GFM Network News


Until 2000, there was no need to incorporate stripe rust resistance into Prairie wheat varieties.

Detecting stripe rust in wheat before it strikes

Resistance is low in current varieties. An early warning system could allow for fungicide application only when needed

Reading Time: 5 minutes Stripe rust is wily and tough. For the longest time, Canadian farmers could depend on cold winters and a fairly hot, dry summer climate to keep it at bay. But stripe rust is also highly adaptable and around 2000, scientists noticed a change. “Pathogens always evolve,” says André Laroche, a research scientist with Agriculture and […] Read more

Producer Jay Schultz found that despite a tough 2019 harvest with slow-maturing crops and tough moisture conditions, early-seeded wheat came off earlier than normal and graded No. 1 CW.

Pushing the wheat seeding envelope

Good seed treatments are recommended, but research at Lethbridge suggests you should start the drill when the soil is at 2 C

Reading Time: 4 minutes Statistically, early seeding equals higher yield, at least over the long term. But how early can you seed without having a wreck due to cold spring conditions? Earlier than you might think, apparently. Last spring, Jay Schultz started seeding his CWRS wheat (mainly Brandon, with some Eli and Viewfield) on April 15 — the earliest […] Read more


Giving wheat midge a few susceptible wheat plants to feed on ensures that the resistant population doesn’t eventually take over.

A decade of midge-tolerant wheat

New varieties are in the pipeline for CWRS and SWS classes

Reading Time: 4 minutes Over the past 10 years, western Canadian farmers have deliberately seeded 27 million acres of wheat susceptible to orange blossom wheat midge — and saved themselves an estimated $1 billion in lost yield and quality. To be clear, only 10 per cent of the seed on those acres was susceptible to midge, and that’s been […] Read more

Researcher Prem Pokharel found that wheat yield was higher in soil with added biochar made from manure and wood chips rather than from the untreated products.

Harnessing the power of the rhizosphere

Biochar — heat-treated organic material — can give the root zone a boost

Reading Time: 3 minutes Have you ever noticed how lush the crabgrass can get around an old firepit? It’s a small yet compelling example of the benefit that burnt wood residue can have on plant growth. But there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye in that interchange between plant, charcoal, soil and air, and Prem Pokharel […] Read more


Since the WGRF’s inception in 1981, it has helped develop hundreds of wheat and barley varieties.

Take a new look at the Western Grain Research Foundation

The organization is ready to embark on the next 40 years of funding vital crop and agronomic research to benefit western Canadian growers

Reading Time: 5 minutes When you do a job well for a long time, it can sometimes go unnoticed — people simply get used it. That’s why every once in a while it’s good to take a step back and see things with fresh eyes. Agricultural research, for instance — just gets done. New varieties come out regularly, new […] Read more

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