GFM Network News


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


University of Guelph president Dr. Franco Vaccarino (right) and Ontario Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal sign a new research partnership agreement, with Guelph-area MPP Liz Sandals. (John Greig photo)

Ontario, U of Guelph renew ag research partnership

Reading Time: 2 minutes Up to $713 million in agriculture research will be funded at the University of Guelph over the next 10 years through a renewal of the university’s agreement with the provincial ag ministry. The new agreement has been updated to manage digital data and is aimed to provide a base from which to leverage more research […] Read more

After four serial rinses, in spite of the rinsate looking clean and being odour free, soybeans still exhibited cupping.

Continuous rinse system makes sprayer cleanouts easier

Here’s a new way to do sprayer cleanouts that saves time and is great for the environment

Reading Time: 7 minutes Certain jobs on the farm aren’t anybody’s favourites. Repairing a planter in the middle of a soybean field in early June is right up there on that list, and so is picking stones on just about any day. And up there with them is cleaning out the sprayer, which is another of the chores about […] Read more


Figure 1: Jimsonweed in a corn crop during October.

Pest Patrol: Dealing with jimsonweed

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Reading Time: 2 minutes Q: What weed is this, and how do I get rid of it? A: The weed in the picture (Figure 1 above) is jimsonweed (i.e. Datura stamonium), a member of the nightshade family. According to the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System, jimsonweed “contains toxic tropane alkaloids, which have caused poisoning and death in humans and […] Read more

Kim Jo Bliss credits her grandmother, Gladys Smith, with instilling the love of farming she carries with her today.

About the northwest

To this farmer, northwestern Ontario offers loads of advantages over the hustle of the southwest

Reading Time: 6 minutes Whether it’s through the longer days of spring and summer in northwestern Ontario or the darker nights that mark the passage of winter, Kim Jo Bliss puts a lot into every hour of every day. A full-time farmer, manager of the Emo Agricultural Research Station, a passionate advocate for farming, and a mentor for young […] Read more


Figure 1. Canada fleabane plants the following spring after surviving fall tillage. Note the plants have multiple branches at the base and were often 10 to15 cm taller than plants not exposed to fall tillage.

Pest Patrol: What have we learned in 2017 for managing glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane?

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA, Dr. Clarence Swanton, Dr. François Tardif and Peter Smith, University of Guelph

Reading Time: 2 minutes Multiple strategies are needed to control glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane. Experience has taught agronomists and farmers that simply tank mixing another mode of action won’t be a good enough long-term approach. Since 2016, we have evaluated different management tactics for Canada fleabane. The following are the results at our Oxford and Norfolk county field locations. Tillage […] Read more

The cover crop plot with the most complex blend of different species, including planting dates, method and rates.

PHOTOS: Farm Show demo digs deep on value of soil health

Roots, worm casts and different cover blends show amazing effects

Reading Time: < 1 minute Soil health has been a buzz phrase that’s gone from a whisper three to five years ago to a chorus that’s spreading across the agrifood industry. That goes to show the swinging of the pendulum away from plowing and aggressive tillage — and it seems to be gaining more advocates with each passing day. This […] Read more