GFM Network News


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



Farming Smarter deep banded immobile nutrients at a depth of six inches using a seed drill with a basic stealth opener system.

Research digs into the question of deep banding

The practice could make immobile nutrients more available for three major crops

Reading Time: 3 minutes The jury is still out on whether deep banding fertilizer is worth the time and money — but researchers across Alberta are hoping to settle the debate once and for all. “I don’t think there’s any proof yet that deep banding works,” said Ken Coles, general manager of Farming Smarter. “We want to have some […] Read more

I’m using my family farmer instinct to see what is worth pursuing,” explains research manager Lana Shaw.

Crowd research

Is this crowdfunded program a sign of the way farmers will have to go to get the research that governments are slow to pay for?

Reading Time: 5 minutes It was a cold, mid-April morning near Redvers in the south-east corner of a decidedly un-spring-like Saskatchewan, and the flat fields all around us were still blanketed in white. Between the snow and the clouds, you could hardly tell where the sky ended and the earth began. I had arranged to meet research manager Lana […] Read more


Is there a tipping point on intercropping?

Reading Time: 3 minutes Farmers’ current interest in intercropping has caught some off guard. On November 29, 2017, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture ran an intercropping workshop in Regina. Workshop organizers expected about 40 people. But 140 people showed up, including several from Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Michigan. Sask Ag ran a second intercropping workshop in January, and another 200 […] Read more

Unfortunately for farmers, ag research doesn’t rank as high with government funders as items such as health care.

The funding crunch in agricultural research

Reading Time: 2 minutes Why are Lana Shaw and her colleagues having trouble securing funding for intercropping research? For one thing, funding is generally tight in public ag research. The South East Research Farm receives $75,000 a year for core operations, as do the other research sites in the Agri-ARM network. On top of that, surrounding municipalities have kicked […] Read more


McCain’s one-year multi-species blend contains 13 species, including spring oats, balansa clover, Austrian winter peas and sunflower.

2 covers — 25 species

P.E.I. potato growers are exploring diverse approaches to solve their low organic matter levels with cover crops

Reading Time: 6 minutes Soil organic matter has become a popular topic of discussion in the past year. In Ontario, a report from late 2016 indicated soil organic matter (SOM) levels in many parts of the province are at 15-year lows, coinciding with increasing interest in the use of cover crops, reduced- or no-till management and longer rotations in […] Read more

Tillage is the number one soil-degrading process, says one University of Manitoba professor.

Tillage erosion costing farmers billions

The pressure to get an early start on newer crops such as corn and soybeans encourages tillage practices which may not be sustainable

Reading Time: 5 minutes This past spring was one of the worst on record for so-called “snirt,” or dirty snow, in ditches across the Prairies — a sign that wind is moving loose topsoil to the margins of fields. While snirt is an indication that fields are susceptible to wind erosion, however, University of Manitoba soil science professor David […] Read more


A newly developed system created by Claas and a consortium of companies uses a stereoscopic camera to guide an implement during in-crop tillage.

Conventional thinking

Machinery manufacturers are offering European farmers new options for in-crop weed and pest control

Reading Time: 5 minutes Walking the 15 kilometres or so of aisles at Agritechnica in November, one trend was hard to miss. It was in the tillage segment, where the number of options and the sophistication of that technology is obviously on the rise. Efficiency has always been the driving force behind farm machinery evolution, but it’s clear that […] Read more

Brothers Rob, Derek and Rick Kootstra aim to plant cover crops on every acre, every year.

Real sustainability

Integrating the benefits of his Ontario Soil Network membership into how he farms is helping Rick Kootstra find real sustainability

Reading Time: 5 minutes Like a lot of farmers, Rick Kootstra doesn’t see himself as an innovator or a leader. He just goes about his business. Thanks to the Ontario Soil Network, though, he does it with a lot of great connections with farmers who share similar goals and aspirations. Kootstra, along with his brothers Rob and Derek, works […] Read more