GFM Network News


Figure 1. An overhead look at the level of control that cereal rye has provided when it was seeded the previous fall (mid- November) at 60 lbs./ac. (left) compared to no cereal rye planted (right).

PHOTOS: Pest Patrol: Cover crops versus glyphosate-resistant weeds

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Q: Can cover crops be an effective tool to manage glyphosate-resistant weeds? A: My colleague Dr. Clarence Swanton (University of Guelph) used to say that based on research he did in the 1980s, one should not expect to control weeds with cover crops. Their utility was in preventing soil erosion and improving soil health but […] Read more

Many agricultural technology companies say the information they collect is the property of the farmer, but they don’t have transparent explanations as to what that actually means.

Our data road map

Is the ADT initiative in the U.S. the right way to put Canada’s farmers in control of their data too?

Canada is awash in agricultural data that’s not being used to its full potential by farmers, researchers, or the government. Now, work has begun to try and improve that situation. “There’s a lot of information that exists electronically, but we need to give farmers control of their data so they can use it and flow […] Read more


When farmers deviate from their plan, it can often end badly, says one professor of agricultural economics.

Benchmark your marketing

How good are you at marketing? Or maybe more to the point, how bad are you?

Does it necessarily mean you’re poor at marketing if you aren’t actively engaged in daily trading? What if you have never done a paper trade, or if you haven’t ever locked in a private contract with a processer? Does that mean you’re a bad farmer? Obviously, the answer is no. It doesn’t have to mean […] Read more

It cost him his ’67 Cougar, and it wasn’t the only time he’d get burned, but Dennis Pashovitz feels his farm emerged stronger for the lesson.

Taking on the market

Options, futures or forward contracts? Two farmers search for sustainable income

Options, futures or forward contracts? Two farmers search for sustainable income Dennis Pashovitz calls it his ’67 Cougar moment. It was the late 1990s and the grain farmer at Arelee, an hour west of Saskatoon, needed cash to open a trading account. The only way to learn about marketing, he was convinced, was to play […] Read more


Feeling burned out may involve more than just the feeling of having too much to do or never getting a break.

Beating burnout

No one is immune, so it’s smart to know if you’re showing these symptoms of burnout. For most of us, it’s the best way to avoid the trap

Do you feel exhausted no matter how much sleep you get? Do you feel mentally drained, or do you lack energy or feel like you’re not really accomplishing anything? All of these symptoms can point to burnout, says Dr. Arla Day, a professor in occupational health at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. If this sounds […] Read more

The impact of soybean cyst nematode on dry beans depends on the market class and potentially the specific variety.

Pest Patrol: Soybean cyst nematode in edible beans

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Have you ever had a dry bean crop that looked healthy but resulted in disappointing yields? Have you seen stunted or yellowing patches, but could not identify the cause? If so, you may want to look for soybean cyst nematode (SCN). Researchers in Ontario and the U.S. have shown that SCN is not just a […] Read more


Alex Sawatzky is pursuing her doctorate in public health at the University of Guelph, but she’s also an artist, who agreed to perform “graphic note-taking” during the university’s inaugural Arrell Food Summit in late May. Here, she records in artistic form the words of Thursday morning keynote speaker Galen Weston.

On the agenda

If you wanted to bring together the most important food thinkers in the world, and you had the budget to do it, who would you invite?

A brand new University of Guelph thinktank had its three-day coming-out in May with an agenda that included speakers who question the direction of today’s conventional farm production, and the event culminated in the inaugural awarding of two $100,000 prizes — one going to a Harvard University professor who might seem no friend to Canada’s […] Read more

An infestation along an old rail line and a field border.

PHOTOS: Pest Patrol: Reining in dog strangling vine

#PestPatrol with Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA

Q: I’m seeing a weed called dog strangling vine along roadsides, in woodlots and creeping into agricultural fields. It seems quite invasive. How do I get rid of it? A: Your suspicions are correct. Dog strangling vine is invasive and is listed as a noxious weed under the Ontario Weed Control Act, and regulated as […] Read more


Growers who are considering multi-species cover crops should determine their specific goals: Is it to scavenge nutrients, help cycle them from subsoil or store them for future use?

Is it time you get started with a cover crop?

Cover crops may not be as simple as we used to think. But they aren’t that complex either

The funny thing about implementing change is that it’s possible to over-think a situation and become mired in the process of simply getting started. A person becomes so concerned with the challenges of the “how” that they begin to lose sight of the value of the “why.” In other words, getting started can be the […] Read more

Alec and Shelby Boekhoven farm with Alec’s parents near Appin in southwestern Ontario.

The next farm generation steps up

On this farm, transition planning made real gains once the younger generation learned how to take their role in the process

Alec Boekhoven had turned over at 2 a.m., fretting about ways to reduce feed costs on his family’s 600-sow farrow-to-finish operation. Eventually he drifted off on the couch, which is where his son Evan discovered him and woke him up early. It’s why Alec brought his three-year-old with him to do chores, and it also […] Read more