GFM Network News


“If adding practices doesn’t do anything to create value… why do it in the first place?” – Jonathan Zettler,
Fieldwalker Agronomy Ltd.

A change in mindset on soil

We’ve always talked of soil productivity. Hmmm… what if we talked soil profitability instead?

Reading Time: 5 minutes Ordinarily, rebranding is an exercise that involves a change in marketing direction in a changing marketplace or inside a changing company. We see it so often in agriculture. A product gets rebranded because of new use patterns or new tank mixes, or just because of corporate restructuring. Occasionally, though, a concept gets rebranded because of […] Read more

What’s happening below the soil has a greater impact on crop performance and yield.

Dig deeper to understand soils

Challenging what we’ve always thought can be enlightening, not disruptive

Reading Time: 7 minutes Traditions and routines can provide stability, familiarity and perhaps a sense of purpose. Yet when they keep us from exploring new possibilities — for whatever reason — there’s less room for meaningful change. Earlier in 2020, Greg Patterson was a presenter at the Certified Crop Advisor (CCA)-Ontario chapter annual meeting in London, Ont., and created […] Read more


Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show looks to lock in land base

GFM plans to buy research land for eastern Discovery Farm

Reading Time: 2 minutes As Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show goes digital this week, its operator is preparing to secure its real-world footprint in southern Ontario and put that real estate to year-round work. Glacier FarmMedia and the Ontario government on Tuesday announced their intent to work toward a land deal with the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO), which […] Read more

Cover crops can get as complex as you want but the best advice is always to start slow and simple.

New directions in cover crops

Today, factors like microbial interactions and soil quality are influencing choices and practices

Reading Time: 6 minutes In the midst of a renaissance in soil health, researchers, agronomists and extension personnel have been pushing the message that everything a grower does in a field is connected to everything else. Fertility is linked to planting depth, just as mycorrhizal fungi are connected to weed management. Nothing happens on its own without some effect […] Read more


Researchers are assessing the benefits of crops seeded into potato hills, similar to this nurse crop in carrots.

Call in a nurse. A “nurse” crop that is

A second crop planted along with potatoes protects the soil and boosts yields

Reading Time: 3 minutes Recent years have seen increased attention on the health of the soil used in potato production, and attempts to bring potatoes into longer rotations with other crops. In the Maritimes, seed companies are promoting soybeans or corn as rotational options and McCain has developed one- and two-year multi-species cover crop blends to help boost organic […] Read more

Dallas Timmerman uses a Leon scraper to put topsoil back on his eroded and degraded hilltops. He also adds manure. These measures don’t take a lot of time and have led to a large yield increase on those acres.

Timmerman trains the Tiger Hills of Treherne

A Manitoba farmer has seen major yield improvement by recapping his hills with topsoil from his lower land

Reading Time: 5 minutes Dallas Timmerman farms in the Tiger Hills around Treherne, Man., and sometimes those tigers need training. “We have a lot of hills and sometimes you need to be aggressive with them,” he says. Timmerman’s chair and whip are a Leon scraper and Versatile 4WD. He started training his hills over a decade ago, working on […] Read more


“I believe we can reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides by bio-based fertilizers and pesticides.” – Dr. Ze-Chun Yuan, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The next green revolution

In this Ontario lab, bacteria are working to drive nutrient uptake and accelerate crop growth

Reading Time: 4 minutes Scientists are delving deeper into the soil in hope of finding that next innovation to boost yields while enhancing soil health and reducing pollution concerns. And it seems they’re onto something. Or, better yet, some things. In particular, a scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has looked inside decomposing corn roots in southern Ontario […] Read more

A researcher and soon-to-be author wanted to know what’s getting in the way of healthier soil. What she heard from farmers, industry and academia is it’s not a lack of technology but a lack of political will and financial support.

Where Ontario’s soil health strategy falls short

Farmers understand the crucial role of soil health for feeding the world. So why is it such a struggle to get support for that goal?

Reading Time: 6 minutes Last fall, Dr. Sarah Rotz, then working at the University of Guelph, wrote an article with Guelph crop scientist Dr. Ralph Martin and York University agri-food policy researcher Dr. Rod MacRae to draw attention to what they perceive as shortcomings in the Ontario government’s Soil Health Strategy. It’s a topic Rotz had been studying for […] Read more


Efforts to improve soil health are set back by long-standing and destructive soil management regimens.

Real work on soil health needs to be done

Fine speeches about our soil make us all feel good, but there's an increasing urgency for wider adoption

Reading Time: 5 minutes Soil health has received considerable attention in recent decades. There have been many champions who have promoted the benefits of good soil, farm organizations that have mounted campaigns to encourage its development and even Senate committees trying to help government recognize the urgency surrounding it. Yet reluctance to raise the bar on the subject remains. […] Read more

“You can only grow so many bushels of corn in a stressed year and that number depends largely on your soil.”

What’s good about soil?

Soil health indicators often relate to properties that you can’t see

Reading Time: 6 minutes We’re planting more cover crops, we’ve got a heightened focus on soil organic matter levels, and now we’re adopting what’s thought to be a relatively new term: soil health indicators. They’re each part of a wave that’s been building, reflecting a renewed interest in the soil as the basis for all crop production. “It’s been […] Read more