GFM Network News


Soil micronutrients get a closer look

There’s a growing realization that soil fertility means more than just N, P and K

Reading Time: 5 minutes Some days, it’s hard to keep track of the latest word on soil health and fertility. One minute the word on sulphur is that it’s no longer a secondary nutrient and that’s it right up there with nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. The next, we’re hearing that boron or molybdenum levels need more attention. According to […] Read more

Miles Dyck studied sulphur deficiency at the Breton Plots, a long-term crop rotation research site established in 1930.

Nutrient balance key to avoiding sulphur deficient soils

Production of more high-sulphur demand crops such as pulses and canola is creating a shortage in some fields

Reading Time: 4 minutes In order for any crop to use fertilizer efficiently, it needs to have all of its nutrient deficiencies met, says Miles Dyck, an associate professor of soil science in the department of renewable resources at the University of Alberta. The most common nutrient deficiencies in Western Canada are nitrogen and phosphorus, but because of the […] Read more


Sandier soils, such as those for potato production, tend to be lower in Mg and pH.

The case for managing magnesium

Like sulphur, Mg is moving into the foreground

Reading Time: 4 minutes No one is taking anything away from “The Big Three.” Clearly, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N, P and K) have a direct and powerful influence on yield, and must be managed with great skill. Increasingly, though, we’re learning that secondary nutrients and micronutrients are also worth paying attention to. In 2016, for instance, agronomists began […] Read more

Pale and stunted flower petals are just one symptom of sulphur deficiency. The flower on the left is from a plant with enough sulphur, while that on the right is from a plant short of sulphur.

A nutrient-deficiency flare-up in canola

Everything goes along smoothly for decades, and the same old fertilizer combo produces the same old predicable results. Then soil levels for a particular nutrient dip below the critical threshold and plants grow funny and yields go askew. It happens

Reading Time: 5 minutes Jack Wood noticed strange patches of stunted canola in a field in 2013. By swathing time, those patches were clearly messed up. Pods were short and deformed. Stalks were skinny, and in the resulting windrows, the yield monitor dropped from 40 to just five bu./ac. One adviser said it was heat blast. Wood wasn’t so […] Read more


Application technology is expanding his N management options, says Mike Strang.

Profit-making N strategies for growing corn

After a dry season, maybe it’s time for some hard thinking about how you apply nitrogen

Reading Time: 5 minutes Producers who applied their nitrogen in one pass this year at least minimized their application expenses. Those who opted for a split application and managed to co-ordinate it with well-timed rain perhaps gained more for their efforts. Undoubtedly, however, both are questioning if their strategy was the right way to go this time. And because […] Read more