GFM Network News


Ontario farmers grow corn acres, and a successful livelihood

Amos family in Ontario’s extreme northwest a good example of the pioneering spirit

Reading Time: 6 minutes In 1990, nearly 30 years ago, Amos Brielmann moved his family from Germany to the Rainy River District between Fort Frances and the Manitoba border. They settled on a farm near Pinewood, first working on a beef cattle operation just north of the village. Slowly, they began buying the farm and maintaining the herd and […] 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

“Good retention starts with good recruiting. The challenge is finding people who are willing to be there for the right reasons…”

Tapping into a new source of farm workers

Traditional labour supplies are running short. Why that may not be a bad thing

Reading Time: 5 minutes With farms getting bigger and with rural populations getting smaller, it’s no surprise you’re having trouble finding local employees with the farm skills and the experience you want. That doesn’t mean you have no options, however. The solution may be to look beyond candidates with ag experience and to begin to look in other sectors […] Read more


Increasing costs related to farming are making your decisions more important and sometimes more difficult as well.

Farm fit

Maybe the phrase “Standardized Financial Benchmarks for Canadian Farm Financial Statements” doesn’t instantly get your blood pumping. But read on. Could this be the tool that lets you control your future?

Reading Time: 8 minutes Like many others, Larry Martin is convinced that Canada’s agriculture is evolving far faster than anyone driving a few miles of country sideroad could guess. The scenery hasn’t changed. At least, it hasn’t been transformed. It’s still a patchwork of crisp farmsteads and open fields, and of barns and bins. But those who live here […] Read more

Phone snubbing or “phubbing” is a term used to describe when someone glances at their phone while you are talking to them.

Get smarter with your smartphone

Your phone is engineered to be addictive. No wonder it pays to set your own rules

Reading Time: 5 minutes There’s no doubt that smartphones are an incredible tool for farmers. We get the power of the internet in a device that fits in our pockets. With it comes the ability to check the weather, sell grain, listen to an audiobook, or identify a weed at the touch of our fingertips. Add in social media, […] Read more


Sufficient amounts of dicamba remain in the sprayer tank and lines to cause damage (cupping) in soybean leaves, even after four serial rinses

Sharing the lessons learned on dicamba in soybeans

Misconceptions about the power of the technology remain, in spite of some harsh in-field realities

Reading Time: 5 minutes When Xtend soybeans were showcased at the 2015 Canada Outdoor Farm Show, there was great fanfare but also a considerable amount of caution accompanying the technology’s unveiling. Yes, it was the next in a series of herbicide-tolerant technologies, launched at a time of growing concern over glyphosate-tolerant weed species. It was believed that the newer […] Read more

Mom and Dad, what should you be looking for when the kids come home? Are you willing to let them make mistakes?

Up to the job

You’re home for the summer. Now, how are you going to show Mom and Dad that you’re a safe bet for taking over the farm?

Reading Time: 6 minutes It’s a phrase that means just what it says. Leadership succession is real, and it’s catching on. If your succession plan only looks at how the financial picture will unfold down the road, that’s not enough. Increasingly, it’s clear that it has to deal with who can handle what responsibilities too. Are your kids up […] 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

Dr. Clarence Swanton.

Pest Patrol: Thank you, Dr. Clarence Swanton

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Reading Time: 2 minutes “Matty Cowlick” is indifferent to the recent retirement of Dr. Clarence Swanton, weed scientist in the department of plant agriculture at the University of Guelph. But I’m happy for him. I’m happy that Clarence will continue with his research program and to advise graduate students, and happy that he will have more time to spend […] Read more