GFM Network News


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

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

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

Farm Financial Planner: Sell the farm or lease the land?

Sell the place and keep the cash, or hold on to your family legacy?

In south-central Manitoba, a couple we’ll call Perry, 50, and Lucy, 45, are feeling pressure to operate the family grain farm. Perry’s parents recently passed away and the 480-acre farm is Perry and Lucy’s. If they go back to the farm from their off-farm careers, they will give up a combined annual off-farm income totaling […] Read more


Finally, soil moisture measuring meets new tech

A map of soil moisture at freeze-up can give you a good indication of your yield potential

Water in the bank is a certainty; rainfall is a probability. Much of what we do in farming is based on probabilities — a game of chance. What are the chances we will get timely rains to keep a crop from withering away to a low yield? What are the chances we will suffer disease […] Read more

Canadian manufacturer AgriBrink has introduced an aftermarket auto tire inflation system for ag tractors and equipment.

AgriBrink introduces an auto-inflation system

Aftermarket system allows for auto tire inflation from the cab

That big, new aircart that recently arrived on the farm has the widest available radial tires on it, so there’s no need to think about soil compaction, right? Wrong. Choosing the right rubber is only the first step in ensuring equipment does the least possible damage to soil. “Big tires are great, but they’re useless […] Read more