GFM Network News


Diligent screening of susceptible varieties and better fungicide timing means growers are managing fusarium head blight.

New cereal fungicide seeks to carve out its own niche

Cerefit's dual mode of action acts as a preventive and curative

Reading Time: 4 minutes In the fight against diseases in winter wheat in Eastern Canada, the agri-food industry has done a remarkable job in effectively managing fusarium head blight — for decades considered the crop’s greatest disease threat. Seed companies have screened and eliminated susceptible varieties while timing of fungicide applications has advanced to the extent that fusarium is […] 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


FHB infection in barley. The Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute and the Canadian Grain Commission are testing an innovative post-harvest treatment from a Scandinavian company called ThermoSeed. It has potential to eliminate the pathogen during malting and brewing.

Careful grain sampling key when looking for mycotoxins

Ontario’s worst-ever year for DON infection in corn may provide some guidance for managing the problem in Western Canada

Reading Time: 5 minutes For Ontario corn growers dealing with an outbreak of deoxynivalenol (DON), 2018 was a year to forget. “It was a really major, widespread issue,” says Art Schaafsma, a professor in field crop pest management for the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus. He says the last time the industry saw widespread issues with DON was in […] Read more

Continued cereal R&D in Eastern Canada means more small-grains choices for more growers.

New cereal varieties for Eastern Canada

There’s only a handful of new varieties for planting this fall, but they’re worth a hard look

Reading Time: 2 minutes Increased winter wheat acres are good for Eastern Canada, not only because of crop diversity and longer rotations, but as a contributor to overall soil health. Despite the challenges of fall planting, farmers are clearly deciding there’s real value in maintaining wheat acres: the message is definitely getting through. Yet other, more immediate concerns are […] Read more


Crown rust is considered one of the worst crop diseases since its strains can mutate to acquire new virulence and resistance.

Crown rust comes after oats

Part of the management challenge comes from its sources and its choice as a cover crop

Reading Time: 5 minutes In a production agriculture world where corn and soybeans have dominated the scene for much of the last 25 years, oats are supposedly one of the forgotten crops. There have been attempts to revive the grain’s standing, including the formation of the Oat and Barley Council of Ontario back in the early 2000s, as well […] Read more

Location of the bread and durum wheat fields surveyed in 20 crop districts across Saskatchewan, from 2001 to 2012.

Is climate change making leaf diseases worse?

Durum quality took a beating last year, and climate change could see more of the same

Reading Time: 3 minutes It is difficult — even impossible — to define the precise relationship between climate change and disease incidence and severity in Western Canada. But new research from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Swift Current Research and Development Centre is contributing a few pieces to the puzzle. Research scientist Myriam Fernandez says breeding for resistance to the […] Read more


Wheat being inoculated with fusarium at Western Canada’s largest fusarium “nursery” at Carman, Man.

A genetic solution to fusarium?

Across the country, several researchers are studying fusarium from every angle, from pathology to agronomy

Reading Time: 4 minutes In the early ’90s, farmers in the eastern Prairies started to ask questions about odd white “tombstone” wheat kernels. When they received the answer, some wondered whether the name would refer to the tombstone on the grave of the wheat business, especially when there was a huge outbreak in Manitoba in 1993. Near-panic ensued, as […] Read more

Wheat plants growing as an experimental control group show signs of wheat stem rust disease at Kenya’s Eldoret University 
in 2013.

Heading off a stem rust pandemic

Only two older wheat varieties are resistant to Ug99, a devastating race of stem rust which threatens to spread around the world

Reading Time: 5 minutes Working under tight security in their plant science laboratory at Morden, Man., Tom Fetch and his scientific colleagues look as if they’re handling extremely hazardous material. After changing into hospital scrubs in a locker room, Fetch and his team deactivate an alarm system and go through four doors to enter the laboratory. The Level 3 […] Read more


Growers need to return wheat to its million-acre scale to help with diseases like fusarium, as well as quality issues.

If it’s wheat, spray for fusarium

This disease has become a perennial issue — and it will be for years to come

Reading Time: 5 minutes With today’s tight margins, there are times when it can make sense to play the odds in order to cut spray costs, at least until there’s visible damage to the crop. But with fusarium head blight in wheat, it’s just not advisable. Peter Johnson believes it’s time to adopt the same caution with fusarium as […] Read more

Manitoba’s corn growers didn’t worry too much about Goss’s wilt this year, but despite the dry weather it did crop up in Alberta.

Crop diseases take a bit of a break in 2015

Drier conditions this past season kept a lid on most crop diseases — but this is probably just a brief respite until environmental conditions line up again

Reading Time: 8 minutes The bad news is that dry weather cut yields across much of the Prairies in 2015. The consolation? This same weather kept fungal diseases in check. In fact, areas that were in the sweet spot of lower pressure but enough rainfall to carry yield were rewarded with exceptional crop quality. Country Guide recently spoke to […] Read more