GFM Network News


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?

Reading Time: 5 minutes 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

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


The Badiou family is well into the process of transitioning the family farm to the next generation.

Impressing Mom and Dad

There’s more reason than ever for farm kids to prove to Mom and Dad that they’ve got what it takes to be trusted with the farm. Question is: do the kids realize it?

Reading Time: 10 minutes Transitioning the family farm to the next generation is never easy. But how much harder when the parents have their doubts whether their next generation has the skills or the personality to manage the operation? On more and more farms, the wise thing would be for the kids to set out to prove to Mom […] 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


Organic soybeans are used in Japan for natto, a traditional fermented food often served with rice, soy sauce, mustard and bunching onion.

The power of whole farm co-design

A research project brings farmers together to share results and discuss what works and what doesn’t

Reading Time: 4 minutes Let’s say you’re a soybean producer in Manitoba. You’re growing conventional varieties and doing well — selling into a ready market, getting a decent price. Then one day in the coffee shop you overhear a guy talk about the price he’s getting for organic soybeans — pretty much double what you’re getting — and you […] Read more

If a test finds pathogen populations in a field are overcoming R-gene “A,” the producer can opt to plant seed containing R-gene “B” so the pathogen doesn’t face the same selection pressure.

Another item to put in rotation

A new tool can determine which blackleg genes are in a field, allowing growers to choose a variety that will prolong the life of their resistance genetics

Reading Time: 3 minutes A new tool will help western Canadian producers implement “educated rotations” to prolong the utility of blackleg resistance genes in canola, says Dilantha Fernando, a plant science professor at the University of Manitoba. Blackleg is on the upswing in Canada. According to canola researchers, blackleg resistance is starting to break down due to a combination […] Read more


If you could convince wheat or barley to form nodules like these, you might be able to skip your annual nitrogen purchase.

The ‘Holy Grail’ in cereal technology

Can wheat and barley really be taught to act like pulses, and produce their own fertilizer?

Reading Time: 5 minutes A new research project funded by the Alberta Wheat Commission and the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission will try to answer a question that has bedevilled plant scientists for years: can cereal crops be made to fix their own nitrogen the way legumes do? The AWC is spending $100,000 to have Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists […] Read more

It can be challenging to explain to some men, and even some women, why diversity on a board is important,” says new canola director Pam Bailey.

A woman’s place at the board table

In different parts of the country, Amanda Jeffs and Pam Bailey are rising to the same challenge, curbing the dominance of men on so many farm boards

Reading Time: 10 minutes Bailey has always bucked the trend. As a child, she was far more interested in Lego and Tonka trucks than dolls, and she had dreams of becoming a mechanic instead of a nurse, teacher or the other jobs that “girls were supposed to do.” At 34, she’s still bucking the trend. Bailey has just become […] Read more


Raymond Ngarboui.

Putting down roots in Canadian soil

With farmers like Peter Nikkel helping Raymond Ngarboui, refugees from the world’s trouble spots are getting a new chance

Reading Time: 13 minutes Before we even exchange our first word, I get a sense of Raymond Ngarboui. When we meet, he’s on the phone with a refugee settlement counsellor who asks if he might have garden plots available for two families from Burundi, recently arrived in Winnipeg and feeling stressed and isolated. This is 43-year-old Ngarboui’s side-project but […] Read more

Mark Belmonte, researcher and associate professor at the University of Manitoba, uses big data and next-generation genetic sequencing to develop crop protection products. One new result is an RNA interference molecule that can stop sclerotinia stem rot.

Species-specific crop protection

RNA interference provides a new method of pest control, using tools so precise they hit only the target insect or disease

Reading Time: 4 minutes “We like to call sclerotinia the bully,” says Mark Belmonte. And stopping a bully is not easy. The pathogen attacks fast, it moves quickly through the plant and it can do heavy yield damage right away. “Because it acts with brute force and involves multiple genes, sclerotinia is difficult to study and get a good […] Read more