GFM Network News


Quinoa planted into a stale seedbed and with the use of an experimental herbicide (left) compared to the same herbicide applied but without the use of a stale seedbed (right).

Pest Patrol: Try the stale seedbed approach for weeds in alternative crops

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Reading Time: 2 minutes Q: I’m looking to grow a new crop where there are few herbicides available to control weeds. Are there any non-chemical methods to reduce the number of weeds that could emerge in the crop? A: Since I began with OMAFRA in 2002, I’ve been involved in projects that investigated methods to control weeds in “new” […] Read more

Despite several years of successful winter grazing, Mike Buis has a Plan B of also baling a cover crop blend to have in reserve if weather doesn’t co-operate.

Another cover crop bonus – winter grazing

This Ontario producer lets the cows do the work, meaning benefits for both him and his crop-growing neighbour

Reading Time: 5 minutes Cover crops have caught on like wildfire for corn producers in the U.S. and Eastern Canada, mainly because of their benefits for soil health. But some producers have found another bonus — a source of feed for grazing cattle. Mike Buis has been doing it for about 15 years, seeing the overall benefits in animal […] Read more


Sulphur-deficient plants appear paler (foreground) than those with adequate S.

Sulphur gets hot

The nutrient’s use is definitely trending up, and there’s still more room for growth

Reading Time: 5 minutes It’s a question that’s asked of a lot of nutrients in soils across Eastern Can­ada: Is there enough in my soil, or isn’t there? Discussions surrounding deficiencies and field levels typically target macronutrients like potash and phosphorus, or even other nutrients like nitrogen, or the micronutrients magnesium, manganese, boron, zinc or copper. But sulphur sits […] Read more

After more than 20 years of managing ECB, western bean cutworm has developed resistance.

20 years of Bt corn hybrids

Growers are armed with more powerful, more precise tools than ever in history — but the war on corn pests is far from over

Reading Time: 7 minutes In any discussion of agricultural biotechnology, Bt corn hybrids shine as a huge success. Launched in 1996 in the U.S. and Canada, their 20-plus years in eastern Canadian production are worth celebrating for their unparalleled control of European corn borer (ECB). The technology has performed precisely as designed — without the development of the resistance […] Read more


The impact of soybean cyst nematode on dry beans depends on the market class and potentially the specific variety.

Pest Patrol: Soybean cyst nematode in edible beans

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Reading Time: 2 minutes Have you ever had a dry bean crop that looked healthy but resulted in disappointing yields? Have you seen stunted or yellowing patches, but could not identify the cause? If so, you may want to look for soybean cyst nematode (SCN). Researchers in Ontario and the U.S. have shown that SCN is not just a […] Read more

An infestation along an old rail line and a field border.

PHOTOS: Pest Patrol: Reining in dog strangling vine

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Reading Time: 2 minutes Q: I’m seeing a weed called dog strangling vine along roadsides, in woodlots and creeping into agricultural fields. It seems quite invasive. How do I get rid of it? A: Your suspicions are correct. Dog strangling vine is invasive and is listed as a noxious weed under the Ontario Weed Control Act, and regulated as […] Read more


Growers who are considering multi-species cover crops should determine their specific goals: Is it to scavenge nutrients, help cycle them from subsoil or store them for future use?

Is it time you get started with a cover crop?

Cover crops may not be as simple as we used to think. But they aren’t that complex either

Reading Time: 6 minutes The funny thing about implementing change is that it’s possible to over-think a situation and become mired in the process of simply getting started. A person becomes so concerned with the challenges of the “how” that they begin to lose sight of the value of the “why.” In other words, getting started can be the […] 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


Plant stand losses increase significantly if rolling is delayed past the second trifoliate. Yield losses will occur.

Stressing soybeans may actually help

The big question is: what are you trying to achieve, more bushels? Or an easier harvest?

Reading Time: 6 minutes The search to improve field-crop production never ends. Just when you think science has reached its apex, a new input comes along, a new planting practice gets tested, a new combine design gets introduced. And, of course, somewhere a grower comes up with an idea that no one has really looked at before. In 2017, […] Read more

A young plant in winter wheat during early May.

Pest Patrol: Dealing with cleavers

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Reading Time: 2 minutes Q: I had a field of winter wheat with cleavers in it and it was a pain. What is the best way to get rid of this weed in winter wheat? A: I can’t think of a redeeming quality for cleavers, although apparently the fruit is considered one of the best substitutes for coffee (Malik […] Read more