GFM Network News


Drone image of a tile drainage project in northeast Saskatchewan. The tile drainage was installed over six quarter sections to address issues related to side hill sweep, high water tables and soil salinity.

When is tile drainage a good fit?

If your farmland has a high water table, floods frequently and suffers from salinity issues, odds are it can benefit, if there’s somewhere the water can go

After a two-day downpour drowned out 50 acres of canola last year, Dustin Williams decided it was finally time to do something about a field that had been plagued with paltry crops. “It just rotted out,” says Williams, who also grows wheat, oats, soybeans and edible beans on his farm near Souris, Man. It was […] Read more

The east side of my Dundurn quarter NW22 32 3W3.

Les Henry: A snow job, Part 2

Watch out for crop variability in 2021

Drought is now the operative word in major areas of Prairie farming for 2021. The drought in this area started on July 8, 2020, and has been interrupted by only two significant events — the big snow and blow of November 7 and 8 last year and the welcome May 2021 long weekend rain of […] Read more


Robert Snider modified an original Rome Plow implement to create a subsoiler capable of 20-inch deep soil penetration.

Farm-built subsoiler combats compaction

Alberta farmer finds a low-cost solution by modifying old Rome Plow

Robert Snider, who farms near New Norway, Alta., found he had a problem with soil compaction in some parts of his fields and the result was poor drainage. “In the low spots, it gets so hard the moisture does’t seem to soak in,” he told Grainews. Snider came up with a low-cost solution to solve […] Read more

Lime improves alfalfa crop in Peace River Country. This photo was taken from Farming Acid Soils in Alberta and Northeast British Columbia by P.B. Hoyt, M. Nyborg and D.C. Penney.


Les Henry: Acid soils. A wake-up call

At the farm level, soil test, soil test, soil test

This piece came about because of a technical session I attended at scientific meetings in Saskatoon in July 2019. Rick Engel of Montana State University presented a paper showing soils on the Highwood Bench near Fort Benton, Mont., that had become so acidic crops like lentils and sunflowers would barely grow. The soils were at […] Read more


The No. 1 cause of compaction is working soil when wet.

How to minimize soil compaction on your farm

Compaction facts, how to tackle it and its effect on your farm’s bottom line

If you’re driving alongside your field before your crop comes up this spring, it will likely be very easy to see the paths your grain carts and combine drove last fall. Look a little closer and you might be able to see the lines your sprayer and even your seeder drove months before harvest. The […] Read more

Dwayne Beck, research and production manager at the Dakota Lakes Research Farm, spoke at the Regenerative Agriculture Forum in Brandon, Man.

Want to reduce pests and increase profits?

On the Dakota Lakes Research Farm, regenerative ag means good soil, good profits

When a group of farmers near Pierre, South Dakota, established the Dakota Lakes Research Farm in 1986, their main focus was on irrigation and water issues. At the recent Regenerative Agriculture Forum in Brandon, Man., Dakota Lakes research and production manager, Dwayne Beck, described how he and his team have focused on better managing the […] Read more


Laura Bennett is a junior assistant manager at Lobethal, a 13,000-acre farm.

Non-wetting soils down under

The same type of soil that’s beautiful on the beach can be tough to farm

During my recent trip to the southern coast of Western Australia I learned about something I didn’t even know existed: non-wetting soils. The coastline in this part of Australia is exquisitely beautiful with white powder sandy beaches and turquoise blue water. This beautiful white sand is also what makes this area so challenging to farm. […] Read more

Les Henry: Prairie soil moisture map for 2020

Les Henry: Prairie soil moisture map for 2020

Soil moisture at freeze-up in 2019: a range of moisture across the Prairies

The 2019 crop year was a challenge for all involved in our industry. The erratic rainfall patterns also challenged the preparation of this soil moisture map. Let me first acknowledge the assistance of staff from Crop Intelligence by South Country Equipment. They have now had several years of experience installing weather stations accompanied by the […] Read more


The profile shown here is of a black soil where moisture conditions were more favourable and the depths of topsoil were greater. Many of the thick black soils were able to accumulate that level of organic matter because they often have sub irrigation from high water tables.

Les Henry: Soils, grassland and bush

Manage your soils based on what’s going on underneath the soil

I penned a piece with this same title in 1989. Since then, we have learned some new things about how grassland and bush soils function. In the old days the actual 35 mm slides of the soil profiles had to be sent by snail mail to Winnipeg and the captions were in the paper copy […] Read more

Les Henry’s stubble soil moisture map, as of Nov. 1, 2018

Les Henry’s stubble soil moisture map, as of Nov. 1, 2018

There’s more red ink (dry areas) than we’d like to see on this year’s map

Each year when I make up this very general map, I keep hoping for a young generation to come along with better technology and smarts to make a better map. I now see a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. My December 12, 2018, article talked about the soil moisture sensor probes […] Read more