GFM Network News


“Soil is life,” says producer Blain Hjertaas. “Our job as farmers is to be stewards of that, and improve it as we use it.”

The building block of soil

Soil scientists are putting more focus on the value of organic matter for feeding important microbes and boosting moisture-managing capacity

Reading Time: 5 minutes Without it, soil is just dirt. There’s a new recognition of the importance of soil organic matter, and not only for improving crop yields. It’s also a tool in the effort to mitigate climate change. Blain Hjertaas, a holistic management farmer and grazier at Redvers, Sask., participates in the Soil Carbon Challenge, an international “competition” […] Read more

AAC Elevate has a yield advantage of about six per cent over Radiant, and agronomics are suitable across the Prairies.

Winter wheat varieties available or in the pipeline

These four varieties should make winter wheat more attractive to both farmers and customers

Reading Time: 3 minutes Higher milling quality and larger and more consistent supplies are key to expanded markets for Prairie winter wheat. Rob Graf, long-time breeder at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada — Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, says four varieties either available or in the pipeline should help meet those goals. AAC Elevate Available since last fall, AAC Elevate […] Read more


Scientist examining plants in greenhouse

Where are investments in Canadian agricultural research headed?

2018 has been a great year with agriculture attracting acclaim as an economic powerhouse in Canada. But is there enough money in research to score on the opportunity?

Reading Time: 6 minutes “Sunny today but with clouds on the horizon” is how Serge Buy describes Canadian government investment in agricultural research. “There was more willingness for the federal government to invest in budgets 2016 and 2017, and some of the provinces are following suit,” says Buy, who’s the CEO of the Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC). “That’s […] 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


Rotary hoe and inter-row cultivation reduced weed biomass by 75 to 85 per cent in field pea and lentil, as seen in this photo of lentils after inter-row cultivation. When seeding rate was boosted, weed biomass in lentils was reduced an extra 16 per cent.

If you can’t beat ’em, clip ’em

New methods of mechanical weed control show promise, but don’t expect a yield increase the first year

Reading Time: 8 minutes With the high and growing percentage of Prairie cropland infested with herbicide-resistant weeds, researchers are turning their attention back to mechanical control, but that doesn’t necessarily mean tillage. The Alberta Wheat Commission and Saskatchewan Pulse Growers are partnering on a three-year research project at the University of Saskatchewan which is evaluating in-crop weed clipping as […] Read more

Animal science professor Red Williams, shown here in 2000 touring the old University of Saskatchewan barn with University of Wyoming research scientist Mary Humstone, died March 26 at age 93. (Usask.ca)

Animal science professor Red Williams, 93

Reading Time: 2 minutes Memorial services will be held “at a later date” for renowned Prairie animal science professor Charles “Red” Williams, who died Monday at age 93 leaving a legacy of work in livestock care and ag extension. Williams, born in Regina and raised on farms in Saskatchewan and Alberta, served in the Second World War on the […] Read more


Most of the varieties covered by PBR are from the public sector, and most are cereal varieties.

Plant Breeders Rights not so simple

New regulations give PBR regs more teeth, but breeders still want you to follow the law out of self-interest, not fear

Reading Time: 6 minutes When Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) got a major facelift two years ago, the seed trade in Canada responded with information campaigns saying that all was for the best. Upgrades in intellectual property protection weren’t a cash grab, farmers were told. Instead, they showed the international community that Canada takes property protection very seriously. That recognition, […] Read more

Step two

After you survive the startup, it takes a whole different set of skills to keep a value-add business growing

Reading Time: 8 minutes When Country Guide first spoke to sisters Natasha and Elysia Vandenhurk six years ago, their lives were hectic. But in that way, it was a story familiar to anyone running a startup. The Vandenhurk sisters were in the midst of creating a direction for Three Farmers, a food company producing camelina oil products from crops […] Read more


Growing quality oats

Growing quality oats

Recommendations for oat agronomy from the new POGA Oat Growers Manual and research across Western Canada

Reading Time: 6 minutes Soil and rotation Oats grow best in black and grey wooded soil zones that have higher moisture, but can grow on sandy loam to heavy clay soils as long as they have good drainage. To reduce disease pressure and optimize yields, oats should not be grown after cereals. The best rotational crops include canola, hay, […] Read more

Cloud farming

Cloud farming

The power of deep learning will unlock much of agriculture’s future, thanks to enormous potential of ‘The Cloud’

Reading Time: 7 minutes From the ground, cloud technology is a lot like one of those fast-moving, cumulus clouds you see on the horizon in summer. It seems so full of rain, and rain would be great for the crop, but all the while you tell yourself not to wish too hard. But cloud technology is here. It’s happening, […] Read more