada

Do biotech traits still pay?

Input costs are up, soybean prices are down, but the biotech sector aims to convince growers that the economics of biotech are still in their favour

Reading Time: 8 minutes With lower commodity prices looming over the grain and oilseed sector, more farmers this winter are asking whether that expensive bag of seed is really the smartest buy. At the very least, they say, it’s time for a fresh look at trait economics. The companies that produce this seed charge top dollar for it, and […] Read more


The wild side of chickpeas

New genes from wild relatives will make chickpeas a better option for more farmers

Reading Time: 4 minutes It wasn’t all that long ago in Canada that it was hard to find hummus in a grocery store — unless you went to a specialty shop. “Now hummus is everywhere!” says Bunyamin Tar’an, associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan. “Any food store you go to has it, so it’s a growing market, and […] Read more

When growers find Western corn rootworm in their fields, they need to report it as soon as they can to help identify those farms, and then develop workable strategies.

It isn’t here… yet

Will Bt-resistant corn rootworm cross the border into Canada?

Reading Time: 5 minutes Growers in the western U.S. Corn Belt have a real fight on their hands, and they know it. Corn rootworm is showing resistance to Bt hybrids. From Illinois across to South Dakota and down into Kansas, the Cry3Bb1 protein that is the foundation of some Bt genetics is under threat. Researchers now say that pyramiding […] Read more