GFM Network News


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 amount of damage caused by cutworm feeding on canola seed-treated with an insecticide was measured. Manned aircraft were used to collect images on 90 acres. Field and data analysis was performed to develop relative density, and per cent cover maps were created to provide an objective estimate of cutworm damage.

How to use remote sensing for crops to its fullest potential

Images from drones and satellites can be part of a much bigger picture

Remote sensing tools can produce a lot of valuable information about what’s happening on farmland and within your crops, but the full potential has yet to be properly harnessed, says a north-central Alberta agronomist after studying the technology for a couple years. Satellite imagery, aerial photography and images captured by unmanned drones are all forms […] Read more


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

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


Facts can be stranger than fiction

These mineral and nutritional facts about plants and animals are strange, but true

If you need some very interesting reading this winter consider buying a book called, Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori. It’s fascinating. Drori describes trees from all around the world, including Canada. For example, rubber got its name from the original latex that the British used to cut into chunks to rub […] Read more

The five principles of soil health

USDA researcher says healthy soil needs a systems approach

At the Regenerative Agriculture Forum in Brandon in November, Jay Fuhrer, soil health specialist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service of the USDA, spoke about soil health. Fuhrer has identified five principles of soil health, and how they work to improve soil health and increase productivity. Fuhrer defined soil health is defined as “the continued […] Read more


An acre of such soil may have up to 1,000 lbs. of earthworms, 2,500 lbs. of fungi, 1,500 lbs. of bacteria and up to 1,000 lbs. of protozoa and insects — most fully active in June and July.

Understanding soil organic matter

Do you know your crop residues from your soil organic matter?

The word “organic,” just like “environmental” has become confusing over the last 20 or 30 years. Organic food for example? All the food we eat is organic (except salt or other minerals). All farming activities are environmental, but every misinformed urbanite calls him or herself an environmentalist. “Soil organic matter” is made up of a […] Read more

A variety of field data, like this map that shows applied down force when seeding, will be compared against yield data to determine the effects of tillage on different soil types, topography and field conditions.

AGCO’s tillage approach on trial

Are new technologies paying off in the field? AGCO wants to find out


This year AGCO hired a new PhD agronomist for North America and gave him the task of testing the effects of today’s equipment and high-tech features when used in the real world. Speaking to a group of journalists at the brand’s Jackson, Minnesota, facility this summer, Jason Lee gave an update on the progress of […] Read more


Emptying the tool box on fusarium head blight

There are no silver bullets, but these 11 agronomic practices can help

While there is no so-called cure for fusarium head blight a whole series of proper agronomic practices can be applied to stave off the impact of the disease, say Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers. Using FHB-resistant cereal varieties and applying registered fungicides is part of the story say Kelly Turkington, plant pathology researcher in Lacombe, Alta., and […] Read more

Some researchers have found that the land equivalent ratio is greater with crops grown together than with crops grown individually.

The science behind intercropping

When plants can share nutrients, they can yield higher together than separately

Just as the adoption of no-till agriculture on the Prairies several decades ago was farmer-driven, the current shift to ecological (sometimes called regenerative) agricultural practices is no different, says Dr. Martin Entz of the University of Manitoba. “In this fascinating carbon world, we’re now moving beyond just crop rotation and beyond just grazing management all […] Read more