GFM Network News


A field on the Van Arkel farm being readied for next year’s Living Labs (AAFC) trials.

On-farm science

There’s undeniable value in collaborative on-farm research, with gains for both growers and researchers

Reading Time: 8 minutes Laurent “Woody” Van Arkel won’t deny it — he wants to know more about his soils, his crops and the interactions with fertilizers and manure and cover crops. And he tries hard to keep learning, working not only with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) but also with a master’s student […] Read more

Keeping the corn plant weed and stress free early allows the plant to form a larger cob, up to its genetic potential.

Focus on the ear leaf in corn production

Keeping the corn plant weed and stress free early allows the plant to form a larger cob, up to its genetic potential

Reading Time: 6 minutes It seems every growing season brings something new for growers to manage. Sometimes it’s a new disease or its anticipated arrival. Other years, it’s learning to cope with the impact of weather conditions, or a sudden weed flare-up. It’s a testament to modern agricultural science that the more we learn, the more questions we ask. […] Read more


Strip till goes mainstream

Improvements in guidance and a focus on soil health are the primary drivers

Reading Time: 7 minutes The concept is simple. With just one pass, run a tillage implement through the field that clears a strip of residue and builds a small ridge that will get the crop off to a fast start next spring because you can plant straight into it, and it will warm faster than the rest of the […] Read more

Sudden death syndrome is expected to worsen in southwestern Ontario soybeans and root rot could also be a serious concern this year if the conditions at planting time are wet.

Soybean and corn disease threats in Eastern Canada

Growers will need to use all their experience, best management practices and new tools to successfully combat disease in 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes Another crop season is upon us and certain disease threats stand out in soybeans and corn in Eastern Canada. “SDS (sudden death syndrome) is expected to worsen in southwestern Ontario soybeans and root rot could be a serious concern this year if the conditions at planting time are wet,” notes Dr. Owen Wally, research scientist […] Read more


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