GFM Network News


Cattle are an important part of the rotation on Agripastos Farm.

Conservation tillage driving Brazil’s corn and soybean explosion

No-till farm group says no-till is the key to long-term sustainable agriculture

Reading Time: 4 minutes Crop production in Brazil has made dramatic gains in recent decades — and there’s potential for plenty more, say advocates of no till and conservation tillage in the country. In fact, members of the Brazilian Federation of No-Till Farming say no till is the key to achieving a long-term sustainable agriculture without additional deforestation. Soybean […] Read more

Treatments included three yield zones and four N fertilizer rates — 0, 50, 100 and 150 per cent N based on soil test.

Zone-by-zone nitrogen application may not pay

A three-year study finds surprisingly little response to extra nitrogen in both high- and low-producing areas

Reading Time: 3 minutes A new Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada study suggests producers should take soil test nitrogen prescriptions by management zone with a grain of salt. They don’t necessarily reflect what researcher Alan Moulin calls the “supplying power” of the soil, and since fields vary, there’s no one-size-fits-all prescription to meet crop nutrient demands. This doesn’t mean producers […] Read more


Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Did farms make the right choices?

We have all heard it before. It’s the saying that most bad decisions get made in good times. So, in the midst of the bull market a decade ago, we wondered what we’d be looking back on in 2020

Reading Time: 2 minutes Here is what I wrote in September 2008: “Somewhere in the land and in the barns that are being bought and sold, and in the equipment purchases, and in the new partnerships that are being formed and the old ones that are falling apart, there are the beginnings of trends that we’ll point to in […] Read more

Processing plants are being built across the country to convert farm crops into bioproducts for essentially every sector.

The booming bioeconomy — Part 2

In part one of this feature, we introduced the bioeconomy and how Canada is working to become a world leader. In part two we look at specific sector developments from coast to coast — there are lots of them!

Reading Time: 7 minutes It’s a surprise to most of us. What’s the hottest bioeconomy subsector on the planet? Replacements for plastic. Worldwide demand for biodegradable products is urgent and it’s growing, especially to replace single-use plastic items like straws, utensils, cup lids and plastic bags. The race is on. France banned plastic cups in 2016, and Queen Elizabeth […] Read more


General Mills and Cargill Canada have both announced programs aimed at regenerative agriculture.

Regenerative agriculture hits the mainstream

Big Ag is getting on the bandwagon, but market premiums still aren’t on the table

Reading Time: 6 minutes If you’re a cattle producer, you may already have heard the term “regenerative agriculture.” If you’re a grain producer, maybe not. But that’s about to change. This spring, General Mills announced a plan to advance regenerative agriculture practices on one million acres of farmland in the U.S. and Canada by 2030, and Cargill Canada announced […] Read more

“Not having family members that were farming made some things more difficult,” Lydia Carpenter says. “In other ways, it was an asset to us.”

The way it happens

How do new farmers get a start in Canada? Every story is unique, but so often it starts, as here, with the right people somehow getting together

Reading Time: 10 minutes If, as the Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is what happens when preparation and opportunity meet,” Lydia Carpenter and Wian Prinsloo are the living embodiment of it. They have always had an interest in food production, yet neither had grown up on a farm, and when they set out to follow their passion in their […] 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

Covering roughly 10 hectares, the study included plots set out in a split-split format, meaning large plots were divided into smaller plots, with even smaller plots within those.

Farm like Scrooge

A long-term study suggests that penny-pinching can actually help the bottom line

Reading Time: 4 minutes Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research scientist Bruce Gossen says the 18-year study was boring, but its results weren’t. Gossen and his colleagues took a long-term look at the effects of cropping diversity and inputs at Scott, Sask., from 1996 to 2013, but they didn’t just evaluate yields. They also looked at disease, insect and weed […] Read more


Robotica’s indoor farming modules have style-conscious Italian consumers in mind. “Our vision is to grow food on every desk in every house,” its builders say.

Could the future of farming lie indoors?

Innovation: The scale seems much too small, say farmers. But that may be its greatest strength

Reading Time: 5 minutes Outside of maybe the health care field, there are few sectors that are as innovative and changing as rapidly as agriculture. It’s what I’ll write about in this series of columns for Country Guide, because frankly, some of the technologies that are coming off the drawing boards are going to challenge the way we think […] 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