GFM Network News


AAFC tests have been on a pull-type Harrington Seed Destructor, but a newer version is integrated with the combine.

Weed control from the back of the combine

Prairie manufacturers are offering chaff collectors, and AAFC continues tests with the Harrington Seed Destructor

Reading Time: 4 minutes Mechanical weed control hasn’t been widely adopted in Western Canada but it soon will be, says Trevor Thiessen of Redekop Manufacturing in Saskatoon. “We don’t have the same stress on the resistance issue that other parts of the world are seeing. In Canada, we’re five years behind Australia in terms of thinking about mechanical weed […] Read more

Shallow-rooted pulses such as peas and lentils not only add nitrogen but leave some deeper moisture for a following crop.

A sure-fire piece of crop advice

While there’s no ideal rotation for Western Canada, long-term studies show that over time, diversification will pay off

Reading Time: 3 minutes There are no silver bullets in agriculture — agro-ecosystems are too complex for any one tool to guarantee outcomes. All the same, some tools seem to have an outsized benefit. This holds true for pulses, according to a suite of research studies led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research scientist Yantai Gan, whose focus […] Read more


AC Foremost red spring wheat at Killam, Alta. The left side represents standard agronomic management while the right side includes standard agronomic management plus 30 pounds of nitrogen per acre applied prior to stem elongation. It also includes applications of plant growth regulator, flag fungicide and head fungicide. The plot was part of a three-year project in Alberta dedicated to identifying yield-maximizing practices in wheat and barley.

Sorting out the stacks

New research in Alberta suggests big yield gains for wheat when combining some agronomic practices — especially dual fungicide applications

Reading Time: 6 minutes Farmers experiment with their agronomic practices all the time. It’s not uncommon to see them “stack” inputs, for instance by combining fertilizer, plant growth regulators (PGRs) and fungicides to see which combinations boost their yields. But until recently, there has been little in the way of small-plot research into the yield potential of stacking agronomic […] Read more

“I want farmers to better understand the land they’re working, that’s their baseline,” Angela Bedard-Haughn says. “To manage soils effectively, you have to understand them.”

The power of knowing your soil

Much of Saskatchewan’s soil has been studied at least once over the decades. A WGRF-sponsored project puts all the results in one location available to everyone

Reading Time: 4 minutes Have you ever wondered why crops don’t seem to do well on a certain bit of land and it’s not always obvious why? Angela Bedard-Haughn is here to help you figure that out. The professor of soil science in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan is leading the Saskatchewan Soil […] Read more


Preliminary results suggest a built-in may outperform the Australian tow-behind version of the Harrington Seed Destructor in the hillier conditions in Western Canada.

If you can’t spray ’em, crush ’em

While there’s no single solution to herbicide resistance, the Harrington Seed Destructor may be part of the toolbox

Reading Time: 5 minutes Some of the most creative insights and practical solutions for battling herbicide-resistant weed control come from Australia. It was there, in 1996, that the world’s first documented case of glyphosate resistance was found in annual ryegrass, which is Australia’s No. 1 weed problem. As of January of this year, the Australian Glyphosate Sustainability Working Group […] 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


Sunflowers need a hybrid lift

With Western sunflower acres dropping sharply in recent years, new varieties are needed to claw acres back from easier-to-grow soybeans

Reading Time: 4 minutes There are fewer sights more appealing than a field of mature sunflowers, but this golden vision is growing rarer. The reason is simple — sunflowers are losing out to soybeans. In Canada’s biggest sunflower province, Manitoba, acres dropped under 62,000 this year, with a little more than half the crop going to black oil and […] Read more

Prairie flax acreage is not as high as it once was, but Canada is still the world’s largest exporter.

Improving flax one allele at a time

Rust hasn’t affected Canadian flax for more than 40 years, but new varieties must still incorporate resistance

Reading Time: 4 minutes On the surface, you’d think that a research project seeking to locate and sequence specific rust-resistance genes, then find ways to quickly identify the presence of these genes in plant breeding material is ultimately about preventing crop loss to rust. But we’re talking about flax here, so think again. Flax is a one million-acre crop […] Read more


Linda Hall is looking for the right combination of variety choice and agronomic practices to make oats more attractive to growers in central Alberta.

The Catch-22 of oat production

Tests in central Alberta yield some useful information on N rates and the effectiveness of plant growth regulators

Reading Time: 4 minutes Linda Hall has a soft spot for the humble oat, mainly because she doesn’t think it’s really all that humble. “Milling oats are a high-value crop,” Hall says. “We’re seeing companies like Richardson buying up oat milling capacity, so the markets are there if we can grow the right kind of oat.” It all depends […] Read more

“Most farmers I speak with want to reduce synthetic chemical inputs to their land.” – Dr. Russell Hynes, AAFC-Saskatoon and 
University of Saskatchewan

A ‘bio’ that works

Commercial use is still a couple of years away, but this bioherbicide is already raising eyebrows

Reading Time: 5 minutes When it comes to biopesticides, most researchers say that despite today’s limited selection of bio-based fungicides, insecticides and herbicides, the technology’s potential is extraordinary. Public and private scientists are especially excited by an “all natural” basis for developing new active ingredients. Since most of the elements for these biopesticides come from natural sources, they point […] Read more