GFM Network News


Building soil health for future generations is the main goal on Tim Nerbas’ farm in Waseca, Sask. Nerbas took the first steps toward improving soil health on NRG Farms more than 20 years ago when he made the decision to eliminate tillage entirely. Some of the farmland had not been tilled for more than 30 years. From there, he focused on crop variety and diversity and constant cover, which he sees as crucial to soil health.

Soil health management on Harvest Moon and NRG farms

Alberta and Saskatchewan producers discuss soil care

Since an unexpected disaster in 2017, in many respects, Alberta farmer Andy Kirschenman has had to start over. In October of that year, a massive fire ripped through Harvest Moon Farm. The Kirschenmans lost their house, a shed, a combine, quite a bit of equipment and most of the trees in the shelterbelt. But the […] Read more

There is a great diversity of soil microorganisms. Their needs should be considered when starting a new soil management plan. Having a strong soil microbial community will improve physical and chemical constraints.

Take a closer look at your soil assessment

Make sure these important soil health indicators are evaluated

Soil is a complex mixture of organic matter, minerals and countless organisms both alive and dead. To understand whether or not soil is healthy, all of its interconnected properties — physical, chemical and biological — must be evaluated. Through their interconnectivity, these three properties play a crucial role in soil health and affect key parameters […] Read more


Sclerotinia stem rot leaf lesion forming from an infected canola petal.

How to manage sclerotinia stem rot in canola

Disease risk comes down to moisture

Sclerotinia stem rot is one of the most destructive diseases in canola. The fungus can cause up to 50 per cent yield loss. From year to year, region to region, and field to field, occurrence and severity are extremely variable. Foliar fungicides remain the main source of control. Canola Council of Canada agronomy director, Clint […] Read more

This post-harvest photo of a canola stem with verticillium stripe shows how the stem has senesced and the epidermis is shredding to reveal the microsclerotia.

Verticillium stripe should be on your radar for 2020 and beyond

Three things you need to know about the disease

When Verticillium longisporum-infected canola was first discovered in Manitoba in 2014, it was quickly followed by countrywide soil surveys conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in 2015. Those surveys revealed V. longisporum populations in British Columbia and every province eastward as far as, and including, Quebec. And while it hasn’t reached the point where […] Read more


Canola plants that are highly infected with clubroot may have large galls.

Steps to prevent and mitigate clubroot in your fields

Your guide to identification, risk reduction and disease control

Clubroot is a serious soil-borne disease. If conditions are right, it can cause up to 100 per cent yield loss in canola. And while yield loss can be low when conditions aren’t favourable, the pathogen is hardy and easily overwinters in the tough Canadian climate. Come spring, resting spores not only germinate where they overwintered, […] Read more

Two plants infected with brown girdling root rot (right) and two uninfected plants (left).

How to identify and prevent root rots in canola

If you’re not scouting for root rots, that doesn’t mean they’re not there

Survey data from Western Canada’s provincial agriculture departments don’t have really good numbers when it comes to root rots. The difficulty is not many growers are scouting for them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. The pathogens that cause root rot can impact yield severely, especially if infection occurs early in the season. The […] Read more


Left to right: verticillium stripe, blackleg, clean/ healthy plant. Plants rated at 60 per cent seed colour change.

Blackleg best management practices to keep disease levels low

Is blackleg increasing in your fields? Use BMPs to keep the disease at bay

For the longest time, yield loss due to blackleg has been significantly reduced through the use of disease-resistant canola varieties. However, those genetics were first introduced nearly 20 years ago and are now starting to be overcome. For a disease that has mostly been ignored by farmers, this means there is a need to reintroduce […] Read more

The crown rust disease damages plants’ leaves, reducing the photosynthetic area. When pustules erupt, the plant loses water.

Oat diseases that affect your crop and what to do about them

Don’t let crown rust rob your yield

Following the announcement of plans to build a new oat mill in Manitoba last October, growers may be considering adding oats to the rotation. They’re a good cold-weather crop, prices have been decent and demand has been stable. Those adding oats to the rotation should be aware of the major diseases that affect both yield […] Read more


Swedish machinery manufacturer Väderstad believes singulation provided by its PowerShoot technology could be the solution that significantly improves canola establishment in Western Canada.

Väderstad makes canola seed singulation possible

PowerShoot technology offers precision, improved canola stand establishment

Canola seed’s small size makes it sensitive to deep seeding. Both uniform placement and depth tend to improve emergence and seedling survival rates, which is crucial considering the high cost of seed. It’s not just about seed cost, though. It’s about creating a better environment to produce a stronger crop. Swedish machinery manufacturer Väderstad believes […] Read more

Once harvest is in the hopper, it’s time to reap the reward for your efforts. But what qualities are oat millers looking for?

How to get top dollar for your oat crop

What millers look for and the agronomic practices to get there

Over the past 10 years, oats have gone from being somewhat of an afterthought to one of the more lucrative crops grown on the Prairies. Oats are a useful crop to have in the rotation as they are cold tolerant and can be planted earlier than other crops. They also fetch a fairly good price […] Read more