GFM Network News


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

Myths, yarns and ridiculous claims

Many long-standing popular myths about agriculture have been disclaimed by science

After 60 years of work and observations in Canadian, British and U.S. agriculture, most of it on the Canadian prairies, I still cannot believe how many farmers and scientists believe in plain falsehoods. Here are a few of those unsubstantiated myths. Manure causes lodging FALSE: If you apply 10 to 20 or more tons of […] Read more


Research plots in 2017 looking at nitrogen and phosphorus interactions.

Worried about pea disease? Try peaola

Intercropping peas and canola can minimize disease and lower production costs

With international pea processor Roquette opening a plant in Portage la Prairie, Man., in 2020, many growers will be thinking about taking advantage of the opportunity. Some, however, will be worried about one of the biggest challenges of growing peas: disease. There may be a solution, though. Researchers and experimental farmers are finding answers in […] Read more

There are two ways to breed defence against blackleg into canola.

New labels for blackleg resistance

New “groups” for blackleg resistance on some canola seed this spring

Agronomists agree the best way to control blackleg in canola is rotation — only growing canola once every three years, at most. Besides rotations, scouting and fungicide can help in the fight against blackleg. And, last spring a new item was added to the list of blackleg-fighting tools: a new labelling system. This season, you’ll see some new letters on some of your seed […] Read more


Sclerotinia on a canola plant stem.

Four tips to help prevent crop diseases

Growers know which diseases exist in their fields and how to manage them, especially widespread diseases like sclerotinia, blackleg and clubroot in canola. However, changing management practices have altered the prevalence of many diseases, leading to an increase in frequency and affected areas due to over-reliance on genetics rather than good management practices. Growers should […] 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


Fusarium infected wheat.

Use those fusarium maps

Know your risk: fusarium maps offer another metric for spraying decisions

What if farmers could predict Mother Nature’s moods in the growing season? The idea is becoming less and less far-fetched with advances that help producers put a number on disease risk. But fusarium head blight (FHB) risk assessment maps are only one factor among many influencing spraying decisions. FHB risk assessment maps have been available […] Read more

Fababean growers should also make sure they don’t plant fababeans adjacent to last year’s fababean, pea, or lentil fields.

Yield-robbing fababean diseases

If you’re putting fabas in the ground, be ready to manage these common diseases

Farmers with aphanomyces-infested fields are faced with a tough decision. Stretch the rotation between susceptible pulse crops to six or eight years, or drop them altogether? Some farmers are opting for less susceptible pulses, including fababeans in moist areas. Of course, fababeans could be vulnerable to disease as well. Here are the foliar diseases fababean […] Read more


Good crop rotation allows canola residue that may be harbouring blackleg pathogen to decompose in the field.

‘Canola and snow’ is not profitable

New research says mixing cultivars does not mitigate the effects of continuous canola

Reconsider those plans to seed back-to-back to canola this spring, recommend Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientists. And they have new data to back that up. Dr. Neil Harker and other study researchers recently published the results of their five-year of the effects of continuous canola crops in The Canadian Journal of Plant Science. The […] Read more

When scouting, pull plants. This photo shows blackleg stem cankers.

The sweet spot for fungicide use

Variety resistance and the level of disease pressure impacts fungicide effectiveness

Early fungicide applications reduce blackleg severity when disease pressure is high and the varieties lack resistance, a researcher told delegates at the International Rapeseed Conference in Saskatoon. But fungicide has little effect when varieties are resistant or moderately resistant, he said. “We need to find kind of a sweet spot with fungicide use,” said Dr. […] Read more