GFM Network News


Cattle are an important part of the rotation on Agripastos Farm.

Conservation tillage driving Brazil’s corn and soybean explosion

No-till farm group says no-till is the key to long-term sustainable agriculture

Reading Time: 4 minutes Crop production in Brazil has made dramatic gains in recent decades — and there’s potential for plenty more, say advocates of no till and conservation tillage in the country. In fact, members of the Brazilian Federation of No-Till Farming say no till is the key to achieving a long-term sustainable agriculture without additional deforestation. Soybean […] Read more

Efforts to improve soil health are set back by long-standing and destructive soil management regimens.

Real work on soil health needs to be done

Fine speeches about our soil make us all feel good, but there's an increasing urgency for wider adoption

Reading Time: 5 minutes Soil health has received considerable attention in recent decades. There have been many champions who have promoted the benefits of good soil, farm organizations that have mounted campaigns to encourage its development and even Senate committees trying to help government recognize the urgency surrounding it. Yet reluctance to raise the bar on the subject remains. […] Read more


Covering roughly 10 hectares, the study included plots set out in a split-split format, meaning large plots were divided into smaller plots, with even smaller plots within those.

Farm like Scrooge

A long-term study suggests that penny-pinching can actually help the bottom line

Reading Time: 4 minutes Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research scientist Bruce Gossen says the 18-year study was boring, but its results weren’t. Gossen and his colleagues took a long-term look at the effects of cropping diversity and inputs at Scott, Sask., from 1996 to 2013, but they didn’t just evaluate yields. They also looked at disease, insect and weed […] Read more

“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

Reading Time: 5 minutes “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


McCain’s one-year multi-species blend contains 13 species, including spring oats, balansa clover, Austrian winter peas and sunflower.

2 covers — 25 species

P.E.I. potato growers are exploring diverse approaches to solve their low organic matter levels with cover crops

Reading Time: 6 minutes Soil organic matter has become a popular topic of discussion in the past year. In Ontario, a report from late 2016 indicated soil organic matter (SOM) levels in many parts of the province are at 15-year lows, coinciding with increasing interest in the use of cover crops, reduced- or no-till management and longer rotations in […] 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

Reading Time: 5 minutes 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


“If you don’t get the seed in the right environment on Day One, then you have already limited your yield potential.” – Gavin Porter, Cross Slot North America.

Cross slot seeding

Maybe it’s not a brand new idea, but this technology from New Zealand allows for revolutionary no-till seeding, fertilizer banding and uniform emergence

Reading Time: 6 minutes A common view in agriculture these days is that crop yields jumped more in the past 10 years than they did in the previous 30. And it isn’t just yield. There have been similar spurts too in the design of multi-hybrid planters, variable-rate seeding and newer transgenics. Yet at the same time, a few older […] Read more

Brothers Rob, Derek and Rick Kootstra aim to plant cover crops on every acre, every year.

Real sustainability

Integrating the benefits of his Ontario Soil Network membership into how he farms is helping Rick Kootstra find real sustainability

Reading Time: 5 minutes Like a lot of farmers, Rick Kootstra doesn’t see himself as an innovator or a leader. He just goes about his business. Thanks to the Ontario Soil Network, though, he does it with a lot of great connections with farmers who share similar goals and aspirations. Kootstra, along with his brothers Rob and Derek, works […] Read more


Figure 1. A September germinated seedling with its three main divided segments.

Pest Patrol: Controlling wild carrot in no till

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Reading Time: 3 minutes Q: I am a long-time no tiller. I have a problem with increasing populations of wild carrot, mostly in my (conventional) soybean fields. This year in Roundup Ready corn, I have applied up to three litres of Transorb 540 and still have green carrot at harvest-time. What is the solution? Do I need to do […] Read more

The consistently highest yields were on narrower row spacing, combined with high rates of side-banded N, but all row spacing — even 24 inches — produced viable yields as long as environmental conditions were conducive and weeds effectively controlled.

The best crop row spacing is…

A multi-year study suggests there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question

Reading Time: 6 minutes The question of the best row spacing has been asked even more often in recent years, and it turns out that the answer is the same as for many other questions in farming — “It depends.” But on what? A multi-year study by researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Indian Head Agricultural Research […] Read more