GFM Network News


There is much ado about warming that is going to fry our crops and leave us begging for a cold day. But, I have news for the global warmers. – Les Henry

Les Henry: CO2, global climate and crop yields

It’s not all bad news: research shows higher yields from higher levels of CO2

About one year ago I began searching the scientific literature to determine the impact of increased carbon dioxide in our atmosphere on crop yields. It was a frustrating experience. Most of the articles seemed to have the pre-determined conclusion that CO2 was a villain rather than the major nutrient in all of our crops. A […] Read more

Les Henry: Anhydrous ammonia and the 4Rs

Time to bring back what should be the cheapest form of nitrogen fertilizer

Almost all farm press of late that talks about fertilizer use emphasizes the 4R concept. That means that we will take each nutrient and decide what is the “right” source to use, what is the “right” application rate, what is the “right” placement and what is the “right” time to apply that nutrient. The nutrient […] Read more


Les Henry: Mourning the loss of the International Plant Nutrition Institute

Information will be lost with the end of this valuable organization

To my great disappointment I recently learned of the impending demise of the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), an organization funded by primary producers of fertilizer products. IPNI was involved in a wide array of activities to further the efficient and effective use of fertilizers to keep farms profitable and to feed the people of […] Read more

The profile shown here is of a black soil where moisture conditions were more favourable and the depths of topsoil were greater. Many of the thick black soils were able to accumulate that level of organic matter because they often have sub irrigation from high water tables.

Les Henry: Soils, grassland and bush

Manage your soils based on what’s going on underneath the soil

I penned a piece with this same title in 1989. Since then, we have learned some new things about how grassland and bush soils function. In the old days the actual 35 mm slides of the soil profiles had to be sent by snail mail to Winnipeg and the captions were in the paper copy […] Read more


The pretty little slough, circled in red, on August 31, 2006.

Les Henry: A pretty little slough, a picture story

Sloughs are affected by the underground as well as surface features

Be patient. This piece does have a punch line and it does relate to farming — but it comes at the end. Carry on and read. No peeking! In 2007 I was involved in a hydrogeology study of a new subdivision in southeast Saskatoon. The real work was done by an engineering firm who hired […] Read more

Les Henry: Peanut scrambles or problem solving?

We need agricultural research, but we also need to fund the right agricultural research

The need for ongoing programs of agricultural research to keep our industry functioning and profitable is without question. But how it is organized, how the money is spent and on what basis the money is allocated needs some discussion. Recently I have spent some time perusing the websites of various agricultural research funding organizations — […] Read more


This graphic shows salty patches on my Blackstrap farm. The main actor is the aquifer underneath the water runways. 
A neighbour’s flowing well in a runway about a mile away is the evidence for the artesian condition.

Les Henry: How does ground get salty?

What causes salty ground, and a two-step process to fix the problem in your fields

After scribbling for this many years, it is no surprise that I’ll repeat the same song several times. Perhaps if I sing the song in a different tune it will resonate with more people. Salty ground is one such topic and this time I’ll try a new approach. A few years back this column predicted […] Read more

This is the Birch Hills area as shown by Google Earth on May 10, 2017. The town is in the bottom left area. 
Clearly, much of this area is not good land in wet years without some slough consolidation.

Les Henry: Crop Week offers a good mid-winter break

Saskatoon’s annual winter farm show offers a chance to see old friends and new tech

The highlight of cold, dark January is Crop Week/Crop Production Show that takes place in Saskatoon each year. One of the things that takes place during that week is the annual reunion of the Saskatchewan Agricultural Graduates Association (SAGA). The saga of SAGA SAGA formed in 1935 when a few Agros (University of Saskatchewan ag […] Read more


Les Henry’s stubble soil moisture map, as of Nov. 1, 2018

There’s more red ink (dry areas) than we’d like to see on this year’s map

Each year when I make up this very general map, I keep hoping for a young generation to come along with better technology and smarts to make a better map. I now see a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. My December 12, 2018, article talked about the soil moisture sensor probes […] Read more

Annual legumes are a good green manure crop to help set up whatever comes next in your crop rotation.

In response to, ‘Cover crops and green manure’

Clearing up a tillage misunderstanding from a previous column

It is always a thrill to get letters and book orders from readers. Most letters are complimentary and a joy to receive. But, a recent letter disagreed with ideas in my September column that talked about cover crops and green manure. A phone call cleared up the matter. It was completely my fault for not […] Read more