GFM Network News


Friedhelm Hoffmann has fertigated corn, soybeans and wheat, which he states yielded 140 bushels per acre.

Get there on time

Timely delivery is a big plus for “fertigation,” but can you afford the costs and the management demands?

Reading Time: 7 minutes In precision agriculture, the focus is typically on the low-hanging fruit, i.e. the use of yield data to create variable-rate fertilizer scripts, investing in individual row units with automatic down-force, or using aerial imagery to pinpoint trouble spots in a field. Most such discussions are also confined to choices about soil, seed and fertility. Yet […] Read more

Four ways to increase your organic matter

A question that I hear a lot is, “How do cover crops fit into a grain operation?” Lots of grain farmers have no desire to get into the livestock business and no interest in producing hay. But many have some soil issues that need to be addressed. This can be done by buying more iron[...]
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Students work at seeding the lysimeters by hand at the Elora Research Station.

The crop rotation effect

At last, scientists hope to explain exactly why rotations are such a good practice

Reading Time: 7 minutes It’s one thing to know the benefits of a practice, it’s another to understand the “why,” especially when it comes to biological functions where the road to understanding can be anything but simple. In cropping terms, science has known about the benefits of longer rotations for years, but not about the exact reasons why. This[...]
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Growers have been completely shocked by the soil tests they got back.” – Jim Hazlewood, Stratford Agri Analysis.

Empty soils

Today’s big-yield genetics really are draining the nutrient supply in our soils

Reading Time: 6 minutes The power of today’s corn hybrids and soybean varieties to exceed farmers’ expectations is a testament to the science of plant breeding, and also to the value of selecting the best elite genetics. That farmers in Eastern Canada have been able to push corn yields to 200 bu./ac. and soybeans to 60 bu./ac., even in[...]
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An example of a cover crop seed mixture in the U.S., where some producers are using cocktails of 20 or more species. However the U of M’s Yvonne Lawley warns about brassicas such as tillage radish, which might contribute to diseases including clubroot in canola.

Season too short for cover crops? Maybe not

They could have a fit for Western Canada, but they require just as much planning as any other crop choice

Reading Time: 5 minutes Open just about any U.S. farming publication and you won’t read for long before seeing the words “cover crop.” There’s been an explosion of interest in the practice of sowing a cheap mixture of seed to cover the soil after harvest, and then seeding directly into it the following year. The benefits go beyond soil[...]
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The Breton Classical Plots were established in 1930, just east of the town of Breton and 100 km southwest of Edmonton.

Some old ways aren’t better, but…

Long-term rotation study underlines that summerfallow harms soil health, but the old mixed farming model looks pretty good

Reading Time: 4 minutes You might think that a long-term crop test might mean five years. A decade would be remarkable. But what could plots tell you about soil health if they’ve been going on for 87 years? They would tell you that Prairie farmers were right to stop keeping fields in fallow as part of a rotation and[...]
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Matthias Stettler.

VIDEO: Taking action on soil compaction

Reading Time: < 1 minute Swiss researcher Matthias Stettler set up his soil compaction sensors for a unique live show for farmers at the recent Compaction Action field day in Ontario. In this video Stettler talks about the impact of compaction and some of the options producers have to help counteract it.

Canada’s soils still degrading, albeit more slowly

Reading Time: 4 minutes The rate of degradation of soils in Canada has slowed, but it still is happening at a significant rate and there is still a lot to learn. There are no soil-perfect systems yet for crop production, attendees at the Summit on Canadian Soil Health held recently in Guelph heard repeatedly. No-till farming has declined in[...]
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Manitoba Agriculture soil specialist is working with a Canadian Foodgrains Bank conservation agriculture (CA) project in Kenya. The hand at top is holding soil from a CA field while the soil in hand at bottom is from a non-CA field immediately adjacent. The CA field has been in CA practice for three years, or six cropping cycles. The CA soil has more aggregation and is darker, indicating more organic matter.

Going beyond NPK in your fertilizer program

New tests get closer to helping producers build soil health

Reading Time: 5 minutes What’s involved in a soil health assessment? And what makes soil “healthy” in the first place? Researchers at the Chinook Applied Research Association (CARA) in Oyen, Alta., are keen to answer these questions for western Canadian producers. The association is launching a new lab in the CARA facilities that will collect and analyze soil samples[...]
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