GFM Network News


Shown here is a FlySask air photo of subject land taken about 2008. That was a drier period and shows nice flat land with no obstructions and perfect for farming as a half section unit. What we see in the photo fits with the soil survey and assessment data (i.e., no sloughs). The soil survey was done in the 1960s when it was dry.

Les Henry: To own a piece of ground

How to learn about a piece of ground before you see it

To own a piece of ground, To scratch it with a hoe, To plant seeds and watch the renewal of life, This is the commonest delight of the race, The most satisfactory thing a person can do. Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900) That piece is the introduction to Chapter 4 of Henry’s Handbook. I do not […] Read more

What we did not  realize  was  canola  had  the  rooting and uptake ability to suck the soil P to very low values.  
A few years of big yields with big N and big water and P becomes the limiting factor.

Les Henry: A recipe for 65 bushels per acre of canola

Some lessons learned many years later

When cleaning visuals from talks of years gone by, I stumbled on one from 1978 — the year canola was born. It showed what it took to produce 65 bushels per acre of canola in garden patch agriculture (i.e., small plots). In 1978, the highest average RM yield of canola in Saskatchewan was 29 bushels […] Read more


Weekly rainfall from September 26 to October 2, 2017.

Soil moisture: the old and new stories

Know your subsoil moisture and your chance of rain to make seeding decisions

The first freeze-up stubble soil moisture map was made in Saskatchewan in 1978. Readers with Henry’s Handbook of Soil and Water can see it on Page 109. It showed a lot of “very dry” and “dry” space. Red ink was common in the 1980s. The maps below show the situation in fall 1987 and fall […] Read more

Stubble soil moisture map, November 1, 2017

Les Henry’s annual map of fall soil moisture going into the winter months

The November 1, 2016, fall soil moisture map was, in a word, wet. In Manitoba and much of Saskatchewan all soils were at field capacity (holding maximum available water) and many areas were so wet that water tables were near enough to surface to be a factor. When the water table is within about five […] Read more


This slide cabinet holds 5,000 slides and allows me to view 120 at a time. Any slide can be located in a flash if a good filing system is in place.

Exhibit 1: Weather cycles — Willowbunch Lake

Over the course of 30+ years at the University of Saskatchewan I collected about 5,000 35 mm colour slides. Many were taken by me while pounding pavement but I also “inherited” slides from folks who retired or moved. I also have a slide cabinet at home with hundreds of slides from junkets to Tanzania, Swaziland […] Read more

McGrath and helpers dig some soil pits along transect lines on native prairie
pasture that is part of Round Rock Ranching to establish some baselines through nutrient and biological soil testing.

Are you a (soil) health nut?

Any treatments applied above ground will eventually affect what happens below your feet

I was eternally blessed to enter the University of Saskatchewan while Les Henry was still teaching at a time when we were “forced” to take at least an introductory soil science course. I learned a lot in that introductory course; mostly about how much I didn’t know (and how much Dr. Henry did). But more […] Read more


Extending information to farmers

For 40 years, Grainews and Les Henry have shared ag research with farmers

Looking back on Les Henry’s 40 years of Grainews columns causes me to reflect on how most things have improved in Prairie agriculture, though a few haven’t. I got my start as first field editor of Grainews in 1976, around the same time as Les started writing his columns. One of my first stories was on the proper […] Read more

This picture of me in my office last month is a little more current, and the computer is a little more modern than in the photo below.

40 years of writing for Grainews

Les Henry reflects on his 40 year tenure in the pages of Grainews

It is hard to imagine that 40 years have slipped by since I scribbled my first piece for Grainews in 1976. It was “Nitrogen: When, what kind and how much to apply.” Today we would call it the 3 Rs: Right time, right source and right rate. The 4th R, right placement, was yet to […] Read more


50-year reunion

University of Saskatchewan grads still looking sharp

This year marked the 50th anniversary of Les Henry’s graduation with his B.Sc. from the University of Saskatchewan. Les attended the reunion in Saskatoon on January 10, and has shared this photo. A surprising number of these proud graduates from 1964 still have their original Agro jackets! Back Row, Left to Right: Terry Anderson, Vic Rondeau, […] Read more