GFM Network News



Use of inoculants — even in long-standing soybean fields — is a cost-benefit decision for a grower.

Soybean inoculant a rare find

This innovative inoculant begins with a new bacterial species, then stacks it with another

Reading Time: 3 minutes Soybean inoculants have undergone considerable change in the past 30 years, evolving from non-sterile to sterile formulations in the 1990s and then to an almost complete reliance on the Bradyrhizobium japonicum bacterial species, with other strains added during the first decade of the 2000s, although primarily as nodulating triggers or plant growth-promoting rhizobacterium (PGPR). Now, […] Read more


“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


The SWAT maps show a 3D image such as this one. Zone 1 (red) is water-shedding, thin topsoils with low organic matter. Zone 5 (yellow) is a field average soil. Zone 10 (green) areas are water-collecting areas with deep topsoils with high organic matter.

The best place for crop inputs…

Is where there’s enough moisture to grow a good crop. SWAT technology says it can tell you where that is

Reading Time: 5 minutes The description of Cory Willness’s canola field near Naicam, Sask., this year could fit hundreds of others across the Prairies. It has variable topography with too much moisture in the depressions. The topsoil on the knoll is poorer because of erosion over the years. “We also had had some establishment problems along the top this […] 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


Researcher Prem Pokharel found that wheat yield was higher in soil with added biochar made from manure and wood chips rather than from the untreated products.

Harnessing the power of the rhizosphere

Biochar — heat-treated organic material — can give the root zone a boost

Reading Time: 3 minutes Have you ever noticed how lush the crabgrass can get around an old firepit? It’s a small yet compelling example of the benefit that burnt wood residue can have on plant growth. But there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye in that interchange between plant, charcoal, soil and air, and Prem Pokharel […] 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

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