GFM Network News

Cutaway of Plant and Roots in Dirt

Don’t trust your oats with any secrets

Hart Attacks: You don’t want to know what plants are saying about you behind your sprayer

Today’s take home message: watch what you say or do out in the buckwheat patch. Plants aren’t exactly seeing, but they could be listening and they are definitely communicating. That’s what Jack Schutlz, a biologist and zoologist at the University of Missouri, whose business card describes him as a chemical ecologist, tells me anyway. Schultz […] Read more

Promise of self-fertilizing attracts investment

Promise of self-fertilizing attracts investment

Bayer bets big on a future where crops are designed to fertilizer themselves

There are a lot of efforts underway to optimize and minimize fertilizer use in crop production. Precision agriculture tools are improving the accuracy of where fertilizer is placed so that as much of it as possible reaches the plants that need it. And researchers from at least two Canadian universities — Ottawa’s Carleton University and […] Read more

The future of broadcasting nitrogen in the fall

The future of broadcasting nitrogen in the fall

The inefficient practice is on the rise; however limits may be on the way in Manitoba

Broadcasting in fall is the quickest and easiest way to apply nitrogen — and the least efficient. So why, anecdotally at least, does the practice seem to be on the increase? Bigger farms and a shortage of labour could be part of it. Moreover, nobody knows when poor weather will shut down field operations. And […] Read more

Bryce Geisel says that Group 2 herbicides are still important to Western Canadian farmers, despite resistance issues.

Developing resistance: Group 2 herbicides

Each herbicide group kills weeds differently. Weed resistance differs by herbicide group

When talking about herbicide resistance, Bryce Geisel likes to make sure people realize that spraying herbicides doesn’t cause resistance in a weed. Instead there are individual plants that, by chance, resist the herbicide. Those plants survive and pass on their resistance traits. “And with Group 2s in particular, it’s just altering the target site,” says […] Read more

Managing fungicide resistance

Managing fungicide resistance

Your risk of resistance will depend on the disease you have and the fungicide you spray

Should western Canadian farmers be concerned about fungicide resistance? And if so, how should they manage it? Fungicide resistance shares some fundamentals with herbicides, says Jared Veness, field marketing manager at Bayer Crop Science. By applying fungicide, farmers are applying selection pressure to a pest. Within that pest’s population, there are likely individuals with mutations […] Read more

This BASF-supplied photo shows a still vigorously growing pea crop (left) produced with Nodulator Duo compared to pea crop produced with a competing inoculant product.

New bacteria enhance N-fixing performance

Natural soil molecules recruited to help increase pulse crop growth and yield

BASF Canada and Monsanto BioAg have both added different naturally occurring soil bacteria to pulse crop inoculants to enhance the nitrogen fixing capability and growth of pea and lentil crops. Pulsea crop growers are no doubt familiar with BASF’s Nodulator and Monsanto BioAG’s TagTeam pulse crop inoculants. They’ve been around for years. For the 2018 […] Read more

Lystek takes municipal waste and turns it into a rich fertilizer for your land.

Turning city waste into good fertilizer

Soil Management: Lystek International’s CFIA-registered fertilizer takes waste from sewage to nutrition

One man’s trash is another’s treasure. It’s a familiar idiom at the heart of a Canadian company’s process for turning municipal sewage into fertilizer. Faced with the challenge of dealing with sludge, Canadian municipalities have done everything from dumping it in landfills to letting it flow into the ocean. Lystek International, based in Cambridge, Ontario, […] Read more

Blackleg in canola.

Helping our plants to help themselves

One day, farmers may be able to use natural products to fight blackleg and other diseases

New research that could lead to a biological alternative to chemical fungicides began with work into food safety. “We were interested in whether food-fermenting lactobacilli would produce molecules that prevent fungal growth,” says Dr. Michael Gaenzle, who is leading the research into antifungal lipids at the University of Alberta. Gaenzle’s team came across some molecules […] Read more

Soybean Field

Beneficial bacteria getting close

New products may promote plant growth and protect crops from disease

Nitrogen-fixing bacteria are present in the root nodules of the majority of legumes, like soybeans and alfalfa. Other “beneficial bacteria” can be found in symbiotic relationships with crop plants that promote growth, increase stress or pest resistance, or increase nutrient solubility. Only in recent years have scientists been able to point to specific bacteria that […] Read more

The benefits of sex-free agriculture

With crop breeding by apomixes, seed-saving could change up the seed industry

Apomixis is a disruptive technology.” These was the oft-repeated phrase of Tim Sharbel, Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) research chair in Seed Biology, at the recent Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation annual conference in Saskatoon. Sharbel was speaking on the topic “Eliminating sex from agriculture to feed the world,” an overview of his research at […] Read more