GFM Network News


Seed Nutrition – Seed Covers

Evidence is accumulating to show that the nutrient reserve within or placed directly on a seed greatly affects a seedling’s ability to withstand various environmental stresses; that seeds containing low reserves of zinc, manganese and copper have lower resistance to root pathogens, water stress, cold temperatures and acidic soil conditions; and, that the most important […] Read more

Magnesium matters

Magnesium (Mg) is an essential nutrient for all living things. In plants, it holds the central position in the all-important chlorophyll molecule, which transforms sunlight’s energy into plant-usable energy or ATP (adenosine triphosphate). In animals and humans, a large part of magnesium’s essentiality comes from its combination with ATP. This Mg-ATP complex is required for […] Read more


The Case Of The Disappearing N

Certain aspects of achieving crop yield goals are like building a foundation on a new house. Soil testing and soil test nitrogen (N) levels are two major yield goal foundation components. Without this information, it is very difficult to consistently hit desired yield goals. This analogy reminds of my first paid job in ag (off […] Read more

A Troubling Tissue Test: Micronutrient Toxicities

Given the crazy growing season weather year we are having, we are seeing some very interesting, great learning scenarios cropping up. The following question came in from Tanner Pollack, agri-coach and owner of Solar Agri-Services Ltd at High Prairie, Alta.: “I have copied a tissue test (see Figure 1) and the soil test from a […] Read more


Agronomic Alchemy: Turning Elements Into Food And Fuel

Imagine that you are at a festival in a foreign country and a beautiful street performer is addressing a crowd of enthralled visitors. In front of her, she has several vials containing various elements and several loaves of bread. She is regaling her audience in the art of alchemy and how she can make bread […] Read more

Managing Crop Nutrients In A Saturated Environment

With the millions of saturated acres sitting waiting for the 2011 seeding/growing season, the biggest question on both the farmers’ and agronomists’ mind is, “What can I do to give crops a fighting chance?” While the task may seem daunting, if we understand a few guiding principles and use a few tools, we can greatly […] Read more


Calculating Straw’s True Value

This may seem an odd time for this topic to come up but my thought is that if one understands the potential value of your straw, it might help in your planning process for this fall’s residue management. Usually, we value straw by calculating the macronutrient content, which disregards micronutrient values and nutrient release rates. […] Read more

Seek Balance For Super-Charged Crop Yields

Every once in a while, I get a chance to slow down and think a bit about some of the stuff that’s coming at us in ever increasing volumes and intensities. Nitrogen management, nitrous oxide emissions and the carbon economy are some of the issues that come to mind. Global nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) is […] Read more


How Soluble Salts Affect N Uptake

Some of our agri-coaches are working with farm clients who are farming on soils with high soluble salts in the 12 to 24 inch depth. Soluble salts start to be a concern at values greater than 0.8 (see Table 1). The soil test results below represent a typical condition they are seeing. Their question is, […] Read more

Should We Be Fertilizing Deeper?

I like to think of myself as an “out of the box” thinker. Nothing pleases me more than “connecting dots” that, at first glance, appear to be unrelated. At our 2009 Agri-Trend Farm Forum Event in Saskatoon, I attended a fascinating session on controlled traffic farming in Australia and during this presentation, I had an […] Read more