GFM Network News


A field of winter wheat that has chess growing within it prior to harvest.

Pest Patrol: Chess moves on winter wheat crop

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Reading Time: 2 minutes [Question:] I had a weed called “chess” in my winter wheat crop at harvest. How did it get here? Is it a problem? And how do I get rid of it? [Answer:] How did it get here? Chess (scientifically known as Bromus secalinus) is also sometimes referred to as “cheat” or “rye brome.” It is […] Read more

Sonke Claussen is the acting president of the new Ontario Professional Agri-Contractors Association.

New organization represents growing agri-contracting sector

Ontario Professional Agri-Contractors Association looks forward to a "united voice"

Reading Time: 2 minutes A new organization has been formed to represent agriculture contractors in Ontario. The Ontario Professional Agri-Contractors Association (OPACA) held its first meeting Sept. 13 in Woodstock, with about 25 people attending. “We were looking forward to having a united voice,” says OPACA’s Acting President, Sonke Claussen, who runs a diverse agriculture contracting business with his […] Read more


The damage that over-tillage does is plain to see in soil quality.

The news on soil health

This time, will farmers finally break the “build-up then burn-out” cycle of soil management? The Ontario Soil Network thinks the answer may be yes

Reading Time: 6 minutes Don Lobb takes a very dim view of how mankind has treated soil over the millennia, but he is slightly more hopeful for this generation, due both to our constantly growing body of knowledge about soils, and to farmers who are not only willing to experiment with better ways to take care of the soil, […] Read more



Clubroot in canola.

Clubroot calls for diligence, not alarm

The surprise discovery of clubroot in Ontario will force canola growers to adapt to the disease now in order to avoid future complications

Reading Time: 6 minutes In the mid-2000s, Albert Tenuta raised a few eyebrows when he referred to the discovery of soybean cyst nematode east of Toronto as good news. The field crops pathologist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) meant that once the pest was identified, it could be monitored, and growers could better […] Read more

The road to using variable rate can be overwhelming for many farmers, whether you’re using it for planting, spraying or managing specific zones in a field.

Who’s to blame?

Variable-rate technology is getting adopted, but not nearly as quickly as many farmers would like. Finally, this may soon change.

Reading Time: 9 minutes When variable-rate technology first came onto our radars roughly 20 years ago, it was supposed to revolutionize agriculture. We’re still waiting. But maybe not for much longer. In fact, maybe we don’t have to wait any longer at all. The advanced equipment systems needed for variable-rate technology have started to become available in the past […] Read more


Canola plants with clubroot galls from a field near Verner, Ont., about 50 km west of North Bay. (OntarioCanolaGrowers.ca)

Clubroot arrives in Ontario canola

Reading Time: 2 minutes Ontario has its first case of clubroot disease in canola — and further testing has confirmed clubroot in canola fields across the province. During the 2016 growing season an agronomist in the Verner area of northern Ontario examined a canola field and found the distinctive clubbed roots, said Meghan Moran, canola and edible bean specialist […] Read more

OMAFRA headquarters in Guelph. (Photo courtesy OMAFRA)

Ontario names new top ag bureaucrat

Reading Time: < 1 minute Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has a new deputy minister. Greg Meredith will become deputy minister on Jan. 9. A deputy minister is a ministry’s chief civil servant, managing its implementation of government policy. Meredith replaces Dr. Deb Stark, who recently retired as deputy minister, capping a 30-year career in public […] Read more


Figure 1.

Pest Patrol: Farmers are reducing weed seed return after cereal harvest

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Reading Time: 3 minutes I was driving down a long country road and noticed two large fields where winter wheat had been harvested almost eight weeks earlier. Each had a beautiful thick canopy of oats. Figure 1 (at top). An oat cover crop planted almost eight weeks ago following winter wheat harvest. That same day, when I came across […] Read more

The use of cover crops such as radish has spread rapidly in Ontario in the past five years. Ontario’s environmental commissioner wants to see that continue. (John Greig photo)

OMAFRA seen needing a soil health ‘tuneup’

Reading Time: 3 minutes Ontario’s environmental commissioner is calling on the provincial ag ministry to rebuild its soil health expertise and find ways to encourage farmers to adopt soil-friendly production practices, to deal with what she calls a “catastrophic” loss in soil organic matter levels. The report recommends better soil carbon level monitoring and 10-year programs to financially encourage […] Read more