GFM Network News

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

Farmers take a look at smaller-scale plots on a tour of the research farm at Carman, Man., in the summer of 2019.

Testing the cover crop hypothesis

Agronomy researchers are catching up with what farmers are doing in their fields

It’s an exciting time for cover crop research. Last summer, many large-scale cover crop trials were underway across the Prairies looking at everything from cover crop combinations, rotations and planting methods to pollinator strips. One of the biggest ongoing projects, funded by Western Grains Research Foundation, Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers and Manitoba Pulse and […] Read more

The One-Pass Cover Crop Seeder attachment is available on Unverferth’s new Rolling Harrow 1245 and 1245D models.

New cover crop seeder attachment

Unverferth introduces the One-Pass Cover Crop Seeder option

Unverferth Manufacturing used the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, in February as the venue to introduce its new mounted One-Pass Cover Crop Seeder attachment. It can be fitted the brand’s new Rolling Harrow 1245 and 1245D models that have working widths up to 37 feet. The attachment allows for one-pass planting of cover crops, an agronomic practice […] Read more

This almost-robot looking device is the John Deere Field Connects weather station that collects a wide range of environmental data such as rainfall, solar intensity and wind speed. The weather station also ties into the moisture probe which is installed near the steel post at right.

Are you leaving water on the table?

New app and service gives producers a better handle on moisture

Since technology so far can’t make it start or stop raining on dryland farms, it is obviously important to make the most efficient use of moisture that is available during the growing season. But how much moisture do or will you have for that crop? Depending on the year and location, spring seedbed soil moisture can range from […] Read more

Cover crop growing after harvest.

Why didn’t my cover crop work?

Kevin Elmy lists nine potential causes of things that could go wrong when you try growing cover crops on your farm

Ever try something and it didn’t work the first time? What’s the next step? Try again doing the same thing, modify the approach or give up? Ideally, getting a mentor or someone with experience to find out what went wrong will help create a successful situation. Or maybe it just doesn’t work. Cover cropping is […] Read more

Soybean and flax intercrop example.

Reducing inputs through intercropping

In Part 2 of a 2-part series, a panel of farmers discuss the benefits of intercropping

Many producers who adopt intercrops and cover crops are looking to increase soil and plant health and reduce the need for inputs such as synthetic fertilizers. That effect often becomes clearer the longer they manage the system. The three producers on a panel at an Intercropping Workshop in Brandon, Man., last November shared how they […] Read more

Can a cover crop help establish forages?

Q & A with Nutrien Ag Solutions

Q: Are there benefits to a cover crop for forage establishment? A. There are many benefits to planting a cover crop (sometimes referred to as a companion or nurse crop) for forage establishment. Cover crops commonly planted alongside perennial forages include oats, barley and wheat. Before a forage stand becomes well established, bare soil can […] 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

This photo was taken on August 1, 2009. There was great crop growth, from old fashioned methods.

Cover crops and green manure

In the Palliser Triangle, cover crops aren’t the answer in a dry cycle

The current interest in soil health issues has expanded our thinking and spawned much research and new farm-scale work with many new-to-us plant species. Cover crops are planted in the non-commercial season to add diversity to the mix and juice up the soil organisms that go along with the different plants. In wet years, cover […] Read more

Brandon Hunnicutt and his family farm near Giltner, Nebraska.

Corn, corn, and more corn

There’s a lot of it, but 
there’s also a plan behind Nebraska crop rotations

If you drive through Nebraska in the summer, expect to see a lot of corn. It towers on both sides of grid roads and secondary highways, hiding deer just as well as forests do in northern Canada. Sometimes drought-tolerant crops such as sorghum fill corners and line borders, as a pollination buffer for seed corn. […] Read more