GFM Network News


Les Henry: Soil salinity and tile drainage

Can investing in tile drainage make your Prairie soil less saline and more profitable?

The idea for this subject came from a recent phone call from a farmer in west-central Saskatchewan. He was considering the purchase of a piece of land that was priced below recent sales but did have salinity problems. He was wondering about the feasibility of tile drainage to fix the problem and make the land […] Read more

This photo was taken July 25,2017. It is a good quarter section that has changed hands and belongs to an absentee owner. It was “planted down,” and the result a few years later was a decent stand of bromegrass. This looked like a fair seed crop. But it was later baled as a hay crop.

Les Henry: Fertilizing for forage yields

For higher grass yields, fertilize it like a crop

We often hear “plant it down” when a field is not performing well for annual crops. That may mean simply planting some grass and accepting hay yields determined by the moisture in a given year. It is not uncommon for such stands to perform poorly and then be utilized as pasture. There are many situations […] Read more


Les Henry: The fifth fertilizer R: nutrient balance

As the fertilizer industry focuses on 4Rs, let’s not forget that balance is important

In the fertilizer business, the 4R concept has received much attention in recent years. The idea is to ensure that fertilizer use decisions are based on selecting the right fertilizer, supplying it at the right rate, at the right time and with the right placement of fertilizer. The first three Rs go back over 40 […] Read more

This is my plot site as it appeared on August 20, 2015.

Les Henry: Finding a place for bees

Syngenta’s Operation Pollinator: a good fit for an awkward piece of land

Bees are an important part of crop production, particularly canola. In recent years, concern about bee populations has initiated work to learn more and do more to help maintain bee populations. Operation Pollinator is a program of Syngenta Canada Inc. with the objective of encouraging bee populations to assist with pollination of commercial crops. It […] Read more


Les Henry: Prairie soil moisture map for 2020

Soil moisture at freeze-up in 2019: a range of moisture across the Prairies

The 2019 crop year was a challenge for all involved in our industry. The erratic rainfall patterns also challenged the preparation of this soil moisture map. Let me first acknowledge the assistance of staff from Crop Intelligence by South Country Equipment. They have now had several years of experience installing weather stations accompanied by the […] Read more

Les Henry: Weather, climate and actual data

A look at changes in the 30-year average annual temperatures in Swift Current

In recent months there has been much press anxiety about the “Climate Crisis.” The general gist is that planet Earth is warming to the point where we will be scorching to death. Crops will be unable to survive the heat and drought. Climate Change (warming) is the top priority in the minds of many, but […] Read more


'Winter combining' (read further down for more info) This photo is reproduced with permission of the Rosetown Eagle and the Rosetown Library Archives. A shout out for our local weeklies that provide local information not available anywhere else.

Les Henry: Where will Prairie agriculture be in 2030?

Les Henry predicts eight changes coming to agriculture in the next decade

At the start of a new decade it is time to take stock and think ahead to what our industry might be like at the end of this decade. The last time I tried such an exercise was in December 1979, looking ahead to what the 1980s would bring. I predicted that at the end […] Read more

August 16, 2019. Not a bad-looking crop but all stages from nearly ripe to grass green.

Les Henry: Diary of my 2019 wheat crop

This growing season was challenging, but the end result was better than expected

The 2019 crop year will go on record as one of the more challenging in a long time. In the past decade we have had a very good run of good crops — often with harvest weather that allowed long stretches where dry grain could be binned. At the same time, we have enjoyed crop […] Read more


The UGG Carter House at Windthorst, Sask.

Les Henry: United Grain Growers’ mail-order home business

The company that founded Grainews also sold catalogue homes on the Prairies

First things first. In early October, there was still a lot of crop out in many areas with quality degrading rapidly. Here’s hoping for a great late autumn to allow the harvest to wrap up. Above all, keep safe at a stressful time. Almost a generation has gone by since the end of United Grain […] Read more

Kildeer: This killdeer set up a nest among the asparagus. Those few plants were not picked and several eggs were successfully hatched. When we got too close the “broken wing” trick was played and photos of it were also possible.

PHOTOS: Les Henry: Wildlife on my Blackstrap farm

Almost all of my encounters with wildlife have been positive and occasionally photos have been possible. This is what I’ve learned

For 25 years I have owned land just a half hour drive south of Saskatoon, just east of Blackstrap Lake. In that time, I have had many wildlife encounters and observed several cycles of Mother Nature and her creatures. Wildlife conservation Some city slickers like to think farmers are bent on destruction of Mother Nature. […] Read more