GFM Network News


A wake honouring the memory of Phil Thomas, known to many across the agriculture industry as Mr. Canola, is expected to be held later this year. Thomas died suddenly following a brief illness in hospital at Red Deer, Alta., in mid-June at the age of 76.

Canola expert will be missed

Memorial service will be held to celebrate Phil Thomas

Canada lost one of its leading experts on canola agronomy in mid-June with the sudden death of Phil Thomas, a retired but former long-time oilseed specialist with Alberta Agriculture in Lacombe, Alta. Thomas, who was known not only in Canada but in many parts of the world as Mr. Canola, literally wrote the book on […] Read more




One of the 10 foals expected
 this spring.

Foals start to arrive, seeding underway

Fieldwork was delayed due to later spring

The end of April saw the guys in the field doing pre-work for seeding. The spring has been very slow to come with very little moisture. Somehow they still managed to get the tractors stuck a few times, but nothing too serious. On April 27 I got to ride for the first time this year. I’m working on […] Read more


The normally volatile markets have been unusually erratic these past two years,

Titanium-strength portfolio lives up to its name

Record-setting market turbulence tests portfolio’s mettle

As I write, it is almost the second anniversary of the titanium-strength portfolio. I am updating as of May 4, 2020, due to publication timelines. With the topsy-turvy nature of markets lately, the details may have changed by publication date, but the key message will remain the same. The normally volatile markets have been unusually […] Read more

As you begin harvesting your crops, take detailed notes about the weed populations you find. Each field will tell a story about your weed control strategies and how effective they are. Fall quackgrass is shown here.

Benefits of post-harvest weed control applications

Q & A with an expert

Q: Should I be thinking about resistance management at harvest? A: We don’t often think about resistance management after harvest, but both during and after harvest is a great time to start observations and applications. As you begin harvesting your crops, take detailed notes about the weed populations you find. Each field will tell a […] Read more


Shown here is a FlySask air photo of subject land taken about 2008. That was a drier period and shows nice flat land with no obstructions and perfect for farming as a half section unit. What we see in the photo fits with the soil survey and assessment data (i.e., no sloughs). The soil survey was done in the 1960s when it was dry.

Les Henry: To own a piece of ground

How to learn about a piece of ground before you see it

To own a piece of ground, To scratch it with a hoe, To plant seeds and watch the renewal of life, This is the commonest delight of the race, The most satisfactory thing a person can do. Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900) That piece is the introduction to Chapter 4 of Henry’s Handbook. I do not […] Read more

One thing I’ve learned is that video conferencing is actually a satisfactory way to communicate.

Toban Dyck: Redefining face-to-face contact

The tech we’ve been forced to adopt is actually useful

There’s no substitute for face-to-face contact. I have believed in this adage for a long time. I felt it was a good perspective to balance the trend among younger generations that have trouble picking up a phone or going to someone’s house. Also, it’s often the default argument in favour of going to a conference […] Read more


Every nutrient, whether macro or micro, is essential to attain a yield goal of any crop, and soil testing gives you an accurate answer to reach this objective.

No such thing as a free lunch when it comes to crop nutrition

Yields can suffer if soils are deficient in any crop nutrient

When I worked as a plant pathologist for Alberta Agriculture in the 1970s, I was surprised to find only 10 per cent of Prairie farmers have ever had their soil tested for crop nutrients. How could they grow a cereal or canola crop without knowing what plant nutrients — nitrogen (N), phosphate (P), potassium (K) […] Read more

The articles I’ve written that stick with me the most are those that inspired you to respond to them.

What can I say, but thank you

Reflections on 12 years as a columnist

Looking back through my files as I write my final column for this publication, I discovered the first article I wrote for Grainews dates back to 2008. When you say “2008,” it doesn’t seem that long ago, but the math tells another story! It’s been 12 years of you, the readers of Grainews, taking the […] Read more